Appeals court considers woman's challenge to life sentence

CINCINNATI — Attorneys for a 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.

Cyntoia Brown's attorneys will argue Thursday before a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel.

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 serving 51 years.

Brown's attorneys also contend that she lacked the mental state to be culpable in the 2004 slaying, impaired by her mother's alcohol use while she was in the womb.

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian and singer Rihanna have been part of a social media campaign for her release.

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