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Name: Reyes v. Lewis
Case #: 12-56650
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/14/2015

California Court of Appeal's affirmance of trial court's decision to not suppress statement obtained in violation of Missouri v. Seibert (2004) 542 U.S. 600 was contrary to clearly established federal law. Reyes was convicted of the first degree murder of Ochoa, which occurred when Reyes was 15 years old. After the murder, police questioned Reyes in a series of interviews and he agreed to take a polygraph test. The police did not give Reyes Miranda warnings during any of these initial interviews and he confessed after being told that he "failed" the polygraph test. Police then drove Reyes…

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Name: People v. Joseph H.
Case #: E059942
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/08/2015

It was harmless error for police to ask minor, who was under 14 years old, questions that were designed to establish that he appreciated the wrongfulness of his conduct (Gladys R. questionnaire) without first giving Miranda warnings. When he was 10 years old, the minor shot and killed his sleeping father. A wardship petition was filed alleging murder and gun use. After a contested hearing, the court found the minor understood the wrongfulness of his conduct (Pen. Code, § 26), sustained the allegations in the petition, and committed the minor to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The minor raised…

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Name: In re Elias V.
Case #: A140263
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/09/2015

Coercive police techniques employed during interrogation of minor rendered his confession involuntary. Elias, a 13-year-old, was accused of molesting a young female neighbor (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). Prior to and at the time of the jurisdictional hearing, the defense moved to suppress statements Elias made to police, arguing that they were involuntary and inadmissible (Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436). The motion was denied, and the allegations were sustained. Elias appealed. Held: Reversed. The use of an involuntary statement in a delinquency proceeding violates a minor's due process rights. The admissibility of a statement is judged on…

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Name: People v. Shamblin
Case #: E059714
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/21/2015

There was sufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation where defendant strangled his victim during the course of a sexual assault. Shamblin was convicted of first degree murder for killing a 67-year-old woman during a sexual assault. On appeal, he argued there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction under either of the prosecution's theories: premeditated and deliberate murder, or felony murder. The prosecutor claimed the evidence showed premeditation and deliberation because Shamblin made the decision to kill the victim as he was strangling her. Held: Affirmed. The jury heard expert testimony that Shamblin had strangled the victim with his hands,…

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Name: In re Art T.
Case #: B251083
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 02/11/2015

Thirteen-year-old's statement during custodial interrogation—"Could I have an attorney?"—is an unambiguous invocation of his right to counsel. During a murder investigation, detectives questioned Art T., who was 13 years old at the time. After being read his Miranda rights, Art T. denied involvement in the murder. When the detectives showed him a surveillance video that captured the murder unfolding, Art T. said, "Could I have an attorney? Because that's not me." However, detectives continued the interrogation. They falsely claimed that Art T.'s mother had already identified him in the video, and refused his repeated requests to call or speak with…

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Name: Sessoms v. Grounds
Case #: 08-17790
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/22/2014
Subsequent History: Opinion amended and rehearing denied 1/23/2015

California appellate court unreasonably applied clearly established federal law when it held suspect's request for counsel was ambiguous. Nineteen-year-old Sessoms, who was relatively naive and uneducated, surrendered to police based on his father's advice when he heard there was a warrant out for his arrest. At the beginning of his custodial interrogation, Sessoms asked police, "There wouldn't be any possible way I could have a lawyer present while we do this?" He next stated, "that's what my dad asked me to ask you guys . . . uh, give me a lawyer." Instead of ceasing the interrogation, the detectives continued,…

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Name: People v. Tom
Case #: S202107
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/14/2014

A suspect who has not been subjected to custodial interrogation must clearly and timely invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to bar use of his postarrest, pre-Miranda silence in the prosecution's case-in-chief. Tom was speeding down a street and broadsided another car that was making a left turn in front of him. One person in the other car was killed and two others were severely injured. He was arrested after several officers smelled alcohol on his breath. At trial in its case-in-chief, the prosecution relied on evidence that Tom failed to inquire about the welfare of the occupants of…

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Name: U.S. v. Preston
Case #: 11-10511
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/12/2014

Under the totality of the circumstances, including defendant's mental disabilities, his confession was involuntary and inadmissible. Preston was 18 years old with an IQ of 65. He lived on the Navajo Nation with his parents, attending special education classes until he dropped out of high school. Psychological exams reflected he had limited linguistic ability or comprehension. An eight-year-old neighbor reported Preston molested him; most of the allegations were not corroborated by physical evidence. He was charged in federal district court with a sexual offense. His motion to suppress statements he made to officers was denied and he was convicted. He…

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Name: Hernandez v. Holland
Case #: 11-55337
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/24/2014

State court determination that a conversation between the defendant and a bailiff during a break in his jury trial was not an interrogation that required Miranda warnings was reasonable. Hernandez claimed an alibi defense to charges of murder, contending that he was 100 miles away at a party the night of the shooting, and…

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Name: U.S. v. IMM
Case #: 11-10317
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/31/2014

Juvenile defendant was in custody for Miranda purposes when he was questioned at a police station by a detective who used aggressive, coercive, and deceptive interrogation tactics. Twelve-year-old minor IMM was convicted of federal offenses for sexually abusing his six-year-old cousin. Prior to trial, IMM moved to suppress an inculpatory statement that he made to police on the ground that it was obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436. The court denied the motion, concluding that IMM was not in custody when the statement was made. IMM challenged this ruling on appeal. Held: Reversed.…

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