Jail assault trial loomsEdwards’s interrogation under scrutiny
Rudolph Edwards gave the first of his two scheduled depositions this afternoon. Edwards, 42, is charged with third degree sexual abuse for an incident in the Washington County Jail on July 16, 2011. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
One piece of evidence that the two sides are still debating is an interview that Washington County Investigator Chad Ellis conducted with Edwards on July 19, 2011. Defense attorney Jeffrey Powell, who was appointed Edwards’s attorney on Nov. 2, has sought to suppress the interview from the trial because he believes it violated Edwards’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
Washington County Attorney Larry Brock, who is prosecuting the case, filed a resistance to Powell’s motion to suppress the interview. Judge Myron Gookin set a hearing date of Jan. 4, at which time the motion to suppress will be heard.
In a motion filed Dec. 17, Powell outlined why he wanted to suppress the interview and any recording made of it.
Powell wrote that Edwards was being held at the Washington County Jail that day, July 19, 2011, on a pending Johnson County charge. Edwards was taken to an interview room where he met Ellis. Powell wrote that Edwards stated immediately that he no longer wished to continue the interview and that he wanted to return to his cell.
“The conversation degraded to shouting as Investigator Ellis continued to ask questions for the next twenty (20) minutes,” Powell wrote. “Defendant repeatedly asserted that he was no longer going to participate in the interview. Investigator Ellis made continued attempts to get the Defendant to make further admissions despite the clear and unequivocal statements by Defendant asserting his right to remain silent.”
Powell wrote that any statements Edwards made during the interview violated his privilege against self-incrimination and are therefore inadmissible in court.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that no person “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
Powell argued that the statements Edwards made were involuntary and did not satisfy due process.
Edwards is currently serving a five-year sentence for willful injury in the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Edwards was transported from the Anamosa State Penitentiary to the Washington County Courthouse for his first deposition this afternoon. He will be transported to the courthouse again Monday for a second deposition.
In another matter, Powell sought the deposition of jailer Catherine Bell because he believed she possessed information relevant to the case. The court agreed and ordered a deposition of Bell.
Powell also requested to be paid more than the $1,800 allotted for court-appointed attorneys. Powell wrote in a motion that, due to the complexity of the case and the number of hearings and depositions, he sought legal fees exceeding $1,800. He filed the request Dec. 5 and the court approved it two days later.
The defense requested that, since Edwards is unable to pay for the depositions of state witnesses, that the state pay for them instead. This motion was granted.