Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jones v. Harrington, No. 13-56360 (7-22-16)(Bybee with Kozinski; O'Scannlain dissenting).  The police interrogated petitioner for hours about a fatal gang. Petitioner finally said: "I don't want to talk no more." The police followed up, and then continued interrogation, which led to incriminating statements.  The statements were the linchpin of the state's case.  Convicted, petitioner appealed, only to have the state courts find that the statement was ambiguous, based on statements made after petitioner said: "no more."  The district court denied the claim.  The 9th though found that the statement should have ended the questioning.  The majority of the panel held that the statement, "I don't want to talk no more," was clear.  The questioning had to stop at that point.  The majority said this was unambiguous.

As to prejudice, the prosecutor used the subsequent statements extensively in its case, and arguments.  The statements formed the "backbone" of the state's case.  As such, the unconstitutional statements were prejudicial.  The case was reversed and remanded.

The dissent said the under AEDPA, the state courts' finding of ambiguity as to the statement was not unreasonable.

Congrats to AFPD Kathryn Young of the Cal Central FPD Office (L.A.).

The decision is here:



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