JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A federal appeals court panel has ordered a new trial for a man convicted in the 2012 killings of two co-workers at a Coast Guard communications station in Alaska.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says James Wells did not receive a fair trial. The Tuesday decision reversed Wells’ conviction on murder and weapons charges.
Members of the panel took issue with the government challenging the appointment of a second attorney to help represent Wells, saying it carried a “reproachable air of stacking the deck.”
The panel also found the lower court erred in permitting the use of certain testimony.
The panel found the case should be reassigned, citing comments the judge made at Wells’ sentencing, though was split on that issue.
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