Judge tosses Haq interview
A judge has thrown out a detailed, 55-minute interview with accused Jewish Federation shooter Naveed Haq because police detectives repeatedly...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A judge has thrown out a detailed, 55-minute interview with accused Jewish Federation shooter Naveed Haq because police detectives repeatedly ignored his requests to talk to a lawyer.
The interview, taken just hours after the shootings, included Haq talking about planning the rampage, his problems with Jews and his bipolar disorder. Haq asked for an attorney six times during the interview after police read him his rights.
Federal and state law say that detectives should have quit questioning him after the first time.
King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas made the ruling and several other critical decisions Thursday in anticipation of opening statements in the trial Monday.
The ruling was a blow to prosecutors, although they have other evidence they can use to proceed to trial. Haq is charged with one count of aggravated murder, five counts of attempted aggravated murder and numerous other crimes — including the state's hate-crime law — for the July 28, 2006, attack on the Belltown office of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. Haq has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
The judge's rulings were a mixed bag for attorneys, and one major issue — the content of the testimony of expert psychologists and psychiatrists — has yet to be decided.
Defense attorneys argued that other evidence that may have derived from Haq's statement should be disallowed as well, including search warrants of Haq's two residences. Kallas, however, said those searches were legal even though affidavits police swore to were "made with a reckless disregard for the truth." Detectives, she said, had obtained information about the addresses from sources other than Haq's statement.
Police found, among other things, gun receipts and Internet research into Jewish organizations.
It's unclear how damaging it may be to the state's case to lose the police interview, in which Haq, 32, discusses driving from the Tri-Cities area the morning of the shooting with two guns and a knife and a plan to "make a point," his problems "against the Jewish people," and the fact that he took his medication on schedule the morning of the rampage.
Kallas reserved a decision on whether Haq's interview can be used later by the attorneys to challenge witnesses.
What's also unclear is whether mental-health experts will be able to refer to the interview when discussing their opinions about Haq. Defense attorneys sought to prevent the state's expert forensic psychologist from testifying about anything potentially incriminating that Haq told him during a court-ordered examination, including anything about Haq's actions on July 28.
The defense argued that because such examinations are ordered and Haq could not invoke his Fifth Amendment right to silence, any self-incriminating statements made during doctor interviews should be inadmissible at trial.
Defense attorneys also proposed that the doctor not be allowed to testify to any conclusions he made based all or in part on anything incriminating that Haq told him.
But Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Don Razcalled the concept of limiting doctor testimony in such a way "an affront to good forensic psychology." "Everything potentially has some information about the defendant's mental abilities. To slice and dice interferes with their operation of a proper methodology."
Kallas did not decide the matter, instead asking attorneys for more information on how incriminating statements might be parsed out from non-incriminating ones — something she called a "balancing" between Haq's right not to incriminate himself and the state's right to challenge the insanity defense.
Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or email@example.com
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