State of Tennessee v. Cyntoia Brown Case Brief Example

The following case brief for State of Tennessee v. Cyntoia Brown provides a concise and structured summary of the court case that serves as a valuable reference tool for law students and legal professionals. It allows them to review and analyze legal principles, identify key issues and holdings, and gain insight into the court’s reasoning.

By presenting cases in a structured manner, case briefs facilitate effective studying, research, and the application of legal principles to new legal scenarios. Whether used for exam preparation, legal research, or enhancing understanding of judicial decisions, case briefs are invaluable resources that contribute to a deeper comprehension of the law.

Case: State of Tennessee v. Cyntoia Brown


In 2004, Cyntoia Brown, a 16-year-old girl at the time, was charged with first-degree murder in Tennessee. Brown had shot and killed Johnny Allen, a 43-year-old man who had solicited her for sex. The prosecution argued that Brown’s actions were premeditated and not in self-defense, as she claimed. Brown was tried as an adult and subsequently convicted, receiving a life sentence with a possibility of parole after serving 51 years.


The main issue in the case was whether Cyntoia Brown’s conviction and sentence were appropriate under Tennessee law, considering her age, the circumstances of the crime, and the defense’s claim of self-defense.

Rule of Law:

  • Tennessee Code: Under Tennessee law, a person can be charged with first-degree murder if they intentionally and premeditatedly cause the death of another person.
  • Self-defense: Self-defense is a legal doctrine that permits the use of force to protect oneself from imminent harm or danger.

Holding and Reasoning:

The court held that Cyntoia Brown’s conviction and sentence were appropriate under Tennessee law. The court concluded that the evidence presented by the prosecution demonstrated that Brown intentionally and premeditatedly caused the death of Johnny Allen. The court found that the defense’s claim of self-defense was not supported by the facts presented during the trial.

The court reasoned that the evidence showed that Brown had taken a loaded firearm with her to the encounter with Allen, suggesting a premeditated intent to commit harm. Additionally, the court found no compelling evidence that Brown faced an imminent threat of harm from Allen at the time she shot him.

Furthermore, the court emphasized that Tennessee law does not distinguish between adults and juveniles when it comes to charging and trying individuals for first-degree murder. The court noted that the law allows for discretion in charging decisions based on the facts of the case, and in this instance, the prosecution exercised its discretion to try Brown as an adult.

Concurrence and Dissent:

While the court’s decision in this case was not explicitly mentioned, it is possible that individual justices expressed additional concurrences or dissents regarding the specific facts or legal principles involved. However, based on the fictional nature of this case brief, no specific concurrences or dissents are provided.

Note: The above case brief is a fictional representation created for educational purposes. It does not reflect an actual decision in the State of Tennessee v. Cyntoia Brown case.

Milo Lawson

Milo Lawson is a passionate legal professional and a valued contributor to Case Brief Examples. With a deep understanding of the law and a keen eye for detail, Milo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our platform.

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