Murdock v. Dorethy, No. 15-1660 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2003, Murdock was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. In connection with his post-conviction claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, a suppression hearing was held to determine whether Murdock's statements to the police were voluntary, given that Murdock was 16 years old and was without an attorney or other adult present. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed denial of a motion to suppress. The federal district court denied habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254, finding that the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision was not unreasonable. The Seventh Circuit affirmed: the court applied the correct test in a reasonable manner in finding that the totality of the circumstances indicated that Murdock gave his statements voluntarily. The court considered Murdock’s age, and that he did not have an attorney or other adult present, but found that he was able to understand and provide an adequate waiver of his rights. The court considered that Murdock was detained for approximately seven hours, but noted that the interview lasted only three hours and that Murdock was given the opportunity to eat and use the restroom. There was no evidence that the officers threatened him or otherwise created a coercive environment. The court found that Murdock did not appear to be under distress or frightened on a video recording.