hit tracker Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of defendant in Sioux City stabbing case – Newsmix.pics

Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rules in favor of defendant in Sioux City stabbing case

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled on the suppression of an alleged confession in a stabbing case originating from Sioux City.

The court unanimously affirmed a district court judge ruling on a motion to suppress. The Iowa Supreme Court opinion, delivered by Justice Edward Mansfield, said it was due to law enforcement’s failure to honor Faron Starr’s request to call a family member after being arrested and taken to the police station. The court heard arguments on Feb. 19.

The case originated out of Woodbury County in November 2022. Police arrested Starr, 39, of Sioux City, for allegedly stabbing a woman. He is charged with willful injury, second-degree burglary, going armed with intent, domestic abuse assault, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

In the case, Starr allegedly gave a confession to crimes of which he is accused. That confession and the evidence obtained as a result of the confession were later thrown out on April 26, 2023, after a district judge found that the detective interviewing him denied his right to speak with his father after being arrested.

With the case, the Iowa Supreme Court centered on Iowa Code section 804.20, which requires law enforcement to allow those arrested or restrained to speak to family, an attorney, or both “without unnecessary delay after arrival at the place of detention.”

There is an exception to the law for public safety, the opinion states.

Notably, there is a narrow public safety exception to the requirement that Miranda warnings be given before the answers of a person in custody may be admitted into evidence. The Iowa Supreme Court noted that the “exception applies to statements made at the place of arrest, rather than at the police station or the jail,” but there have been times it applied even after someone was taken into custody and then moved before questioning.

In applying the state law to the case, the court acknowledged the prosecution’s argument that there are some circumstances in which a delay would be necessary, but noted that the phrase “without unnecessary delay” in the law is broad. The opinion says it is “broad enough to allow for a delay based on an overarching safety concern, but such an interpretation also seems consistent with our existing practical approach.”

They said that law enforcement did not proceed “without necessary delay,” saying Starr wasn’t questioned about the guns at the scene or taken to the burglary at the time of his arrest. Instead, the opinion stated that it took nearly two hours from Starr being taken into custody for questioning before the subject of the missing stolen guns was mentioned.

The justices concluded that while the guns may have posed a public threat, the situation lacked immediacy.

“The delay—objectively viewed under all the circumstances—occurred in the context of an overall investigation of Starr’s criminal spree rather than as a quick postponement to permit resolution of a paramount public safety matter,” the opinion reads.

You can read the full opinion here.

Starr has pleaded not guilty to the charges in the case.

Starr’s trial in this case had been scheduled to start on Feb. 6 but was canceled upon the Iowa Supreme Court’s order to stay the proceedings. The trial will be rescheduled now that the court lifts its stay.

Starr is also awaiting trial for first-degree murder in an unrelated case. On Dec 3, 2023, Starr allegedly confronted, argued with, and then shot Nathaniel Parker, court documents stated. Parker was pronounced dead at the scene.

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