Iowa Judicial Building.

The Iowa Supreme Court is allowing statements made to police by a former Simpson College professor accused of killing her husband to be used in court.

Gowun Park called West Des Moines Police to report her husband Sung Woo Nam was not breathing. She told the officers her husband had tied himself to a chair and she later found him unresponsive. It appeared to officers he had been strangled and they questioned her extensively at her apartment before taking her to the police station.

Officers read Park her rights at the station, and during questioning, they did not immediately reveal her husband had died. They also suggested she could tell them if this happened because she had been abused. The district court and Appeals Court ruled Park had not willingly waived her rights and the interviews with police could not be used in court.

The Supreme Court ruling says although Park is from Korea, she is proficient in English and understood her rights. It says
the officers’ deception did not exceed what our legal system tolerates. The lie about whether the man was dead didn’t affect the woman’s essentially knowing and voluntary waiver of her Miranda rights. The High Court ruling says while some tactics used may have been distasteful, officers were only trying to find out what happened. It says the officers were open with Park about what they were seeking and did not coerce a confession from Park.

The case now goes back to the district court. Park is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping.

Radio Iowa