KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has declared mandatory life sentences for juveniles convicted of homicide to be unconstitutional following an appeal in a 2015 murder case in Knox County.

A Knox County jury convicted Tyshon Booker, who was 16 at the time, of first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery in 2015. For the murder conviction, the trial judge sentenced him to a mandatory life sentence of 60 years, which requires service of at least 51 years in prison.

His appeal argued that the sentence was cruel and unusual punishment due to his age.

After hearing his case, the state’s highest court ruled Tennessee’s mandatory sentence of life in prison, when placed on a juvenile homicide offender, “violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The ruling did not change Booker’s sentence, but it did grant him a parole hearing after he serves between 25 and 36 years in prison. The court said this will allow his age and other circumstances could be considered.

In its decision, the court said the United States Supreme Court has ruled that under the Eighth Amendment, a judge has the discretion to “impose a lesser sentence after considering the juvenile’s age and other circumstances.” The justices also noted the state’s automatic life sentence of 51 to 60 years for juveniles is an outlier, as no other state imposes a mandatory sentence of more than 50 years for a single juvenile offense.

“Our limited ruling, applying only to juvenile homicide offenders, promotes the State’s interest in finality and efficient use of resources, protects Mr. Booker’s Eighth Amendment rights, and is based on sentencing policy enacted by the General Assembly,” wrote the justices in the ruling.

A separate concurring opinion was written by Justice Holly Kirby. She emphasized that a review of state sentencing statutes showed Tennessee was the only state where juveniles faced a mandatory sentence of more than 50 years for first-degree murder.

“In the entirety of the nation,” Justice Kirby said, “Tennessee stands alone.”

Justice Jeff Bivins and Chief Justice Roger Page dissented. They believe that any finding of a constitutional violation, in this case, “goes beyond existing precedent from the United States Supreme Court.”