Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Baby-killer dad gets confession suppressed because he's mildly retarded (Ogden, Utah)

Seems dad DAVID SWAPP, who has confessed to the smothering murder of his 3-month-old infant son, is getting a free pass in court. His confession won't be held against him because he has "developmental disabilities," which in this case is appears to be nothing more than mild mental retardation.

Let's just put it simply. Judge Michael DiRida and psychologist Stephen Golding are idiots. Just because you have mild "developmental disabilities" doesn't mean it's alright to murder babies, or that you're necessarily too stupid to know that it's not alright to murder babies. I've known a lot of people with "developmental disabilities," and they don't snuff out the lives of kids. So let's stop making bogus excuses for baby-killing daddies, okay?


Prosecutors vow to appeal / Judge suppresses confession, cites defendant's disabilities
By Tim Gurrister (Standard-Examiner staff)

Last Edit: 3 days 10 hours ago (Dec 25 2009 - 11:12pm)

OGDEN -- Prosecutors will appeal a judge's suppression of David Swapp's apparent confession to police in the death of his infant son.

Swapp, 28, is still charged with murder in the May 30, 2008, death of 3-month-old David Swapp Jr.

The case has been in limbo since August when 2nd District Judge Michael DiReda threw out Swapp's incriminating statements to Ogden police, citing Swapp's developmental disabilities.

When the appeal will be filed with the Utah Supreme Court is still up in the air, said Weber County Attorney Dee Smith.

"All I can say at this point is that we are working closely with the Utah Attorney General's Office," he said. The attorney general's office is, by law, involved in all criminal appeals.

Swapp was jailed the same day the child died, held there unable to raise bail until July of this year, when it was lowered to $25,000.

In his ruling, DiReda said Swapp's mild mental retardation precluded him from understanding his Miranda warnings, making all of his confessions to police inadmissible.

Swapp also tries to please people by telling them what he thinks they want to hear, the judge said.

Swapp had waived his Miranda rights before admitting during questioning by an Ogden detective the same day the baby died that he had killed his son in their apartment.

He described holding the baby's face pressed into bedding until he stopped breathing, according to testimony.

The family lived in the transitional housing unit of the Your Community Connection private social service agency at Adams Avenue and 23rd Street at the time.

Swapp's wife has since divorced him.

In announcing his decision from the bench, DiReda said the officer did not know that Swapp had cognitive deficiencies.

Swapp "wouldn't have had a ghost of a chance in hell of understanding his Miranda rights," the judge said, quoting forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Golding, who testified for the defense at a hearing on the suppression motion.

Swapp also is prone to saying what others want to hear to please them, Golding said.

Swapp's confession was the centerpiece of the case against him, almost the sole subject of a preliminary hearing in October 2008.

After DiReda tossed out Swapp's statements, defense attorney Camille Neider said the state has no other evidence against her client. Prosecutors disagreed but declined to elaborate