Here's part of detective's controversial interview with a murder suspect
Defense attorneys say Farmington police Detective Paul Martinez trampled one defendant's right to remain silent.
Based on Martinez's conduct, District Judge John A. Dean Jr. ruled that the police interrogation of a murder suspect was unlawful, and that the statement police obtained would not be admissible as evidence.
The defendant, Donovan King, twice said he did not want to talk to Martinez, at least not right then. But Martinez forged ahead instead of ending the interview and then trying again later.
Prosecutors say Martinez's interrogation was just fine because King never specifically invoked his right to remain silent.
The state attorney general, on behalf of San Juan County prosecutors, has appealed Dean's ruling to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The stakes are enormous.
King, 23, is accused in the robbery and murder of Kevin Lossiah. He says he was drunk on vodka and had smoked marijuana when Martinez began interrogating him.
The Supreme Court will decide the case based on briefs from the attorney general and Dean's public defender. We read the lawyers' arguments today. Here is the key part of a tape-recorded exchange between Detective Martinez and King:
Detective Martinez: All right, Donovan. Listen to me. You have the right to remain silent. Listen to me. Look at me, Bro. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you. You have a right to a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided free. Do you understand your rights?
Detective Martinez: Do you wish to answer any questions?
King: Not at the moment. Kind of intoxicated.
Detective Martinez: Well, intoxication isn't one of the reasons you can't talk to us. It's us ...
King: It's what?
Detective Martinez: Three o'clock. Sign this form for me if you wish to answer questions. Right there.
King: If I wish to answer questions? Like I said, not at the moment.
Detective Martinez: Well, intoxication is a reason -- one of the reasons ...
Martinez put the waiver form and a pen on the table, showing King where to sign. Then Martinez continued speaking:
We just need you to tell us your side of the story. There's two sides to every story.
Detective Martinez: We just want your side. So sign that and let's -- the quicker we do this, the quicker we can find you a place to sleep. All right?
King: Uh huh.
Detective Martinez: OK. Go ahead and sign that and we'll go from there.
King: What happens if I don't sign it.
Detective Martinez: Well, we just need you to sign it so we can -- that's what this is -- Step One.
King: Yeah, but you didn't answer my question.
Detective Martinez: What will happen if you don't sign it? Well, it's not against the law.
Detective Martinez: And we want to talk to you.
Detective Martinez: Actually, the reality is, Donovan, you should be begging us to listen to you.
King: Uh huh.
Detective Martinez: And have an opportunity to tell your side of the story. Because if we go with what we right now know, it's not good for Donovan. Do you understand that?
Detective Martinez: So why don't you sign that and let's move on.
King: So what do you know right now?
Detective Martinez: Well, sign that and I'll tell you what we know and we'll go from there. I know you're in a world of hurt.
King: Uh huh.
Detective Martinez: You've already told Officer Dart enough.
King: I know.
Detective Martinez: So if I was you, seriously man, you need to give your side of the story.
King: I thought I did.
Detective Martinez: No, not enough. But we just got to flush (sic) it out a little bit.
Sergio J. Viscoli, an assistant state public defender in the appellate division, stated in his brief that Martinez lied to King twice by saying intoxication was not a reason for silence.
In fact, the defendant could stay silent without giving any reason.
The overriding issue in this appeal is whether Martinez's conduct will damage the state's murder case against King.
A second defendant, Justin Mark, was convicted this month of first-degree murder in Lossiah's killing.