Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 Miranda Prize Awarded to Des Moines PD

We've established the Miranda Prize here to commemorate the year's most egregious breach of Miranda reported in Iowa. This year's award is a doozy, if only because of the offensiveness of the underlying criminal acts.
State v. Effler, no. 06-1417 (Iowa Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2008).
Effler, a sex offender from Texas who presumably found Des Moines more convivial, lured a small child away from her babysitter and spirited her to a men's room in the old public library building in Des Moines. Effler proceeded to bolt the door and sexually assault the child.
Meanwhile, the baby sitter set up a hue and cry and the child was heard screaming from inside the bolted door. A large crowd gathered abd the door was pried open. Effler was discovered with the now naked child and police were summoned. Meanwhile, the employees and patrons of the library kept Effler in the bathroom.
Effler was transported to an interview room. After some colloquy, the Miranda warnings were read and Effler said very clearly "I do want a court appointed lawyer". The detective left and then returned and proffered a Miranda waiver and said "OK, if you want to talk then sign there, then we'll get a smoke and then we'll talk a minute". Effler signed.
Effler was charged with a litany of sex abuse crimes based on the confession that followed.
Effler's attorney filed a motion to suppress the videotaped confession and statements, which was overruled. Effler was tried, convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
The Court of Appeals found that Effler's request for counsel was unequivocal and unambiguous, saying "Miranda and its progeny establish that an interrogation must cease once the suspect requests an attorney."