Judge does not make ruling yet on motions filed in Leilani Simon case

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:34 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:06 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Judge Tammy Stokes did not decide on any of the defense’s three motions discussed Friday in court.

Those motions revolved around Leilani Simon’s journals, throwing out false statements made to law enforcement and the murder charges.

When Leilani Simon came in the courtroom she had her hair down, she wore glasses and was in jail attire with a mask covering her face.

PREVIOUS STORIES >>> Quinton Simon Case

Two of the motions discussed concern Leilani’s 19 count indictment. It says Leilani faces more than a dozen counts of making false statements to police and the defense didn’t agree with four of them. The defense argued that she can’t be charged with lying about if and where she may have thrown Quinton’s body away or whether she was under the influence.

Prosecutor Tim Dean said Leilani agreed to talk with law enforcement and had a constitutional right to stay silent, but not the right to lie.

In a separate motion, the defense claims the counts of felony and malice murder are not detailed enough because prosecutors say they don’t know Quinton’s cause of death. The defense saying, they are worried more information will come out during the trial that the defense was not able to prepare for.

The defense is asking the state to re-indict Leilani. The prosecution did not agree to that and said the matter could come back up in an appeal process.

The other motion to stop the prosecution from accessing and using Leilani’s journals to build a case took up the majority of this hearing.

For about an hour, attorneys argued if the state had the right to take roughly 7 or 8 of Leilani’s journals. The argument bringing Leilani’s mother to the stand.

When the defense called Billie Jo Howell to the stand, she said Leilani’s journals were in luggage stashed in the closet of Leilani’s upstairs bedroom. Howell said the state subpoenaed her to hand them over while Leilani was in jail. Howell says she talked to Leilani while she was in jail before giving them up and Leilani never told her not to give them to the state.

Prosecutors asked Howell several times if she knew about the journals before and she said no.

“Was there ever a time where she told you there was information she needed in one those journals and asked you to go get it?” Howell was asked.

“No sir,” she responded.

Howell said Leilani was encouraged to journal by staff at a recovery center she was staying at for about three weeks before being arrested on charges of killing her son.

The defense argued that it’s unconstitutional and an invasion of privacy for the prosecution to have access to those journals. They also said they didn’t agree that the state used a subpoena to get the journals.

Prosecutors said it’s against the state constitution to use a search warrant to get private information like what is likely in the journals which is why they used a subpoena. They also argued that Leilani never argued against it.

Judge Stokes said she will take the motions enter consideration and will make a ruling later.

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