U.S. Supreme Court reverses decision on Elko sex conviction
The U.S. Supreme Court this week reversed the appellate court decision tossing the sexual assault conviction of Troy Don Brown.
Brown was convicted in 1997 of raping a 9-year-old girl in Elko. He was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. The evidence in the case included DNA evidence matching Brown’s genetic code, but Brown has maintained throughout that he is innocent.
That conviction was upheld by the Nevada Supreme Court. But a federal district court relying on a report by a DNA expert
11 years after the trial overturned the conviction. The defense argued that the state’s DNA expert mischaracterized the evidence by saying the chance of a DNA match was one in three million. They said the chance of a match among one of his brothers was much higher and, therefore, the expert’s testimony should have been excluded from the trial.
Without that testimony, Brown’s lawyers argued, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. The federal court agreed and the 9th Circuit Court upheld the ruling throwing out the conviction.
The U.S. Supreme Court, however, reversed that decision saying there was substantial other evidence in the case as well as the DNA evidence.
The court sent the case back to the 9th Circuit to consider Brown’s remaining claim that his lawyers were ineffective during the trial.