Justices Reject Bad Jury Instruction Claim, Uphold Conviction


The Supreme Court today reinstated the murder conviction of the driver in a gang-related, drive-by shooting that horrified Seattle in 1994, reports the Associated Press. Voting 6-3, the high court overturned a federal appeals court that had thrown out the second-degree murder conviction of Cesar Sarausad II. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had reversed the conviction because of unclear jury instructions. Speaking for the high court majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said there was “no evidence of ultimate juror confusion.”

Dissenter David Souter said an instruction from the trial judge merged with a “confounding prosecutorial argument” that included a “clearly erroneous statement of law.” Sarausad, then 19, was convicted for his role as the driver in the shooting that killed a teenage girl outside a high school.

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/21/AR2009012101409.html

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