case----Court: Officers didn't give the proper Miranda warning in the murder
A Glynn County man facing a death-penalty trial will not have 4 statements he
made used against him, nor can prosecutors use his bloody clothes as evidence,
the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The state’s high court unanimously ruled that four statements made by John
David Clay to investigators could not be given to the jury during his upcoming
trail for the 2007 murder of Janice Swain in the Brunswick Guest Cottages
The justices concluded that Clay was under arrest at the time he made his
statements, but officers had not given him a “Miranda warning” against self
incrimination or that it was read at “super speed” so that its contents sounded
“It is axiomatic that a rendering of the Miranda warnings must be intelligible
before a defendant can knowingly and intelligently waive the rights involved,”
wrote Justice Hugh Thompson in the 45-page opinion.
Clay was found unconscious in the middle of a street near the hotel shortly
after the murder. A detective entered the emergency room where he was being
treated for his alcohol and drug stupor and took the bloody clothing the
hospital had removed from Clay.
The court ruled the clothing could not be taken without a search warrant.
Prosecutors had argued they would have eventually gotten the warrant so it was
inevitable that the police would have collected the clothes.
The top court ordered the Glynn County Superior Court to hold a hearing on its
specific reasons for allowing Clay’s convictions for violent crimes more than
10 years ago to be admitted into evidence.
Clay’s criminal record in Glynn County dates to 2004 and includes 2 convictions
for family violence battery and single convictions for false imprisonment and
burglary, Georgia Department of Corrections records show.
At the time of his arrest, he was on parole for a family violence conviction.
(source: Florida Times-Union)