Thursday, March 12, 2009

I may take the Dunce Award and give it to someone else.

State v. Hill, no. 08-0657 ((Iowa Ct. App. March 11, 2009)

While investigating the shooting death of Shane Hill, a Boone County farmer, it was determined by police operatives in that his wife had been having an affair with Daniel Blair.

After two interviews, they learned that the affair was rather more recent in nature.

Hill's wife was called and asked to come to the sheriff's office for an interview, the pretext being that the DCI agent needed to give her information from Shane Hill's cell phones.

She came to the sheriff's office and was asked to discuss further questions.

The interview, with breaks, lasted 7-1/2 hours.

It started innocuously enough and she was free to leave, as she stepped outside for a cigarette, but after that first break of about 20 minutes the questioning escalated. The conversation was leading in nature and the questions were no longer informal.

The agent said to the subject among other things, "You cannot leave here."

Hill moved to suppress the statements she made, arguing that the setting was a custodial interrogation and.........and..............and.............a drum roll, maestro!

She had not been given her Miranda warnings.

The trial court agreed, and suppressed the statements she'd made after the first break.

The court also notes that deceptive stratagems employed by the police were an indicia of custody under United States v. Griffin, 922 F.2d 1343 (8th Cir. 1990).


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