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TOP COURT RULES AGAINST UTAH IN '86 SLAYING OF BABY GIRL

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to reinstate the conviction and five-year prison sentence of a Utah man accused of killing his infant daughter.

Despite the urging of Utah and 10 other states, the court refused to relax the way in which its landmark Miranda ruling has been applied by courts for the past quarter-century.The justices let stand a state court ruling that Carlos Sampson, 31, is entitled to a new trial because evidence used against him was obtained in violation of his Mir-anda rights.

Justices Byron R. White and Sandra Day O'Connor voted to hear arguments in the case, but four votes are needed to grant such review.

In its landmark 1966 ruling in a case called Miranda vs. Arizona, the court said police about to question criminal suspects in custody must tell them about their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer's help.

Prosecutors are barred from using as trial evidence the statements made by defendants who were not given their Miranda warnings or those who were questioned after invoking their right to silence or a lawyer's help.

The Utah case acted on Monday raised, among otherissues, a question never explicitly answered by the high court: May physical evidence obtained as the result of violating a defendant's Miranda rights be used at trial?

Sampson told Salt Lake County deputy sheriffs on Nov. 24, 1986, that his 19-month-old daughter, Miyako, had been abducted.

During a search and investigation that lasted through the night, Sampson was told the deputies had become suspicious of his abduction claim. He agreed when asked to take a lie-detector test at the sheriff's office the next day.

Before administering the test, an officer read the Miranda warnings to Sampson and asked, "Do you wish to talk to me now?" Sampson responded, "Well, uh, should I have a lawyer, I mean, well, I'm really not worried about anything, it is just that . . ."

The officer said that if Sampson was not worried they should proceed with the test. When Sampson was asked whether he knew where his daughter was, the polygraph indicated that his answer was deceitful.

The officer left the room and discussed the results with then-Sheriff Pete Hayward, who then asked Sampson if he had injured the girl.

Sampson eventually told Hayward that she was dead and led him to a garbage Dumpster in American Fork, where Miyako's body was found in a plastic bag. An autopsy showed she had been beaten to death.

At Sampson's trial, prosecutors were allowed to introduce as evidence all the statements Sampson made during and after his lie-detector test, and all the physical evidence found as a result of those statements.

A state appeals court threw out Sampson's conviction in 1990. It ruled that Sampson was, in effect, in police custody when he took the lie-detector test and that his "equivocal request" for legal help should have been clarified before he was given the test.

The appeals court also ruled that the Miranda violations barred using at his trial any physical evidence - including the child's body - obtained as a result of the unlawful questioning.

The Utah Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal last August.

In the appeal acted on Monday, state prosecutors argued that there was no Miranda violation because Sampson was not under arrest or in police custody when he took the lie-detector test.

Even if there had been a Mir-anda violation, they said, the physical evidence obtained as a result should not have been excluded from his trial.

"The purposes behind Miranda are not served by excluding physical evidence derived from an alleged Miranda violation," the appeal said.