High court won't review Michigan murder case

AP News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 10:19 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court said Monday that it won't consider reinstating the conviction of a Michigan man charged with a 1988 murder in a drug dispute.

The justices rejected Michigan's appeal of a federal court ruling that overturned the conviction of Junior Fred Blackston.

A federal district judge ruled in 2013 that Blackston was denied a fair trial in state court because he wasn't allowed to attack the credibility of two key witnesses who recanted their testimony between his first and second trials. The earlier testimony was read to jurors during the second trial.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Blackston had a right to challenge the earlier testimony with written statements from the witnesses saying it was wrong.

Justice Antonin Scalia issued a written dissent, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, saying the high court should have taken up the case. Scalia said the constitutional right to cross-examine witnesses does not include a right to admit written statements recanting previous testimony.