A Kern County prosecutor acknowledged Thursday that investigators violated accused killer Sabrina Limon's Miranda rights when they continued to speak with her after she asked for an attorney following her initial arrest three years ago.
But Limon, prosecutor Eric Smith said, later reinitiated conversations with detectives both the day of her arrest and the following day, after she was booked into jail. She spoke freely and voluntarily, Smith said, and was not coerced nor offered leniency.
Smith argued he should be allowed to enter those conversations into evidence at Limon's trial.
"In this case, I think what has to be looked at is the totality of the circumstances," Smith said in asking to use the conversations, transcripts of which were provided to the court.
What Limon, 37, said in those conversations was not revealed in court. She's charged with murder, among other crimes, in the killing of her husband three years ago.
Her attorney, Richard Terry, argued Judge John R. Brownlee should take into consideration his client had never been arrested before Nov. 18, 2014, when she was brought to a Boron substation and interrogated.
Terry said Limon capitulated to "good cop/bad cop" tactics after being told her children would be taken away from her. He asked Brownlee to consider whether her remarks "were borne of her own free will or the result of someone terrified."
Brownlee said he will review case law, including two California Supreme Court cases cited by the prosecution, before making a decision.
The judge said he couldn't find in the transcripts where Limon was told her children would be taken away. Terry said that exact wording wasn't used, but words to that effect.
Earlier Thursday, sheriff's Detective Patrick McIrvin testified he was tasked with transporting Limon from Boron to the downtown jail for booking after she was questioned on Nov. 18, 2014. He said they engaged in some conversation, but nothing related to her arrest.
Upon arriving at the jail, McIrvin said, Limon asked to speak to Detective Robert Meyer, the lead investigator on the case. He contacted Meyer, then drove Limon to sheriff's headquarters on Norris Road.
Meyer testified he took Limon to a small interview room at headquarters, where they spoke for "quite a long time." He said he advised her of her rights, and she said she wanted to talk.
"I would say it was pretty easygoing," Meyer said of the conversation.
He said Limon was provided with water during the conversation and given breaks. The detective did not disclose what was said between them.
Limon, of Helendale, is accused of plotting with her former lover, Jonathan Hearn, in the Aug. 17, 2014, killing of her husband, Robert Limon, 37, at a railway building in Tehachapi.
She was originally arrested with Hearn in 2014, but was released due to insufficient evidence. She was rearrested in January after Hearn confessed to the killing.
Hearn has agreed to testify against Sabrina Limon as part of a plea agreement in which he'll serve 25 years and four months in prison.
Jury selection is expected to begin Monday.