SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A Woodbury County Judge has ruled that the confession of the man accused of stabbing a woman he was in a relationship with must be thrown out after the detective interviewing him denied his right to speak with his father.
Faron Starr is charged with several counts including willful injury, burglary in the second degree, going armed with intent, and domestic abuse assault after police say he stabbed a woman back in November of 2022.
Starr was arrested not long after the alleged assault and spoke with police after his arrest. At the center of the ruling was whether Starr’s confession, and the evidence obtained as a result of the confession, should be allowed as evidence. Starr claims that officers continued interrogating him after he asked to speak with his father and to call a lawyer.
“At one point in the interrogation, Star said ‘then why don’t I just call my father and have him get a lawyer and we can sign this paper and we can talk?” Judge Jeffery Neary wrote in his report.
According to Neary, Starr did get a chance to call his father but this was not until after he had given his confession and gave officers assistance with the retrieval of two firearms. At that time Starr was not able to talk to his father because he did not remember his father’s number.
Under Iowa law, suspects are allowed to request to speak with family members and a lawyer after they are arrested but before charges are filed. According to Neary, unlike requests to speak to a lawyer, which must be made clearly, Iowa courts have held that as long as it is clear that the defendant is trying to invoke their right to speak to a family member a law enforcement officer must allow them to speak with their family member.
“Grimsley’s response to Starr’s suggestion that they call Starr’s father was ‘That wouldn’t happen today.’ This response effectively denies Starr of the right provided under Section 804.20 of the Iowa Code and its protections,” Neary wrote.
Starr’s case will now proceed with the state not being allowed to use the interview as evidence in the case against him or the evidence found as a result of the confession. Starr is set for a status hearing on July 5 and his trial will start on July 11.