Thursday, March 12, 2009

Muscatine Homicide Appeal

State v. Linn, no. 07-1984 (Iowa Ct. App. March 11, 2009)

Linn called police to tell them she'd shot someone. When they arrived at the home they found one Barry Blanchard, deceased with a bullet wound. A loaded rifle was found in the house.

While officers were in the house, a Muscatine PD officer stayed with the defendant on the porch.

An officer in the house yelled "Did she say she shot him?" and the officer on the porch asked Linn "Did you shoot him?" to which Linn answered "yes". She also asked "Did he die?"

Linn was transported for an interview but was not under arrest. She was read her Miranda rights, but before she was read them she asked "Did I kill him? Did he die?"

After she was read her rights she admitted to the shooting. She moved to suppress her statements, which was overruled. She testified in her own defense at trial, alleging the defenses of intoxication and justification, but was convicted of first degree murder and received a mandatory life sentence.

Linn argues that her Miranda waiver was not knowing, voluntary and intelligent. (parenthetically, we certainly agree that it was not intelligent but nevermind.)

The court first found that the issue of whether she was in custody at the time had not been preserved and was thus treated as waived.

Further, the court found that the officer had not tricked her into signing the waiver of her rights, nor was he overbearing or giving inducements to get her to waive her rights.

Other issues were discussed that are outside the search and seizure parameters of the case, but one thing that the court teaches is written in words of fire that should be a reminder to all of us.

"We are aided in our de novo review of this case by a complete videotape and audiotape of the interaction between Linn and the officer, her signing the miranda form, and the interrogation that followed."


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