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Appeals court considers woman's challenge to life sentence
FILE - In this May 23, 2018 file photo, Cyntoia Brown appears in court during her clemency hearing at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Tenn. Attorneys for the Tennessee woman serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 are asking federal appellate judges to throw out her sentence, in a case that has attracted celebrity attention. Brown’s attorneys will argue Thursday, June 14 before a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel. (Lacy Atkins - The Tennessean via AP, Pool)
By DAN SEWELL
From Associated Press
June 14, 2018 10:21 AM EST

CINCINNATI (AP) — Attorneys are debating whether a Tennessee woman serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 can gain parole. They're arguing before federal appellate judges in Cincinnati who are considering sending the case back to Tennessee.

Attorney Mark Pickrell told a three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel Thursday that Tennessee's laws are ambiguous on the parole eligibility. He represents Cyntoia Brown, now 30, in a case that has attracted celebrity support for her.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, but Tennessee has argued successfully in lower courts that Brown does have a possibility for parole — after she serves 51 years.

The judges said they could ask the Tennessee Supreme Court to decide that issue before they rule whether Brown's sentence is unconstitutional.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.