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Originally published Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 7:38 AM

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Court: Defendant must prove abandoning conspiracy

The Supreme Court says it is up to defendants to prove they withdrew from criminal conspiracies in time to take advantage of a five-year statute of limitations on prosecution.

The Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

The Supreme Court says it is up to defendants to prove they withdrew from criminal conspiracies in time to take advantage of a five-year statute of limitations on prosecution.

The high court unanimously ruled against Calvin Smith, who was convicted for his role in a drug organization in Washington, D.C.

He says he shouldn't have been convicted as part of the conspiracy because he was in prison on another crime for the last six years. He argued that the government should be forced to prove that he participated in the conspiracy within the time limit.

But Justice Antonin Scalia says prosecutors only need prove that the conspiracy continued past the statute of limitations cut-off. The justice says the "burden of establishing withdrawal before that cut-off rests upon the defendant."

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