The Michigan Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a rape conviction that was challenged because a juror didn't disclose that he had been convicted of a sex crime.
Michigan law bars felons from serving on a jury.
But the high court voted 5-2 to uphold the conviction, ruling there was no evidence the juror was biased in the trial of Michael Allen Miller in Ottawa County.
Miller, now 31, was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2006 for forcing the 7-year-old daughter of his girlfriend at the time to perform a sex act on him.
Before his sentencing, Miller learned that a juror had concealed that he was convicted of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in 1991 and 1999 for assaulting his sister and a child.
Justice Stephen Markman wrote that defendants have a constitutional right to an impartial jury but don't have a constitutional right to be tried by a jury without felons. The ruling reversed a decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which in January ordered a new trial.
"There is simply no evidence that this juror improperly affected any other jurors," Markman said.
Dissenting Justice Marilyn Kelly called the majority's opinion "unworkable" and "unjust," arguing that jurors' honesty is essential to picking a fair jury.
Gary Kohut, Miller's court-appointed appellate attorney, said he doesn't know yet whether a federal appeal will be filed.
"It's dangerous to say a fair and impartial jury can exist with a convicted felony on the jury," Kohut said. "It really is a fraud on the court for that (juror) to have done what he did."