Monday, February 23, 2009

Whoops! I Did It Again! Awards

This year's Whoops! I Did It Again! Flat Learning Curve award goes to the Des Moines Police Department, following hard on the heels of last year's dunce awards. 

With that we have

State v. Walls, no. 07-0452, (Iowa Feb. 20, 2009).

Walls was arrested, tried, and convicted of sex abuse-first degree, wilful injury, and kidnaping. When arrested, Walls was read his Mirandas and asked to contact his attorney. Asked "Is getting in contact with Owens what you're wanting me to do?" Walls answered in the affirmative.

At that point, questioning should have stopped, but it didn't. Walls confessed to several of the allegations. His confession was admitted and he was convicted. 

Walls had moved to suppress his confession, which motion was denied at trial. On appeal to the court of appeal the court concluded that although there was a violation of Walls' rights under the constitution the error was harmless.

The Supreme Court found that the state's use of the confessions at trial was not harmless error.

Folks, the takehome's clear. When the offender asks for his or her attorney, questioning must cease.



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