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Michigan Supreme Court declines to weigh in on issue involving jury discussions

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(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
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DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has turned down an appeal from a Macomb County man who claims his constitutional rights were violated when jurors were allowed to discuss evidence before the end of his trial.

The court heard arguments but recently decided not to issue a formal opinion. A state appeals court ruling upholding Maurice Richards' carjacking conviction will stand.

Richards' trial occurred when the Supreme Court was allowing some juries to talk about evidence during breaks. The pilot project ended in 2010. Attorney Christopher Smith says Richards didn't get a fair trial because his jury may have been influenced by the views of alternate jurors who were dismissed before final deliberations.

Justices Marilyn Kelly and Diane Hathaway agree that Richards didn't get a fair trial.