The court issued the opinion Thursday at the request of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering the case of 30-year-old Cyntoia Brown. She has drawn celebrity support from Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and others as she fights her life sentence for killing a man when she was 16.
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 51 years.
Thursday's ruling goes to the federal appellate court for review.
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