Thursday, December 5, 2013

State v. Moore case brief

State v. Moore case brief summary
885 P.2d 457 (1994)

Defendant appealed his conviction for murder issued by the District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District in and for the County of Gallatin (Montana). Defendant challenged the introduction of DNA evidence after statistical evidence related to DNA testing was excluded. Defendant also contended, among others, that the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress a statement made to police while being transported in a patrol car.

Defendant called the victim to give him a ride. The victim was not seen again. The police obtained a search warrant for defendant's pickup and camper. When confronted with the evidence, defendant changed his story. Police found tissue in the camper, which was determined to be brain and muscle tissue. DNA testing showed that the tissue was most likely from the father of the victim's children. Police interviewed defendant, and the defendant waived his Miranda rights. Defendant admitted he had a gun and offered to get it. A police officer that was a friend of defendant drove defendant to his house. The officer stated that he did not want defendant to do anything to himself, to which defendant responded that if he did something to himself they would never find the victim.

The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress the statement. The trial court convicted defendant, and the court affirmed.


  • The court held that the DNA evidence was not dependent upon the statistics that the trial court suppressed. 
  • The court found that the officer did not interrogate defendant and that the officer's statement of worry was not likely to elicit an incriminating response.

The court affirmed defendant's murder conviction. The court held that DNA evidence was properly admitted and was not dependent on the DNA statistics that the trial court suppressed. The court found that a statement defendant made to an officer was not a result of custodial interrogation because the officer's expression regarding defendant's well being was not likely to elicit an incriminating response.

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