People v. Gempel, 2016 IL App (3d) 140833 (January). Episode 161 (Duration 5:55)
This murder confession is suppressed in large part because of the premature arrest and the police’s fragrant disregard of the Defendant’s Miranda rights.
The victim’s body was discovered in her burning house. She was badly burned but it was clear she had deep stab wounds.
Police began by interviewing her neighbors. Defendant was a neighbor.
Police noticed he had scratches on his face and arms and they learned he had owed the victim money.
He came in to make a voluntary statement. They arrested him, even though, they had not identified any eyewitnesses, did not have a description of the possible offender, and had not obtained a warrant to arrest the defendant.
The police did know that the defendant had trouble sleeping following the victim’s death, paced more often, and missed work.
Held Him For 37 Hours
Two days later he made a full confession.
Motion to Suppress Statement
The motion to suppress the later confession was granted. The attenuation hearing was denied.
After a confession is ruled unconstitutional the state gets a chance to argue that it nonetheless be admitted. If the confession is sufficiently attenuated then it may be admissible.
Here, the police conduct in this case became flagrant when they ignored Defendant’s request for an attorney.
Providing food and water, cigarettes, and access to the restroom does not cure these glaring violations.
Evidence tending to show that the defendant committed the crime can be an intervening circumstance in one of two ways:
However, here the preliminary results from the DNA analysis revealed the presence of unidentified male and female DNA underneath the victim’s fingernails. It did not provide a match to Defendant.
Accordingly, no intervening circumstance weighs against attenuation.
Miranda Warnings Misused
In present case, the defendant had been detained nearly 37 hours when he made his statements to the police. This prolonged detention may well have aggravated the taint of the defendant’s illegal arrest and compelled him to make his statement.
In the instant case, there is no dispute police gave the defendant Miranda warnings on several occasions…but here the detectives’ continuous disregard for the defendant’s Miranda rights demonstrated that the warnings were used as a coercive interrogation device to obtain statements from the defendant.
Therefore, this factor weighed against finding attenuation. All four factors in attenuation favor the defendant.