Tennessee V Cyntoia Brown Were The Courts Right?

So recently this case seems to be experiencing a resurgence of support with articles like
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cyntoia-brown-life-sentence-supreme-court_us_5c0c7f30e4b0ab8cf693f5c5 following Kim Kardashian and Women's March groups.

I've been reading through the court case here https://law.justia.com/cases/tennessee/court-of-criminal-appeals/2009/browncyntoiadeniseopn.html and so far I've some mixed opinions so I figured I'd extend the question to y'all.
  • Yes, The Punishment Fits The Crime
    Vote A
  • No, The Punishment Is Excessive
    Vote B
  • No, She Did Nothing Wrong
    Vote C
  • Mixed Feelings
    Vote D
  • Other
    Vote E
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy

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411

Most Helpful Girl

  • She shoudn't have gotten jail she shoudl get help from all her traumas. It was self defence not murder

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    • Why do you think it was self defense? She said that she executed him to her adoptive mother, and the police/ detectives said that the man was asleep when he was shot.

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    • Maybe? That’s a very strange line of reasoning to me, but I think I’ve got your position. Thanks for the conversation.

    • K? Yeah thankx bye

Most Helpful Guys

  • i think we should separate two issues... the life sentence and the sentence in general
    as far as i understood first time offenders of violent crimes who are minors are not subject to life sentences. so i'm rather surprised that she would be given a life sentence

    i think it becomes especially unfortunate when you're talking about a minor who is effectively being raped by adults and you would think some sort of clemency or leniency in sentencing would occur for a person in her position

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    • Well violent crimes are rather vague. She didn't just assault him, she was found guilty of premeditated murder and tried as an adult (hence the life sentence). She also appears to have told multiple people that she did it because she wanted to see how it felt and was bragging about having robbed him of tens of thousands of dollars.

      It's more troubling that now her attorney's are arguing that she's mentally incompetent and things of that nature. It's hard to really say how this should go.

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    • and i understand and agree but work release is a tool for the transition so it ONLY happens when a person is a few months from being released. so it would occur when this girl is basically a senior citizen and difficult to employ as a non-convict let alone as a convicted murderer. that's why it makes sense to try and get something out of her before she has simply rotted into old age for 50 years

    • Well I don’t know if that’s accurate, but presuming it is I’d personally prefer work release reform than halving the sentence for murderers.

  • In cases such as this, the evaluation of the evidence includes assessments of the credibility of witnesses. This is done by observing the witnesses testifying, listening to their speech patterns, tone of voice, etc., pauses in testimony, and many other factors that cannot be discerned at all from a review of the written record of the proceedings. That is why great deference must be given to the conclusions of the jury members who were is a superior position to assess the credibility of state and defense witnesses.

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    • I'm pretty sure the girl didn't take the stand during her initial trial. This was likely to protect her from self incriminating testimony. For example there's a recording of her telling her mother that she "executed" the man in question. Cross examination on this statement would likely not look well for her.

    • Right. But the jury must also assess the credibility of the state's witnesses.

    • They'd also have to take into account her credibility though. I think that there's a good question of coercion with some of the witnesses, but others not so much. For example the Nurse she attacked and was screaming that she'd (defendant) kill her (nurse) just like she killed the man.

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Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 3

  • She? Was trafficked? She doesn't deserve life in prison for defending herself.

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    • Why do you think she was trafficked and why do you think she was defending herself?

  • So sad.. she doesn’t deserve to go to jail

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  • Voted c

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What Guys Said 9

  • I only read the Huffpo piece which I’m fully prepared to believe may be a little... distorted.

    But 15 year old prostitute shoots man who hired her... I don't know 51 years seems long even without any other circumstances.

    If he was aware she has a pimp/was underage it seems way to long. Are there other details that make 50 years seem reasonable that huffpo glossed over?

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    • Well she was 16 for a start. The police determined that the man was sleeping when she shot him in the back of the head execution style before she robbed him and bragged to her friends about stealing over 50k. She was convicted of first degree premeditated murder.

      There’s quite a few questions about the case though

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    • I think tbh a more accurate and less sexy claim might be that 60 years is a staggeringly long sentence for s criminal act by an adult, let alone someone who you chose to try as an adult.

      It’s funny lots of people want sentancing reform till they see actual cases than 90% of them they want out away forever.

    • Was it you that I talked to earlier about how it's difficult to truly determine what is "just" when it comes to murder? A murderer took away all of a person's life. They took years away from the victims family and friends who loved them. Some people want to focus solely on reform for the criminal, but where's the justice for all of those other people? I think oftentimes we focus far too much on "justice" for the criminal and not the victims.

  • I am not really familiar with the case but going by what that Huffington post link says on the matter it seems a very excessive punishment
    It is not alright going around killing other people so some sentence is understandable but seems like there would be plenty "mitigating circumstances" that should have lessened the sentence I would say

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    • Mm. If you read the second link (the court documents) it's harder to say. She, for example, told her mother that she executed the man and the evidence appears to show that the man was sleeping when she killed him.

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    • Appropriate sentence depends on what mitigating factors are in play
      If the sex slave bit can be substantiated I'd say 5~ years maybe
      If it can't and best case scenario he was just a guy who hired an underage prostitute (and that really is the best case scenario) then 20~ years possibly further mitigated if there are some substanciated mental issues

    • Cool thanks.

  • Well this is easy, because I don't believe in life sentences anyway. That is, except for very, very, very, very, very rare cases in which a life sentence is actually needed in order to rehabilitate a criminal. So definitely not justified in her case.

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    • Oh. So even for serial murderers you don't think a life sentence is justified? In this case a life sentence is 60 years if that helps.

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    • That's precisely my point. Judgement on this issue is clouded by emotion, which permeates so deeply that it is excused by the very justice system that is supposed to remain neutral and rational.

    • It's rational to punish deviant behavior.

  • I've never been okay with charging minors as adults. Our legal inconsistency with age is one of my biggest issues with our system.

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  • Shady stuff. Won't read through the case, got things to do. One thing is certain - 51 years seem excessive. People have gotten less for premeditated murder.

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    • Well she was convicted of premeditated murder and my understanding is that in Tennessee the state law is that it's a life sentence. She'll have to serve ~50 years with good behavior to get out on parole.

  • Crucifixion, nail her up I say, nail some sense into her.

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  • She was definitely guilty of being black.

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  • It happens

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