Police ignored Haq's 6 requests for lawyer
A prosecutor acknowledged that much of a taped statement by accused Jewish Federation assailant Naveed Haq is inadmissible at his murder trial.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A King County prosecutor acknowledged Monday that much of a taped statement by accused Jewish Federation assailant Naveed Haq is inadmissible at his murder trial because Seattle police detectives repeatedly ignored Haq's requests to talk to a lawyer after the July 28, 2006, rampage.
Nearly two-thirds of the 55-minute interview was obtained in violation of Haq's constitutional rights, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Don Raz said during a hearing Monday before Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas on a defense request to bar the statement.
During the tape, played in court on Monday, Haq asked for a lawyer six times. Raz contends that anything Haq said after the second request is tainted.
Prosecutors argued that police had a legitimate concern for public safety that justified their decision to continue questioning beyond Haq's first request.
Defense attorneys believe questioning should have stopped the first time Haq asked about an attorney.
State and federal law requires police to cease questioning a suspect immediately if the suspect requests a lawyer. "We would agree that a violation ... occurs," said Raz.
The first part of the interview included information about Haq's weapons, politics, his family and his mental illness.
During that time, police asked Haq questions about bombs, other weapons, and whether his parents were OK.
"This was an extraordinarily bizarre incident ... we were really trying to piece it together," detective Al Cruise testified Monday. "I wasn't convinced that there wasn't something else pending."
The impact on the case is unclear, but it raises questions about the admissibility of any other evidence that may have been gathered based on the improper interview, possibly including gun receipts and evidence of Haq's Internet research into Jewish organizations before the July 2006 shooting rampage.
Detectives also said Monday that some of the key information used to obtain search warrants came from sources other than Haq's tainted statement, including the FBI.
Those claims, however, are not documented in their reports, according to Monday's testimony.
Haq, 32, was arrested at the scene and survivors of the attack have identified him as the gunman, according to court documents.
Haq is accused of killing federation employee Pamela Waechter and wounding five other women after he forced his way into the Jewish Federation offices. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to one count of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder and a slew of other charges, including malicious harassment -- the state's hate-crime law.
According to police witnesses at Monday's hearing, Haq was taken in for questioning at 4:34 p.m. and first asked for a lawyer at 4:51 p.m. A call for attorneys was not placed by police until after the interview by detectives David Duty, Russell Weklych and Cruise was over, according to testimony.
Haq's defense attorneys are opposed to the jury seeing or hearing any of the interview. Kallas will rule on the issue and others before the start of opening statements in the case on April 14.
In the candid and chilling videotaped interview, Haq told the detectives that he had planned the attack over a few days, that he stopped shooting "so quickly" because he saw only women in the center, and that he didn't use a shotgun in the rampage because it was "too much of a hassle walking down the street with a shotgun."
Haq told police that his bipolar disorder had "screwed up" his life, that he took two his guns and a knife to the Jewish Federation, and that he invaded the federation's Belltown offices to make "a point" about Jews and the Iraq war.
"I don't have anything against America," Haq says in the interview. "I have (sic) against the Jewish people. Because they're busy killing.
"Do you think this is going to be national news?" he asked detectives at one point. "It's probably going to be if I attacked ... ."
"I sympathize with Muslims, you know. But I'm not an extremist," he said. "I didn't want to kill anybody. ... just got in there and started firing. ... I wasn't really aiming at anything," he later said.
Haq appeared confident, even boastful, during parts of the interview. He told detectives he had two college degrees, but had had difficulty holding down a job. He spoke without emotion until he was asked about his parents, when he paused to wipe his eyes.
Much of the time, he willingly answered questions, and detectives joked with him that they would fetch some Ezell's fried chicken for him if he had any money.
Other times, though, he was standoffish. After his third request for an attorney, he said: "That's all you need to know, that's good enough."
Haq's mental illness will play a key role at trial. However, among the statements prosecutors apparently won't be able to use was his admission that he had taken his bipolar medication the morning of the shootings before he drove to Seattle from his Tri-Cities home.
Each time Haq requests an attorney, detectives acknowledge him but move to another topic. This exchange occurred when he made a fifth request:
Haq: "I want a lawyer now."
Weklych: "You've told us a lot."
Weklych: "But so and again, you know, we understand everything you're saying and I think we've covered everything from the time we picked you up in the car and brought you back here until right now. Do you want another water, by the way?"
Haq: "Yeah, please."
Pretrial hearings will continue today.
Prospective jurors are scheduled to return to court Wednesday to be individually questioned by attorneys. Close to 400 King County residents responded to an initial summons of 3,000, and about 130 remain.
Attorneys will explore hardships as well as factors that may bias potential jurors.
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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