A deputy sheriff “ploy” to avoid advising a suspect of his Miranda rights was cited by a court to overturn a nine-year-old murder conviction. The Los Angeles Times says the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit noted that Ventura County, Ca., Sheriff’s Sgt. Michael Barnes often failed to advise suspects of their rights. “Apparently, Barnes routinely declined to read Miranda warnings … unless he became convinced the suspect would waive the warnings,” said Judge Myron Bright. “In a sworn declaration, Barnes admitted that his practice in this respect constituted a ‘ploy’ designed to elicit a suspect’s statements.”
The opinion was issued in the case of Frederick Lee Jackson, who was convicted in a woman’s 1995 murder. A public defender now will check on whether other serious cases involving Barnes should be reviewed.
Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Patricia Murphy defended Barnes, contenting that law enforcement officers were not required to administer Miranda rights unless a person was being interrogated in a “custodial setting.”