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Mon May 3, 2010
Supreme Court upholds Michigan murder conviction
By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Michigan judge's decision to allow a second trial against an accused murderer.
The Supreme Court held that a Detroit judge was not out of line in ordering a new trial for accused murderer Reginald Lett. After the first jury declared a deadlock following just four hours of deliberation, Lett was tried a second time and convicted in a deadly liquor store shooting.
Lett said the judge should have ordered the first jury to deliberate longer in an effort to reach a verdict. The defendant said the second prosecution violated the U.S. Constitution's double-jeopardy clause. The Michigan Supreme Court upheld the conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. The majority opinion by Justice John Roberts said the Michigan court's decision may not have been perfect, but the justices reasonably applied the law. Justice John Paul Stevens dissented. He said the judge acted too quickly in declaring a mistrial.