Supreme Court tosses conviction for dead defendant

Supreme Court tosses conviction for dead defendant Click to Enlarge Photo:

Oct 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court says if a defendant dies while his conviction is on appeal, that conviction can be vacated and the charges dismissed.

Wednesday's ruling comes in the case of a man who died while appealing a forgery conviction.

The state's high court ruled that a person's conviction isn't final until appeals are exhausted. In this case, the appellate court had not yet decided the merits of Mark Burrell's appeal.

Justice Christopher Dietzen dissented, saying a rule that eliminates a conviction because the defendant dies turns a blind eye to the rights of victims.

He says the merits of the appeal should be considered.

The majority acknowledged there was no restitution awarded to victims in Burrell's case. They did not consider how a case involving restitution should be resolved.

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