May 10, 2011 By Paul Wallin

Federal Court Overturns Conviction Of Teen Convicted Of Mass Murder In 1993 Due To Inadequate Miranda Warnings And A Coerced Confession

Johnathan Doody was a 17-year-old high-school student when he confessed to participating in the 1991 murders at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple near Phoenix, Arizona.  The nine victims, including six Buddhist monks, two nuns and a novice, were found lying face-down in a circle, each shot in the head.  Doody was arrested and later convicted for all nine murders. He was sentenced to 281 years in prison. Another minor, Alessandro Garcia, testified against Doody and was also convicted as an accomplice after pleading guilty as part of a deal to avoid the death-penalty and testify against Doody at trial.  Garcia was sentenced to 271 years.

In a 116-page opinion, a divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Doody’s confession was illegally coerced by Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies during 13 hours of relentless questioning.  Writing for the eight-judge majority on May 4, 2011, Judge Johnnie Rawlinson wrote “We can readily discern from the audiotapes an extraordinarily lengthy interrogation of a sleep-deprived and unresponsive juvenile under relentless questioning for nearly thirteen hours by a tag team of detectives, without the presence of an attorney, and without the protections of proper Miranda warnings.”  The court held that the Miranda warnings provided to Doody were defective because the detective who read the warnings to Doody downplayed the warnings’ significance, deviated from an accurate reading of the Miranda waiver form, and expressly misinformed Doody regarding his right to counsel.  The court’s 8-3 decision clears the way for Doody to be set free or face a new trial in the mass-murder case.  The decision will be appealed, said Amy Rezzonico, attorney general spokeswoman.

This case demonstrates the importance of hiring a competent and aggressive federal defense attorney any time you are facing criminal charges.  Doody will undoubtedly be tried again  for the mass murders and he will need the best lawyer possible to try to avoid being convicted again and spending the rest of his life in prison.  At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience in handling all types of  crimes. Our attorneys are highly knowledgeable and will aggressively fight to defend your rights and get you the best possible result in your case. Call us today at (888) 749-0034. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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