Defense seeks to suppress evidence in murder case


— Defense attorneys for the Steamboat Springs woman charged with the murder of her 1-year-old daughter are seeking to suppress statements Luz Cisneros made on the day of her daughter's death as well as evidence acquired from searches of her residence, according to motions filed Friday.

Cisneros, 34, is due to stand trial in September in Routt County District Court in connection with the Sept. 6, 2007, death of her daughter, Brianna Simon, at their Walton Pond apartment. Cisneros pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on March 13 and could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

She has remained in custody at Routt County Jail and at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo since her Sept. 6 arrest. No bail was set in her case.

According to sworn police affidavits, Brianna's father Isaias Simon called 911 the morning of Sept. 6 from a neighbor's home to report that Cisneros was holding a knife to their daughter's neck and stomach. Officers who responded forced their way inside the locked apartment, where they saw Cisneros come down the stairs holding her injured daughter, the affidavits state.

Brianna was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Autopsy reports indicated the 1-year-old died from a "total transection of the left jugular vein" due to an "incised wound to the neck."

Cisneros also was transported to the hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted laceration to the neck, according to the affidavits. After her release, she was interrogated at the Steamboat Springs Police Department for nearly four hours, and then booked into Routt County Jail.

The defense has moved to suppress all statements made by Cisneros at the scene, in the ambulance, at the hospital and during her interrogation at the police department, as well as all evidence derived from those statements. Her public defenders are arguing that "Ms. Cisneros' mental, emotional and physical state rendered her statements involuntary," according to the motion. According to court documents, Cisneros also gave consent for a search of her residence at that time, which the defense argues was involuntary given her condition.

In addition to consenting to the search of her residence, Cisneros agreed to allow police to take physical evidence from her person and access her medical records, according to court documents. A defense motion aims to suppress that evidence because Cisneros, a legal resident alien who holds Mexican citizenship, was not notified of her right to consular notification and access until the end of her interrogation.

At Cisneros' most recent court hearing in March, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann announced her intention to request a change of venue for the trial given the amount of pretrial publicity. Documents filed with the court Friday state that Cisneros reserves her right to request such a move at a later date.

The defense has filed motions requesting sequestration of the selected jury, and for potential jurors to be questioned separately and answer additional questions about prior personal experiences relating to assault or abuse during jury selection.

Cisneros' public defenders, Uhlmann and Emily Wickham, filed a total of 24 motions with the court Friday. The motions, along with the prosecution's responses, will be heard in Routt County District Court on July 17 and 18.

Cisneros also has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of violating a protection order since her incarceration began. The charges stem from her alleged attempts at contacting Brianna's father. The defense has filed a motion seeking to exclude any testimony or evidence regarding such contact, including a packet of letters Simon turned over to the Steamboat Springs Police Department in November.

The defense also filed a written objection to introducing photographs from Brianna's autopsy, and filed a motion seeking to suppress results from the autopsy that were inadvertently contaminated.

Additional motions request that Sheriff's Office deputies escorting Cisneros to the courtroom wear civilian clothes and not display their weapons, and that the court permit and accommodate the qualification of non-English-speaking jurors.

Cisneros is due to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. July 17 for a 1 1/2-day motions hearing. A pretrial conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. July 25.

The murder trial will begin at 8:15 a.m. Sept. 8 in Routt County District Court.


Gladys 8 years, 11 months ago

Ridiculous. Why would anyone work so hard to set a child killer free. This case should be cut and dry. There is no question or doubt that she intentionally murdered that baby.


id04sp 8 years, 11 months ago

. . . unless you're a doctor, in which case you bill Blue Cross.


justathought 8 years, 11 months ago

WHOA..."the court permit and accommodate the qualification of non-English-speaking jurors"... BULL SH?T... You commit murder in America you get an American, English speaking jury. You commit murder in America, the police officers escorting you to court actually look like police officers, weapons and all! After murdering her own child all this woman is concerned about is contacting her ex-boyfriend but they don't want the jury to hear about that, too bad, how about some justice for a baby that didn't live long enough to know she even had any rights. You murder a child in America you deserve the max!!


bandmama 8 years, 11 months ago

disgusting. that poor baby. She did it, admitted it and there shouldn't even be a trial, unles to clarify the soon coming insanity plea. Not Guilty? please.


colowoodsman 8 years, 11 months ago

How can they possibly conduct a trial with a "non-English speaking jury"? All of the judges, lawyers and witnesses remarks and instructions would have to be translated into how many different languages? And something is always lost in translation. I can understand the defense attorney wanting to 'cover all the bases' so that if there is a guilty verdict there is no grounds for appeal. The argument that the defendant was not advised of her right to 'consular notification and access' is the same one the Bush administration and Mexican officials used to free Mexican convicts inTexas.


nmypinon 8 years, 11 months ago

Give it awhile & they will just be asking that she be set free. Because she will never be in the right state of mind to be convicted. And why would they even ask the police to dress in plain clothes. What in the he!! does that have to do with anything. Afraid she might have a flash back? Justa: I agree with you completly.


corduroy 8 years, 11 months ago

i still think its funny how our legal system lets people plead not guilty for something they are clearly guilty of. I'm just saddened poor Brianna never got to grow up, make friends, go to school etc :( its a shame


TubbyD 8 years, 11 months ago

id04sp, your comment is absolutely ridiculous. I challenge you to find a pediatric medical provider who would not be absolutely devastated with a patient's death. These are innocent kids we are talking about, and these docs go into their profession to HELP people because they LOVE kids.


bandmama 8 years, 11 months ago

id- your attempt at humour is a gross absurdity. How can you even think of making a joke over the death, not just any death, but a horrible murder of a one year old child? I am sure you will find some sort of an excuse or conspiracy idea to explain this one away but please keep in mind that this particular article can do without your superior intellect.


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