Murder conviction thrown out because judge asked too many questions

Authorities say an Idaho boy has been charged with a felony in the deadly shooting of a 10-year-old girl (MGN)
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SAGINAW (AP) (7/17/2019) - 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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