CLEVELAND — Defense attorneys are trying to keep a jury from hearing the confession of the woman accused of shooting and killing a Cleveland police officer on New Year's Eve.
A motion to suppress claims Tamara McLoyd was intoxicated when police questioned her.
McLoyd is facing numerous charges, including murder, in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of Cleveland officer Shane Bartek.
The motion filed in March claims McLoyd was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana when Cleveland homicide detectives interviewed her.
Court records filed by the prosecution show McLoyd mentioned she consumed Jack Daniels, then admitted to robbing and shooting Bartek.
Case Western Reserve Senior Instructor of Law Michael Benza calls the move a standard motion for the defense in challenging the validity of an interrogation.
“In order to make a valid waiver, the defendant has to make a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver,” said Benza.
The prosecution countered, arguing in court records that McLoyd waived her Miranda rights and spoke with the detectives fully and conscientiously.
Records show twice during the interview, McLoyd said she was intoxicated, but the prosecution chalked it up to McLoyd attempting to avoid answering questions.
The whole interview was captured on bodycam, which the prosecution says shows no visible signs of intoxication.
The prosecution wants the interrogation video viewed in open court. Benza says that could be of value to both sides.
Benza points to police dashcam of impaired drivers at sobriety checkpoints as an example that he says is helpful to prosecutors in OVI cases.
“If that same type of video is available for the defendant to show, that it would go a long way toward demonstrating both under the influence and to a certain degree the level of impairment,” Benza said.
Benza says the defense will have to show proof McLoyd was impaired.
“It will really come down to her testimony about how much she had drunk or what its effect on her was. She may have other people she was around that evening that she would want to call in and say we saw her drinking, this is how she was behaving,” Benza said.
McLoyd’s attorneys declined to comment.
The prosecutor’s office also declined to speak on a pending matter, saying the state’s Brief in Opposition speaks for itself.
A hearing on the motion is set for later this month.
Should a judge grant the motion?
“The jury would never hear the contents of the interrogation, and that’s because if she was incapable of giving a waiver, then her rights to remain silent were violated,” Benza said.
The Brief in Opposition states the crime was captured on surveillance video.
The prosecution also states it will show at the hearing why the confession is reliable in that it coincides with other evidence of the crime and other admissions McLoyd has made in phone calls made from the Cuyahoga County Jail.
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