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Court upholds conviction of Richard Allen Davis

  • PC: Richard Allen Davis sits in a San Jose, Calif., courtroom, Wednesday morning, Feb. 28, 1996. Davis is charged with the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in 1993 in Petaluma, Calif. (AP Photo/Judith Calson, pool)

    9/28/2003: A9: ``I know when my time comes, I know there's going to be a big-time tailgate party going on.''

    7/25/2006: A4: Richard Allen Davis

    9/26/2006: A1: Richard Allen Davis

California?s Supreme Court on Monday upheld the murder conviction of Richard Allen Davis, concluding that a Petaluma police officer acted properly when he did not advise the suspect of his Miranda rights because he was hoping Davis would help them find 12-year-old Polly Klaas.

The 110-page decision, released on the final day of a 90-day review window, affirmed all of the convictions against Davis in the 1993 abduction and killing.

The judges upheld the state?s ?rescue doctrine.? The doctrine allows police to ignore a suspect?s rights to counsel if they believe someone?s life is in jeopardy.

Davis?s attorney argued it was unlikely the child remained alive at the time of questioning. But Senior Assistant Attorney General Ronald Matthias, who argued the state?s case in the appeal, said that because there was the slightest chance the girl still was alive, the officers had the right to ignore Davis? rights to consult an attorney.

?We are very disappointed in the California Supreme Court?s decision today,?though it is hardly unexpected,? said appellate attorney Phillip Cherney in an e-mail.?The rule of law that protects us all from overzealous law enforcement agents has taken a severe hit by this decision.?

Former Petaluma Police Sgt. Mike Meese, who was the lead investigator in the Klaas case, was one the officers whose Miranda decisions were a focus of the appeal.

Meese Monday morning said he was gratified by the ruling, though he had expected it.

?I had tears of relief,? said Meese, who teaches criminal justice at Santa Rosa Junior College.

?I felt very confident in what I did in talking to Davis ... I didn?t ask him any questions in the case. I said ... ?if there?s any hope she?s alive you should think about talking to someone,? he recalled.

The comment led to revelations by Davis that incriminated him in the girl?s death and led to the discovery of her body.


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