In a California criminal case involving the death of a six-month-old baby, a court held that the father’s confession to the baby’s mother could be admitted. According to the court’s opinion, the father was watching his six-month-old daughter by himself one day, and called her mother to tell her that the baby was not breathing. When her mother arrived, she was cold to the touch, and no one could resuscitate her. The baby died, and an exam later showed bruises, rib fractures, and a punctured lung, among other injuries.
The father later accompanied the police to the police station. He was read his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with officers in an interview room. He told the officers that the baby stopped breathing while she was laying in her crib. After the officers asked if the defendant would take a polygraph test, he asked if he could have an attorney, and repeated his request for an attorney four more times. The officers then arrested the father.
Several hours later, the police allowed the father to meet with the baby’s mother in an interview room. An officer told the mother that she might be able to get a “full explanation” of what happened” because she “[had] a right to know.” The conversation between the two was recorded. The father first gave the mother the same explanation that he had given police. An officer then came in the room and said that the autopsy showed that the baby did not suffocate, and that she was beaten to death. The officer told the parents that they both could go to jail for child neglect, and that this would be the last time they could talk to each other in person.