Conviction overturned for not reading rights |

Conviction overturned for not reading rights

A Supreme Court panel Thursday overturned the conviction of Robert Geoffrey Davis because officers failed to read him his rights.

Davis was charged with shooting his mentally ill brother after a day of arguments and drinking.

He was arrested and interviewed at the police station in Reno for several hours. Then he was taken to the Carriage Inn Motel and left to sleep for seven hours. When the officers returned, they again interviewed Davis then arrested him.

He was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder.

The trial judge suppressed the station house statements because Davis was never informed of his Miranda rights. But the judge allowed the statements made at the motel into evidence finding he was not in custody at the motel.

The high court panel of Kris Pickering, Ron Parraguirre and Nancy Saitta ruled Davis was effectively in custody at the motel. They pointed out he arrived there as the prime suspect in a murder case, wearing police issued clothing and he was left in the room but with undercover officers outside until they returned to continue the interview.

“Given these circumstances, a reasonable person in Davis’s position would not have perceived himself free to terminate the Carriage Inn interview,” the court wrote.

Given those facts, they concluded Davis was in custody and should have been given his Miranda rights. Since he wasn’t, the district court should not have admitted his statements into evidence during the trial.

Because of that error, they ruled the conviction must be overturned and Davis returned to court for a new trial.