Miranda rights in question in capital homicide case

Apr 8 2013 - 10:04pm

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Jeremy Marshall
Jeremy Marshall

OGDEN -- A judge has taken under advisement a suppression motion that claimed Miranda flaws should negate Jeremy Marshall's admissions to police about his role in the death of his girlfriend's daughter.

Marshall, 36, is charged with capital homicide in the Dec. 14, 2011, death of the 3-month-old infant. But prosecutors have opted not to seek the death penalty, which means Marshall faces, if convicted, sentences of life in prison, or life in prison with the possibility of parole.

At Monday's hearing for oral arguments on the suppression motion, the prosecution and the defense debated what Marshall's status was at the time he made his Dec. 26, 2011, admissions to police -- protected under Miranda rules or not. The defense said he was and still is, while the prosecution said he isn't.

Deputy Weber County Attorney Bill Daines argued none of the Miranda rule protections apply because Marshall simply wasn't in custody at the time.

"He was not under arrest, or in any form of detention ... or the functional equivalent thereof," Daines argued.

Two Ogden police detectives simply asked to talk with him, and he was free to leave, he said, "so there was no legal significance to his Miranda warnings."

But Marshall's public defender, Randall Marshall, no relation, said Marshall had embraced his Miranda rights on Dec. 15 when the same detectives questioned him for the first time. He invoked his Miranda rights to have an attorney present, and the detectives stopped their questioning.

"From that point he is not to be questioned by police without an attorney present," Marshall insisted. "It's that simple."

Daines noted the defendant was not in custody during the Dec. 15 questioning either, so his request to have an attorney present was not mandated under Miranda rules.

He stressed the key is custody.

"Custody, custody, custody ... the police can still talk to him after he asks for an attorney. The guy doesn't have to answer, but the police can still talk to him."

Second District Judge Scott Hadley said he would take the case under advisement and issue a written decision in the future. He did not specify a time frame but set an April 16 status conference for possibly rescheduling Marshall's trial date.

Marshall had been scheduled for trial this month, but that was canceled last month because of changes in the status of his public defenders.

Steve Laker has retired. Also, Marshall said he has filed a Utah State Bar complaint against Laker and co-counsel Randall Marshall. The defendant has written several letters to 2nd District Judge Steven Hadley complaining about his lawyers, writing they have not "shared discovery" with him enough during his 15 months in jail, leading to "loyalness to defendant issues."

But Monday he told Hadley his concerns had been resolved and he was satisfied with his legal representation.

Emergency medical personnel responded to the home Marshall shared with the child's mother in the 2600 block of Van Buren Avenue the morning of Dec. 14, 2011, after a 911 call about the injured child. The child was pronounced dead of a head injury at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Marshall told police he accidentally struck the child's head on a crib "with substantial force," according to a probable cause statement. Ogden Detective Lane Olson wrote in the charging document that the child "had brain injury consistent with non-accidental trauma ... Primary Children's Hospital confirmed the child's injuries were non-accidental. Marshall told family members he caused the death of the child."

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