A Dugway woman accused of shaking her 18-month-old stepdaughter to death did not get an adequate warning of her right to remain silent and her confession was coerced, her attorneys claim.
The motion, filed by lawyers G. Fred Metos and Hakeem Ishola on behalf of Terri Lyn Craig, says the statement she made to investigators should be thrown out. A separate motion seeks the suppression of evidence seized in a search.Opposing motions were filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In a hearing Monday, U.S. Magistrate Sam Alba said that by Sept. 24 he would send a recommendation on the matters to U.S. District Chief Judge David K. Winder.
Craig is accused of intentionally causing the death of her stepdaughter, Makiah Craig, on Feb. 20. Her husband, an enlisted Marine, was stationed at Dugway Proving Ground, and the family lived on the base.
The lawyers wrote that an FBI special agent was called to Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City to investigate Makiah Craig's death. Dr. Marion Walker and a social worker talked to the agent. Walker told the FBI woman that Makiah had died as a result of shaking by an adult.
The social worker brought Craig into the surgeon's lounge, where she was questioned by officers. The agent handed her a written statement of her rights as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court's Miranda ruling, including the right to remain silent.
Craig "looked at the form for approximately five minutes and responded she understood the waiver . . . then signed the waiver form and indicated she would answer questions without a lawyer present," Metos and Ishola wrote.
However, he said, the agent "admitted she did not actually read the de-fendant her Miranda rights or explain what the waiver of rights meant." She did not verbally tell Craig she had the right to a lawyer, even though it normally takes up to five minutes to explain the rights, Metos and Ishola added.
The agent said that if she had read the rights to Craig, she would have stopped at the end of every sentence and asked if Craig understood that sentence.
Craig never obtained a clear explanation of her Miranda rights, and there is no indication she actually read and understood both the warnings and the waiver, the lawyers argued. They said Craig was in a state of shock following the death of her stepdaughter and that she had been told by two police officers that she was a suspect.
A response by Richard G. MaDougall, assistant U.S. attorney, said the agent asked Craig if she spoke and read English, and that she replied she did and had graduated from Tooele High School and attended some college. The agent then gave her the written advice of rights form and asked her to read it.
After Craig read it, the agent asked if she had any questions about anything on the form and Craig said she had no questions, the prosecutor wrote. The agent asked again, inquiring if she understood all the questions on the form and the waiver, and Craig "answered that she understood everything on the form."