A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who solicited her for sex must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Woman who was 16 When She killed a Nashville Man Who Solicited Her For Sex Must Serve at Least 51 Years in Prison Before She’s Eligible for Release
On Thursday the court said defendants like Cyntoia Brown, who are convicted of first-degree murder committed after July 1, 1995 and sentenced to life imprisonment, can’t become eligible for release from prison before serving more than five decades.
The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a 43-year-old man in 2004 when he took her to his house for sex. Brown has said she killed him after she feared he would kill her.
Thursday’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit in which Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution.
The Tennessee Supreme Court explained in a statement that “under state law, a life sentence is a determinate sentence of 60 years. However, the sixty-year sentence can be reduced by up to 15 percent, or 9 years, by earning various sentence credits.”
According to the Tennessee code, those credits include recognition for good behavior or participation in educational or vocational training programs.