Two motions filed by the defense of an 18-year-old Sheridan man charged with 2nd Degree Felony Sexual Assault of a Minor were denied during a lengthy motion hearing Wednesday in 4th Judicial District Court.
Defense attorney for Dylan Todd, Stu Healy, filed the first motion to suppress testimony given by Todd in an interview conducted in December of 2010 by Sheridan Police Detective Scott Brastrup.
Todd, a 2011 graduate of Sheridan High School and now student at the University of Wyoming, is charged with unlawful sexual intrusion upon a minor resulting from an incident on December 12, 2010 when Todd was 17. He is accused of the crime against the then-13-year-old girl.
Since Todd was not read Miranda rights, Healy said, that, combined with the fact that Todd was a minor, meant he was not given enough information about his situation prior to his interview.
District Court Judge John Fenn denied the motion, saying that the court determined Todd had given his statements voluntarily, and Miranda rights were not required because the interview was not custodial in nature (conducted while Todd was in custody).
“Would we always like officers to Mirandize people?” prosecuting attorney for the State, Diane Bennett, queried. “Yes. But it didn't happen, and it wasn't required.”
Healy argued that the interview was conducted in the “bowels of the law enforcement center” and the environment of the interview made it custodial in nature.
Fenn said there was nothing he saw that led him to believe the interview was conducted improperly. Todd was 17 and 11 months at the time of the alleged incident and interview, and his parents were not contacted regarding the interview, Healy argued.
Fenn said juvenile justice issues concerning age and maturity regarding testimony have been argued in state and U.S. Supreme courts, and will most likely be part of the jury's decision in Todd's trial.
The second motion was to dismiss discovery regarding interviews with the victim; that motion was also denied by Fenn.
"The job of the defense is not to harass the victim," Bennett said. She added that Judge John Sampson had already determined it inappropriate.
Healy, citing the discovery file, said that accounts gathered by police of the victim's story were unclear.
Fenn said again that the issue would most likely be brought up again at trial, as the charged has a right to confront the accuser – even in a sexual assault case involving a minor.
If convicted, Todd faces at most 20 years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. A three-day trial is scheduled to begin December 20th.