SAGINAW (CBS DETROIT/AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned a murder conviction in Saginaw County, saying a judge questioned a witness like a prosecutor.
The court says a judge can ask questions during a trial. But the justices say Judge Fred Borchard went beyond an attempt to clarify testimony in the case against Kareem Swilley Jr.
The court said Borchard at one point asked a witness to provide a bank statement and requested a water bill receipt. Justice Richard Bernstein says it wasn’t Borchard’s job to “drill” into a defendant’s alibi defense.
Swilley was convicted of murder and other crimes. He was a teenager at the time of the fatal shooting in 2012.
All seven justices agreed that Swilley deserved a new trial, although two justices wrote separate opinions Wednesday.
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