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Supreme Court considering appeal in Moore murder case

 
June 13, 2022

By Mike Weland

The Idaho State Supreme Court has taken under advisement an appeal in the case State of Idaho vs. Daniel Lee Moore challenging dismissal of a charge of second degree murder for the March 12, 2020, shooting death of fellow chiropractor Dr. Brian Drake on the basis of a coerced confession.

On Friday, June 10, attorneys Jim Jorgenson of the Idaho Attorney General's Office and Jill Bolton representing Dr. Moore appeared before the Supreme Court in Boise to argue the appeal, with the state conceding the violation of Moore's Miranda rights during police interrogation but arguing that dismissal of the case was not the proper remedy.

In February, 2021, First District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan found that a confession by Moore was "the product of police coercion" and inadmissible in court and in May, Bolton filed motion to dismiss, contending that without the confession, there was insufficient evidence brought forward at preliminary hearing to establish probable cause, and Buchanan concurred.

“Considering the totality of the circumstances, this court finds that Moore’s will was overborne by the badgering and overreaching of police such that his waiver of his Miranda right to counsel was not made knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently,” Buchanan wrote.

Jorgenson said that Buchanan failed to appreciate the difference between a Miranda and a due process violation, and argued that police did not employ inherently coercive means to elicit his confession, while conceding it was gained illegally. He said the proper remedy for that violation was for suppression of the confession for use as evidence during the trial, that if the prosecutor had sufficient additional evidence with which to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, he said, it was the prosecution's decision to dismiss charges, not the court's.

He requested the court vacate Buchanan's suppression order and reverse the order of dismissal.

Bolton said that the state's case relied on the illegal confession, saying that to establish probable cause, the state must show both that a crime had been committed and that the accused most likely committed that crime.

"The prosecution hung their hat on an inadmissible confession," Bolton said in reference to the latter. She went on to argue that the confession had been coerced, that ISP interrogators properly stopped their questioning the first time Moore asked for an attorney, but that Bonners Ferry Assistant Police Chief Marty Ryan was clearly coercive in his interrogation, "gaslighting" her client by inferring he'd be charged with first-degree murder, a death penalty offense, unless he confessed and continuing the interrogation despite Moore making three separate additional requests to speak to an attorney.

Jorgenson reiterated that the remedy for a Miranda violation was suppression of the confession during the case in chief, saying suppression beyond that was unjustified.

No timeline was set for the court's decision.

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