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Utah Supreme Court rejects appeal in '5 Browns' case

The 5 Browns
Posted at 2:47 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 16:47:19-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the man convicted of sexually abusing members of The 5 Browns.

In a ruling handed down on Thursday, the state's top court said that while Keith Brown raised "meaty constitutional questions that deserve our attention," they would not disturb his conviction.

The case began nearly a decade ago when members of The 5 Browns, a group of sibling pianists known for their stunning renditions of classical music, went public and disclosed repeated sexual abuse by their father and former manager, Keith Brown. He ultimately pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges and is serving up to life in prison.

But Brown wants to withdraw his guilty plea. He has claimed ineffective legal counsel and his attorney argued to the Utah Supreme Court that the state's deadlines for withdrawal of a plea are too quick.

In a unanimous ruling, the Court rejected his arguments while still acknowledging there were some constitutional questions to be answered about appellate rights.

"Brown is not really claiming that he was deprived of a direct appeal; rather, he wants a do-over. He wants the opportunity to present constitutional arguments now that—to the extent they can be raised via a direct appeal in this setting—were equally available to him following the entry of his sentence, judgment, and commitment. That is a dog that will not hunt, at least in the fields of this case," Justice Deno Himonas wrote.

Deondra Brown, one of Keith Brown's victims, told FOX 13 she was glad to see the ruling.

"My siblings and I are relieved in the Utah Supreme Court's decision today to dismiss the case brought about by our father. After ten years of consistent appeals and challenges, we are happy to finally have a chance to catch our breaths," she said in an email.

Since she disclosed her abuse, Deondra Brown has become an advocate for the rights of other victims of crime and pushed the Utah State Legislature for bills to help others who have been abused.

"We fully understand that important constitutional questions will need to be addressed by the Court at a later date, but appreciate that State v Brown was not the case to have these discussions," she wrote. "We are heartened that the Court saw the plea for what it is -- 'he wants a do-over.' At this point, we will continue on as we always have with our lives, our music, our advocacy work, and the beautiful families and relationships we have created. But today is a good day."

Read the Utah Supreme Court's ruling here: