Teen’s attorney wants evidence suppressed in abandoned baby case

By Gary Scott on December 2, 2014 at 11:58pm

Defense attorneys for a 17-year-old Jacksonville girl accused of leaving her newborn baby in a dumpster are filing a motion to suppress evidence against her.

Specifically, attorney Anne Clough wants statements made by the girl to police officers during their investigation following the August incident quashed. A date was set next month by Circuit Judge Jeffery Tobin in Morgan County Court yesterday afternoon.

The teen is charged with attempted murder and will be tried as an adult and juvenile in what’s called extended juvenile jurisdiction.

Jacksonville Police Detective Scott Erthal testified last month that the 17-year-old admitted the abandoned baby was hers, and that she placed the child in the dumpster, and then stood there for about five minutes, with the baby crying, before leaving.

However, Morgan County Assistant State’s Attorney Chad Turner declined to discuss what statements the defense specifically want suppressed.

“There are a lot of rules that police officers must follow. People are genearlly familiar with having their Miranda rights read and stuff like that. There are even more rules involved when it’s juvenile, and they’re basically just alleging that the officers didn’t follow those rules,” he says.

“Obviously, we disagree with that and believe they did follow the rules to a tee, but that’ll be up for a judge to decide. The defense [has] one version of how a search or an interview happens, and the police… have another version of it. It’s pretty standard stuff.”

Turner adds that many times, a case will hinge on whether such a motion is granted, but he doesn’t believe that’s the case here.

“I believe there’s a lot of evidence besides her statements that would allow us to still have an effective case, so, I wouldn’t think that would be deposited in this particular case, no,” Turner says. “But we want every piece of evidence we can, and we’ll be asking that that not be suppressed. I’m confident it won’t be.”

A pre-trial conference for the attempted murder case was set for February 5th. Clough says there’s a possibility of the defense requesting a jury trial. That’s tentatively scheduled for February 17th.

The date for the hearing to consider the motion to suppress evidence is January 8th. A separate adjudication case for the abuse and neglect of the boy, now three months old, was also continued to that date.