Hinton statements ruled inadmissible

September 17, 2010 

A Pierce County judge Thursday ruled statements Rickey Hinton made to law enforcement the day his half-brother gunned down four Lakewood police officers cannot be used against him.

But Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend said she will allow statements Hinton made the next day be admitted as evidence in his upcoming trial on charges he helped Maurice Clemmons evade capture after the slayings.

The rulings drew mixed reactions from Hinton’s attorney and deputy prosecutors.

Defense attorney Philip Thornton said Arend’s decision “eliminates one aspect” of the state’s case against his client.

Hinton is charged with lying to law enforcement, providing transportation to Clemmons and destroying potential evidence. Arend’s ruling means alleged lies Hinton told law enforcement officers on Nov. 29 – including that he didn’t know Clemmons – can’t be used against him.

“That eliminates that prong of the state’s case,” Thornton said.

Deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner disagreed. There is evidence Hinton also lied to investigators on Nov. 30, Penner said. Those statements are admissible under Arend’s ruling, he said.

“We don’t expect it to effect our ability to go forward,” the deputy prosecutor said.

Thornton argued following a two-day hearing last week that his client’s statement from both days should be suppressed.

Law enforcement obtained the statements after improperly detaining his client on both Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 and failing to inform Hinton of his rights to remain silent and consult an attorney, Thornton contended.

Penner argued law enforcement acted appropriately on both days and that all Hinton’s statements were admissible.

Arend split the difference.

Hinton, who’s pleaded not guilty, is to go to trial Oct. 28.

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