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Tricks are for Cops

Police used deliberate deception in getting alleged rape victim to recant.

1) The section of Det. Thomas Woodmansee's police report that deals with Patty's confession.
2) Attorney Hal Harlowe's brief in support of his motion to suppress.
3) An attached statement from Patty's ophthalmologist.
4) Judge Aulik's ruling.

2) Attorney Hal Harlowe's brief in support of his motion to suppress.
STATE OF WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT DANE COUNTY
Case No. 98 CM 529

State of Wisconsin
Plaintiff,

V

Patricia [Redacted]
Defendant
TRIAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF PATRICIA [REDACTED]'S

MOTION TO SUPPRESS CONFESSION
I. THE LAW OF VOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS
The State must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant confessed Voluntarily. State V. Rewolinski, 159 Wis.2d 1,16 & n.7, 464 N.W.2d 401 (1990). See State Y. Agnello, 96-3406 Slip. Op. at 4 (Ct. App. 1998). Under the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution, a state criminal defendant's involuntary statements are inadmissible to prove his or her guilt on the charged offense because of their inherent unreliability and the judicial system's unwillingness to tolerate illegal police behavior. Statate V. Deets, 187 Wis.2d 630,635, 523 N.W.2d 180 (1994).
A. [PATTY]'S CONFESSION WAS INVOLUNTARY BECAUSE IT WAS PROCURED VIA COERCIVE MEANS AND WAS THE PRODUCT OF IMPROPER PRESSURES BY THE POLICE
In determining whether a confession was voluntarily made, the essential inquiry is whether the confession was procured via coercive means or whether it was the product of improper pressures exercised by the police. State V. Clappes, 136 Wis.2d 222, 235-236, 401 N.W.2d 759 (1987). The presence or absence of actual coercion or improper police practices is the focus of the inquiry because it is determinative on the issue of whether the inculpatory statement was the product of a "free and unconstrained will, reflecting deliberateness of choice." Id, 136 Wis.2d at 236,401 N.W.2d 759. If there is not affirmative evidence of improper police practices deliberately used to procure a confession, the inquiry ends and the confession is deemed to be voluntary. Agnello, 96-3406 Slip. Op. at 5.
Examples of improperly coercive police tactics include:
1. Questioning a defendant for excessively long periods of time without breaks for food or rest;

2. Threatening a defendant, with physical violence or otherwise;

3. Making promises in exchange for the defendant's cooperation;

4. Engaging relays of interrogators to question a defendant "relentlessly";

5. Conducting questioning so as to "control and coerce the mind of the defendant." Agnello, 96-3406 Slip. Op. at 5 (citing Clappes, 136 Wis.2d 222,239, 401 N.W.2d 759).
B. THE POLICE REPORT OF THEIR INTERROGATION OF [PATTY] CONTAINS NUMEROUS EXAMPLES OF ACTUAL COERCION AND IMPROPER POLICES.
The police report prepared by the interrogating officer itself reveals several examples of improperly coercive police practices. Even if not an additional shred of evidence is developed by [Patty] at her hearing, the admitted action by the officers requires suppression.
1. Detective Woodmansee's report clearly demonstrates that he and Detective Draeger conducted their questioning of [Patty] so as to control and coerce her mind.
Detective Woodmansee began his interrogation of [Patty] by stating that "he believed she had made a false allegation and that she had lied about the incident and that there was no sexual assault or suspect." Police Report at page 43. In response, [Patty] began to "breath extremely heavy." She stated:
"I'm not changing my story. I can't believe this. I'm scared to sleep in my room." Id.
[Patty] further stated:
"there was someone in there (her room), he was in there a long time." Id.
Detective Woodmansee responded:
"There was a great deal of inconsistencies and lack of evidence and that I was convinced that she made this up. I told [Patty] that I had put a great deal of work into this case and that several other cases... had to be put on hold because of this time allegation."
[Patty] then requested a lie detector test and even offered to be placed under hypnosis. Id. at page 44. To this Detective Draeger told [Patty] she could have a polygraph examiner at her own expense, but that it didn't matter because "we knew that she was lying to us about this incident." Id.
Detective Woodmansee then repeated that there were numerous inconsistencies and discrepancies in [Patty]'s account of the incident. In particular, he made the astonishing accusation that [Patty] had exaggerated or even fabricated her loss of vision:
You claim not to have been able to see the suspect, yet your vision is not nearly as impaired as you originally indicated. Your vision does not even appear to be noticeably bad to me. Id. at page 44.
The report of Dr. Thomas S. Stevens of UW Health shows that [Patty] is, in fact, "considerably worse than legally blind in both eyes." (See attached exhibit A).
It can't get much more Kafkaesque than this. Imagine the extraordinary fear and disorientation of a blind person, who had no previous police contact, being placed in an interrogation room and confronted by accusing officers who told her that they "knew that she had lied and that she was in fact not blind."
[Patty] had arrived at the station fearful and full of anxiety. In fact, [Patty] had already indicated to the detectives that she was "scared to sleep in my room." Police Report at page 43. Instead of recognizing her condition and acting accordingly, Detective Woodmansee increased [Patty]'s fears and anxieties by making his twin accusations within the first full page of his report. (fabricating the sexual assault and her disability). This is unquestionably an improper and coercive police tactic. United States V. Rutledge, 900 F.2d 1127, 1130-31 (7th Cir. 1990) (police allowed to play on suspect's ignorance, fears and anxieties; they just are not allowed to magnify those fears . . . to the point where rational decision becomes impossible).
That is precisely what occurred in this case. Detectives Woodmansee and Draeger' 5 accusations magnified [Patty]'s fears and anxieties to the point where they controlled what she was saying. This was perfectly illustrated by [Patty]'s immediate replies. "What do you want to hear? I'll say whatever you want." Id at page 44.
She followed with:

