April 19, 2013
Criminal Justice 101-A
Law Enforcement 102-A
Jessie Misskelley’s signed a Miranda waiver on tape before he was interrogated by Detective Ridge. His confession is not admissible under Iowa law on “Miranda” voluntariness, but I do not believe that the evidence supports his confession. In the case of State of IOwa, Appellee v. Jimmie Lee HODGES page 347, Hodges confessed to the crime that he was accused of after the police officer “suggested that by confessing the defendant would receive better treatment and less severe punishment than if he denied guilt and stood trial.” An officer can tell a suspect that it is better to the truth, but in this case the line seemed to be crossed if the officer also tells the suspect what advantage is to be gained or is likely from making a confession. When the officer provided special treatment to the defendant, he destroyed the voluntary nature of the confession in the eyes of the law. Misskelley refused to testify against Echols and Baldwin even though he was offered a deal in reduction time in his jail sentence.
Misskelley was interrogated for 12 hours without his parents or an attorney present during this. Jessie Misskelley had a low IQ score of 72 indicating that he was mentally disabled and even after knowing this the West Memphis police still continued to interrogate him. Although he recanted his so called confession within hours after speaking to the police, it still played a major role in all three convictions of himself, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. I feel that Jessie was definitely coerced in making this confession. He failed to provide the correct details of the crime which included the cause of death, times the murders took place and the materials that were used in the murders. He often repeated what information Detective Ridge spoke of in the interrogation. Finally, approximately 46 minutes of the 12 hour interrogation was recorded on tape.
In the case of...