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Celebs like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, as well as others have been fighting for a woman named Cyntoia Brown.

Brown, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, is fighting a life sentence for killing a man she says abused her. In 2004 Brown killed Johnny Mitchell Allen who she says solicited her for sex after she was forced to serve as a prostitute by her boyfriend, “Kut Throat,” HuffPost reports. She said she shot Allen after she saw him reach for a gun; prosecutors, believe she was trying to rob Allen, and she was tried and convicted as an adult.

Now, People reports, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Brown, 30, must serve at least 51 years before she can get parole; she’d be 69 when eligible. It was a unanimous decision Thursday, CNN notes. The ruling was in response to Brown’s argument that the US Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to give juveniles mandatory life sentences without parole, as well as that it’s “cruel and unusual punishment.” The appeals court rejected her first argument but is still reviewing the second.

Many feel that because Brown is a woman of color she is receiving a more severe punishment than if she were white.

HuffPost cites the example of Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund manager sentenced to just 13 months in prison after being accused of sex-trafficking young girls. “The system has failed,” Kim Kardashian tweeted last year, calling the case “heartbreaking” and saying she was going to get her lawyers involved.


Tennessee Supreme Court Rules Cyntoia Brown Must Serve 51 Years Before She’s Eligible For Release  was originally published on