"if you're going to drop it, I'll say whatever you want." Id.
Incredibly, Detective Draeger then furthered the improper series of "questions" by telling [Patty] that she owed Detective Woodmansee an apology for "lying and causing [him] to expend a great deal of effort and time in investigating this case. At that point, Detectives Woodmansee and Draeger were clearly in control of [Patty].
After offering to "say whatever they want," [Patty] apologized to Detective Woodmansee. See Id. (You're right, I'm sorry." "I'm sorry, I'm very sorry, I didn't mean for this to happen.").
Again, after offering to "say whatever they want," [Patty] "admitted" she was lying all the time. See Id. ("Okay, I'm lying."). Yet, she was unable to answer Detective Woodmansee's follow-up question: "Why?" ("I'm honest, I don't really know why."). Likewise, she was unable to answer Detective Draeger's question regarding at what point she decided to name [redacted]as the suspect. ("I honestly don't know.").
Finally, after telling Detective Woodmansee that she could not provide him with a reason for making up the sexual assault allegation, [Patty] recovered enough control to reassert that someone did break into her apartment. Id. at page 45.
C. [PATTY] WAS A VICTIM IN AN UNFAIR AND UNEQUAL CONFRONTATION WITH DETECTIVES WOODMANSEE AND DRAEGER.
if there is affirmative evidence of coercive or improper police pressures, the personal characteristics of the defendant must be balanced against the police pressures and tactics. Clappes, 136 Wis.2d 222,236, 401 N.W.2d 759. In examining whether a confession was rationally and deliberately made, it is important to determine that the defendant was not a "victim of a conspicuously unequal confrontation in which the pressures brought to bear on him by representatives of the state exceeded the defendant's ability to resist." Id. The defendant's personal characteristics which are relevant to this analysis include:
1. The defendant's age;

2. The defendant's education and intelligence;

3. The defendant's physical and emotional condition;

4. The defendant's prior experience with the police. Id. (See also Agnello at 5).
As stated earlier, [Patty] is legally blind. Subjecting her to intense adversarial questioning at night diminished her already limited ability to resist any improper police questioning.
[Patty] was also taking anti-depressant medication (Prozac) See Police Report at 45. The police were aware of that and used it to their psychological advantage. Finally, [Patty] was a victim in a violent sexual assault. Her emotional condition was such that in the conspicuously unequal confrontation between [Patty] and the police, the pressures brought to bear on her by Detectives Woodmansee and Draeger exceeded her ability to resist.
CONCLUSION
[Patty] has clearly satisfied the first prong of the test to determine whether her confession was voluntary and thus admissible. Detective Woodmansee's report illustrates that the questioning of [Patty] by Detective Woodmansee and Detective Draeger was coercive and designed to control [Patty]'s mind. The police ridiculed [Patty]'s claims and even went so far as to assert that her eyesight was not really disabled. In so doing, they magnified her fears and anxieties and made it impossible for her to discuss her case in a rational manner. She was clearly not m control at the point she "confessed" to making up the entire assault.
Having satisfied the first prong of the test for voluntary confession, it is proper for the Court to balance the personal characteristics of the defendant against the police pressures and tactics to determine whether the confession was rationally and deliberately made. In this case, [Patty] is the victim of an a sexual assault and taking an anti-depressant medication. She is blind. She had no prior police contacts. Yet, the detectives she turned to for help accused her making up not only the assault but also her disability. Under these circumstances, [Patty] was clearly the victim of a "conspicuously unequal confrontation." The pressures brought to bear on her by Detectives Woodmansee and Draeger exceeded her ability to resist.
Dated this 9th day of July, 1998
HAL HARLOWE AND ASSOCIATES, S.C.
[signed]

Hal Harlowe (# 01013213)

Rob DeBauche (#1031390)

Attorneys for [Patty]
519 North Pinckney Street

Madison, WI 53703

(608) 257-7007
[End of document.]

1) The section of Det. Thomas Woodmansee's police report that deals with Patty's confession.
3) An attached statement from Patty's ophthalmologist.
4) Judge Aulik's ruling.

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