Murder case against Moore dismissed
Daniel Lee Moore
(Photo courtesy BOUNDARY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE)
BONNERS FERRY — The second-degree murder case against Daniel Lee Moore has been dismissed.
Moore, 63, had been charged on March 12, 2020, fatal shooting of Brian Drake. However, following a ruling by First District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan in mid-April to reject reconsideration of an earlier suppression of a confession by Moore, defense attorney Katherine Bolton filed a motion to dismiss the case against her client on April 14.
Moore was initially charged on Thursday, Aug. 27, with second-degree murder and the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony in connection with the fatal shooting of Drake on March 12, 2020.
Prosecutors alleged Moore with forethought but not premeditated did intentionally murder Brian Drake using a pistol and shooting through a window hitting Drake in the back.
Moore was released on bail on Oct. 13 and resumed operation of his chiropractic clinic. In a November post to his clinic’s Facebook page, Moore wrote he appreciated all the love and support for his family, and proclaimed his innocence.
“While I can't talk about the specifics of my case at this time, I can say this: I am innocent of all charges.” Moore wrote.
The trial was set to begin April 12 but was rescheduled when the trial was moved to Kootenai County after Bolton requested a change of venue accepted by the prosecution. An initial jury trial date was supposed to start on Sept. 7.
In her motion to dismiss the case, Bolton said the prosecution relied exclusively on the now-suppressed confession to establish probable cause and lacked any additional evidence to support charges against Moore.
“The district court must dismiss a criminal complaint if it finds that the defendant was held to answer without probable cause,” Bolton argued, adding the state failed to meet even the most minimal standard for charging someone in a criminal case.
In her ruling, Buchanan agreed, finding “there is no admissible evidence in the record to establish that Moore committed the crime for which he stands charged.
Boundary County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tevis Hull had asked the court on Feb. 26 to reconsider suppression of Moore’s confession, arguing it was voluntary and not the product of coercion. Still, in April, the motion to reconsider was denied.
Prosecutors had also asked the court to use the alleged confession for impeachment purposes in the trial. However, both requests were denied by the court.
“The Court affirms its finding that the defendant’s alleged confession was involuntary and the product of police coercion,” Buchanan said in her ruling.
The length of Moore’s detention and the “repeated and prolonged nature of his questioning by [Bonners Ferry] assistant police chief Marty Ryan” were determining factors in the decision to uphold the suppression of evidence.
In the ruling to not overturn the suppression of Moore’s confession, Buchanan said she considered additional findings such as Miranda warnings, Moore’s age, education level, and whether Moore was deprived of food or sleep during his questioning.
“Considering the totality of the circumstances, this court finds that Moore’s will was overborne by the badgering and overreaching of police such that his waiver of his Miranda right to counsel was not made knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently,” she said in the ruling.
The decision found the confession was a product of police coercion and also was involuntary, determining that Moore was in police custody from the start of his interview with Idaho State Police.
The court also found the state’s request to use the alleged confession would violate Moore’s constitutional rights. “The Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments provide that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
Those rulings set the stage for Wednesday’s decision to dismiss the case against Moore.
Moore is also involved in a civil lawsuit he filed against the Drake family, with each side accusing each other of motives for Brian Drake’s death. Additionally, many of the documents are now sealed.
According to district court records, Drake's lawsuit states, “This action is filed to vindicate and compensate the family of Brian Drake, whose life was taken by Daniel L. Moore on the night of March 12, 2020."
The counter-claim denies that Daniel Moore confessed to law enforcement and states that Drake's lawsuit mischaracterizes his interactions with law enforcement on Aug. 27, 2020. It says that Daniel Moore never met, killed and had no motive to kill Brian Drake.
An appeal can be made in the Idaho Supreme Court, but unlikely to happen because of the precedent set behind the motion to dismiss.
Chief Prosecutor Tevis Hull was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.