Tennessee Supreme Court asked to clarify laws on life sentences

Friday, August 3, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 31

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to clarify whether a woman serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 can ever gain parole.

The Tennessean reported the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the Tennessee high court Wednesday to weigh in before it issues a ruling in the case of Cyntoia Brown, who argues her life sentence was unconstitutional.

An appeals panel heard arguments in June in the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles, but Tennessee has argued successfully in lower courts that Brown will have a chance for parole.

The appeals court said Tennessee's laws on parole appear to conflict and asked the state court to clarify the issue.