In 1991, Jonathan Doody was convicted of lining up numerous Buddhist priests, robbing them, and shooting them in the head. He was sentenced to multiple life sentences in prison. He was just 19 at the time. However, after years of incarceration, in 2008 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out Doody’s confession to the crime based on the police officer’s violation of the Miranda requirement. Doody’s conviction rested solely on his confession to the police.
The Court threw out the confession because although the police had given Doody his Miranda warnings, they did not cease questioning when he refused to answer and did not allow him access to his parents or an attorney. Doody was questioned for 6 hours without any break, and finally at 2:30 in the morning he confessed. His attorney, and many others, claim he falsely confessed because at that point he had no other option.
The Court of Appeals ordered that Doody’s confession be thrown out of the case, and Doody receive a new trial without the confession. The prosecution appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court who rejected to hear that argument, allowing the 9th Circuit decision to stand. However, it is unlikely that the prosecution will be able to convict Doody without that confession, and he likely will be released. He has served almost 20 years in prison already.
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