An Update: Outrage Over a Life Sentence

Many of you who watched our "20/20" story on privilege in the courts were outraged by the life sentence given Tyrone Brown after he violated probation by smoking a marijuana joint weeks after his guilty plea to a $2 armed robbery.

The story has had more than 12,000 page views on, and our "20/20" message board has been filled with fervent inquiries into how this sentence could be appealed, overturned or commuted.

Here are the facts:

First, the judge responsible for that sentence, Keith Dean, lost his re-election bid Tuesday. He had been on the bench in Dallas County, Texas, for 20 years.

Brown's best hope for an early release is to get letters from the new judge of the 265th Judicial District, Mark Stoltz; the newly elected district attorney, Craig Watkins; and an official from law enforcement recommending a commutation of his sentence.

Those letters would be sent to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and if a majority recommended reducing Brown's sentence, that request would go to the governor, Rick Perry.

Brown would likely need some free legal assistance with that process. Individuals and organizations have expressed interest in helping, according to his mother, Nora.

Brown is eligible for parole in 2009.

ABC News will continue to follow Brown's story and update the "20/20" Web site and broadcast if his situation changes.