High court reinstates 'shaken baby' conviction

By the Associated Press | October 31, 2011 | 10:25 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has again reinstated the conviction of a California woman for shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, a final ruling that ends a protracted dispute with the federal appeals court in San Francisco.

The justices voted 6-3 Monday to reverse the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling in favor of Shirley Ree Smith. The appeals court had three times set aside Smith's conviction, saying the case likely was "a miscarriage of justice." The appeals court said there was "no demonstrable support" for the prosecution's theory of the case.

But the high court said that even though doubts about Smith's guilt are "understandable," the appeals court should have deferred to state courts that upheld Smith's conviction.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.