Boise man sentenced related to his infant’s death. His attorney said his rights were violated
Kody Durfee agreed to give police his blood to see his infant daughter, who he believed was in critical condition. But he said he didn’t understand why he was giving it.
He had no idea that his 10-day-old baby, Journee, had already died.
In December 2021, Durfee was charged with two felonies, injury to a child and an infliction of great bodily injury enhancement, in connection to the death of his daughter after he’d fallen asleep with Journee on his chest. She ended up wedged between the couch and her father’s arm, which caused her to stop breathing. Durfee had been drinking at the time of the incident, police said, in violation of his parole.
A memorandum filed by public defender Abby Broyles, who was representing Durfee, alleged that Ada County Detective Ryan Pacheco violated Durfee’s constitutional rights during the arrest by collecting his blood without consent, waiting to read him his Miranda rights and denying him his right to an attorney.
Broyles said in the memorandum that Durfee’s blood was collected without a warrant, and that while evidence may be obtained without a warrant, it must be voluntary. Durfee’s blood draw was “coerced and not voluntary,” Broyles said. A motion filed by Broyles asked the court to suppress a sample of Durfee’s blood, any exams and any statements he made to Pacheco.
Attorneys were expected to meet in January regarding Broyles’ motion. Instead, a plea deal was struck and one felony was dismissed.
Durfee pleaded guilty to the injury to a child charge and was sentenced to 391 days in jail, or time served — which means he won’t face any additional time behind bars in this particular case. The maximum sentence for felony injury to a child under Idaho law is 10 years.
Because Durfee was found to be in violation of his parole for drinking and having alcohol in his home the night his daughter died, he is in the Ada County Jail on an Idaho Department of Correction parole violation hold, spokesperson Jeff Ray told the Statesman — and he might spend a lot more time incarcerated.
Durfee ‘coerced’ to have blood drawn, attorney says
On Dec. 15, when Durfee found his daughter wedged in the couch cushion, he, a family member and a friend called 911 and started CPR, a police report said. Journee was then transported to a local hospital, where she was in critical care and later died, according to the police report and a news release from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
Pacheco didn’t inform Durfee of his Miranda rights until “much later in the interrogation,” according to the memorandum. The memorandum said Durfee “repeatedly” asked Pacheco for an attorney, but Pacheco “ignored those requests,” which is a violation of the Sixth Amendment, Broyles argued.
In the police report written by Pacheco, he said that he read Durfee his rights after his blood had been collected and after having conversations with Durfee. Pacheco said in the report that Durfee asked him whether he needed to call a lawyer. Pacheco said he told him it was Durfee’s choice but that Pacheco didn’t need to wait for an attorney to get a detention order and draw his blood.
In the police report, when Durfee asked to go to the hospital, Pacheco told him that the longer they had “a conversation like this, the longer it would be before” they were done. Pacheco was also likely aware of the fact that Journee had died before Durfee had his blood drawn, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing.
Durfee found out about his baby’s death while his blood was being drawn, according to the police report. Durfee had asked the paramedic drawing his blood if his daughter was OK. The paramedic responded that she wasn’t.
“She didn’t make it?” Durfee asked the paramedic.
“No,” the paramedic said.
“Kody’s head dropped. The paramedic said, ‘I’m sorry to have to tell you here,’” according to the police report. “Kody sobbed. The blood draw was done.”
Sheriff’s Office ‘confident’ in detective’s handling of case
Broyles alleged that Durfee’s Fourth Amendment rights, protecting him from unreasonable search and seizure, were violated when Pacheco and a paramedic collected Durfee’s blood without consent. She also alleged that Pacheco violated Durfee’s Fifth Amendment rights when he didn’t read Durfee his Miranda rights and violated his Sixth Amendment rights by denying Durfee his right to an attorney.
Prosecutors responded to Broyles’ allegations in a memorandum, but Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Sean Watson asked that the court seal the documents because of the “sensitive nature” of the memorandum, according to a motion.
It’s unclear whether the alleged constitutional rights violations played into the plea deal. Ada County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Emily Lowe told the Statesman by email that Durfee’s parole status for a 2015 DUI conviction could “provide some context” regarding the plea deal.
With Durfee in jail on the Department of Correction hold, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole is expected to decide whether to revoke or reinstate his parole, Ray said. If his parole is revoked, he could receive a new parole date or spend the remainder of his parole — which is until 2025 — incarcerated.
Ada County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Patrick Orr told the Statesman in an email that the agency is “100% confident in our detective’s handling of the case.” He said he was “100% confident” that Broyles’ motion would have been denied if there had been a hearing.
“Ultimately, the person in question willingly withdrew their motion and then willingly entered a guilty plea to felony injury to child,” Orr said by email.
Broyles did not respond to a request for comment.