Friday, June 12, 2009

Supremes Save Des Moines City Cops: Dunce Cap Removed

State v. Effler, no. 06-1417 (Iowa, May 29, 2009).

Effler was convicted of first degree kidnapping when he abducted a two year old girl, took her to the restroom in the old Des Moines Public Library, and sexually abused her in a truly vile manner that is enough to make me vomit.

He appealed and the court of appeals overturned his conviction, largely because Effler had said he wanted a lawyer "if I go to jail" and whether the ensuing confession could survive that kind of battle damage.

Effler succeeded in having the confession tossed out by the Court of Appeals a while ago.

Further review was granted to the state, and an evenly divided supreme court split on the issue of whether the request for an attorney was sufficiently ambiguous as to not invoke Miranda, with the result that the district court's decision denying Effler's motion to suppress was affirmed by operation of law under Iowa Code section 602.4107.

I'm not sure I agree, because that section says, "when the supreme court is equally divided the judgment of the lower court shall stand affirmed." Isn't the lower court the Court of Appeals?

Well, nevermind. Effler's right where he needs to be, doing life for the first degree kidnaping, the city police operatives have dodged a huge bullet, and all's right with the world.

For all you fans of ambiguous requests for counsel, the decision presents well reasoned arguments on either side of the issue. It's well worth reading if you need a Miranda tuneup.

One thing we can conclude. This case was, as the Duke of Wellington once famously opined, "
the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life."


Post a Comment

<< Home