Janusiak v. Cooper, No. 19-1198 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Janusiak called 911 to report that Payten, a friend’s baby in her care, was not breathing. Paramedics took Payten to the hospital while officers talked to Janusiak. The police returned about eight hours later, and Janusiak, then eight months pregnant, agreed to go to the police station for an interview. Police questioned her about Payten’s death for about seven hours. Toward the end of the interrogation, Janusiak made statements about what happened to Payten that were used to impeach her testimony at trial. After Peyten died Janusiak was convicted of first‐degree intentional homicide. On direct appeal, Wisconsin courts rejected her argument that statements she made during the interrogation were involuntary and should have been suppressed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of her petition for habeas corpus relief, 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court rejected Janusiak’s arguments that her statements were coerced by comments that law enforcement made to her about keeping access to her children, the length and other features of the interrogation, and her vulnerability as a pregnant woman and mother. The state appellate court reasonably applied the correct standard to determine that Janusiak’s statements were voluntary.