A Nevada inmate lost a U.S. Supreme Court bid to challenge what jurors were told about DNA evidence against him in the 1994 sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl.
The nation's highest court ruled Monday that it would not hear the evidence issue but did give Troy Don Brown, 38, another chance to argue before a federal appeals court that he received ineffective legal representation at trial.
State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto called the Supreme Court ruling a victory for prosecutors and Nevada after they lost arguments about the DNA evidence in lower courts.
Paul Turner, an assistant federal public defender in Las Vegas handling Brown's appeals, has argued that the conviction should be overturned if the DNA evidence was insufficient.
The high court did not hear oral arguments before reversing a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that an analysis of DNA evidence overstated the likelihood that body fluids found at the rape scene were from Brown.
The Supreme Court pointed to an evidence standard set in a 1979 case calling for courts to consider all the evidence in a case, not just evidence being challenged.
At trial in Elko County, the chief of the Washoe County crime lab testified the chance that Brown's DNA matched the DNA found at the rape scene was 99.99967 percent.
The witness also told jurors that one in three million people randomly selected from the population would also match that DNA.