1/31/2011

Carol Leonard - Advoctae for Amber Riley





The Wrongful Interrogation of Amber R. Riley



Carol Leonard - Prison Reform Movement
Advocate for Amber Riley

18 Jun

When a Child is Too Young to Realize All Rights Are Being Violated

Amber Riley was a normal teenage girl who had just turned 16. She was working part time, attending school and just hanging out with her friends and dog Burkage. She states her nightmare began when a friend of hers, Jason Lamar Harris murdered another friend of hers
Terry Ray Taylor in a brutal stabbing back in 2003, in Perris Hill in San Bernardino, California. Amber was also charged with the murder of Taylor.
It was a gruesome murder that received much media attention due to the fact that the two allegedly recited the words of a song by heavy metal band, SlipKnot called “Disasterpiece” which has lyrics resembling the nature of the murder. More can be read here Amber stated she never liked this kind of music and that Jason was the one who listened to SlipKnot.
Amber claims she had no part in the murder and that her codefendant Harris, who has already been sentenced to 50 years acted solely alone. She claims her being interrogated for long hours, alone without a lawyer, or her parents present landed her in prison awaiting trial for nearly six years. She was coerced into signing away her rights for a speedy trial she states. The interrogating police lied, coerced, frightened, induced sleep depravation and hunger all to get a confession, whether it be true or not. The Doctors stated at one point to Amber’s parents that “she was not capable of murder” and one detective told her parents “that he knew this was not her crime but that she will now have to convince a jury”
Amber’s mother states that her and her husband were never allowed to see her, and were never given details about why their daughter was being detained and arrested for murder. They were told they should go home, despite the fact that Amber had asked for her parents throughout the interrogation. Both parents were detained in their own living room and not allowed to place or receive phone calls keeping them separated from Amber while she was interrogated for hours. According to page 5 of the police report the interrogating officer stated that at 6:08 PM Amber said “she felt like killing herself.” He stated “she is a danger to herself and others, and is a gravely disabled minor,” and thinking this he had her sign a Miranda waiver at 7:10 PM, just one hour later.
Amber’s mother claims that after 8 hours of interrogation Amber was then admitted to Ward B at Arrowhead Medical center where she was then handcuffed to a chair in the hallway, and left there all night and denied the use of a phone to call her parents, according to her mother. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress disorder and in shock. She was then placed in San Bernardino Juvenile hall without the knowledge of her parents. Her father searched for her and found her 3 days later. Amber’s mother stated an intake worker told her and her husband “she entered juvenile hall in worse shape of any kid they have ever seen.” Amber was given what her mother calls “dangerous psychotic drugs” that caused her to have nightmares and hallucinate.
Amber’s parents have compiled a list of violations and injustices about their daughters case and she forwarded them to me. The list is lengthy and I have included links to further understand the violations. Amber’s rights were clearly violated, and she should never have signed away her rights to a speedy trial. Her ignorance of the law, and manipulation by her interrogators have changed her life into a six year nightmare. Our hopes are that someone will read her story and help her in her fight for freedom.
According to Amber’s mother, when Amber was first picked up by the police, and taken into custody she was never allowed her two completed phone calls, within an hour. (seeCalifornia Welfare & Institutions Code 627) . Her 14th Amendment Rights were violated when she was denied counsel during questioning. ( See Welfare & Institutions Code 30.23). Other issues include her mental condition was very important, since Amber had a history of depression and “separation anxiety” from her parents. A young scared girl was alone with adult male police detectives which infringed on her 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution concerning due process. (See Wikipedia on The Constitution)
Amber’s mother also states that failure of telling Amber that her father was at the place of interrogation was a direct violation of The Welfare & Institutions Code 30.11 . Other violations include she was deprived of rights and privileges and US Code 1414la was violated.
Amber’s mother also claims that when Amber could not understand the DA the Judge would not allow him to be replaced which was a violation of rule #1.14 in the rules of professional conduct, but one month later the DA was asked to be taken off the case due to a conflict of interest that was never explained to them. She states that Amber was tried as an adult with no psychological witnesses, no juvenile hall witnesses, no defense witnesses, and no character witnesses. Amber was asked by the DA to sign papers she did not understand, and her parents never saw.
Minors are not allowed to sign legal contracts and documents, yet a young girls legal rights were taken away from her in a matter of hours. She is a loving and caring young woman who will always be scarred by the events that happened in her life. She has already served six years for a crime she maintains she never committed.
Prison activist and advocate, Carol Leonard, founder and owner of The PrisonReformMovement Yahoo group
has authored a petition to help free Amber, please take a moment of your time to sign this petition and give this young women the justice that she deserves.
Sources:
Censor Blog
http://censorbugbear-reports.blogspot.com/2008_08_18_archive.html
California Welfare & Institutions Codes
http://law.onecle.com/california/welfare/627.html
http://law.onecle.com/california/welfare/630.1.html
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
Petition:
http://criminaljustice.change.org/actions/view/at_age_16_she_faced_life_in_prison

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