State v. Martinez

Decision Date15 April 1968
Docket NumberNo. 9740,9740
Citation439 P.2d 691,92 Idaho 183
PartiesSTATE of Idaho, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Frank J. MARTINEZ, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

R. H. Young, Nampa, Wayne Fuller, Caldwell, for appellant. Allan G. Shepard, Atty. Gen., and William D. Collins, Asst. Atty. Gen., Boise, for appellee.

SPEAR, Justice.

Frank J. Martinez, appellant herein, was charged with the second degree murder of one Michael Anthony Coburn, a 2-year 10-month old infant, on July 31, 1964. The infant had died from injuries allegedly inflicted by appellant's repeated kicking and striking of the deceased's body. Trial was held in June, 1965, and appellant was found guilty as charged.

At approximately 2 o'clock p. m. on July 31, 1964, an ambulance was summoned to the residence of Sandra Coburn in Nampa, Idaho. An attendant examined the body of the deceased child in the presence of his mother and appellant, and thereafter advised them to wait for the arrival of the Nampa Police. Appellant then left the premises to take a second child to his mother's home. On the way he was met by two police officers who offered him a ride and then returned him to the Coburn apartment. After waiting approximately an hour for the police to conclude their investigation, appellant was taken to the Nampa Police Station. During the course of the next three and one-half hours, appellant was variously questioned, taken to the Alsip Funeral Chapel to view the deceased child's body, returned to the Nampa station, and finally transferred to the Sheriff's office in Caldwell where he made certain incriminating statements, the admissibility of which constitutes the central issue on this appeal. The district court held a separate hearing outside the presence of the jury and determined that the statements were admissible.

The events which took place after appellant was taken from the Coburn residence to the Sheriff's office in Caldwell are the subject of four of the five assignments of error listed by counsel. For clarity, the events occurring at each location are set forth separately below.

Nampa Police Station

Appellant was taken into custody and brought to the Nampa Police Station where he was questioned by Captain Loe of the Nampa Police in the presence of Sheriff Haile and the Prosecuting Attorney of Canyon County, Mr. Yost.

Sheriff Haile testified that appellant was not under arrest at this time, and the evidence discloses that appellant did not believe himself to be under arrest. Appellant was initially questioned about the cause of the child's death, but he maintained he didn't know anything about it because he was asleep. Sheriff Haile was not certain whether appellant, at this time, had been advised of his rights to remain silent, that an attorney would be appointed, or that anything he said might be used against him. However, he did testify that appellant had made no request for an attorney.

Appellant maintained that he did request an attorney at the time of this questioning, but that his request was ignored; and, furthermore, that he had not been advised about any of his constitutional rights before the questioning began.

Trip to Alsip Chapel

Because appellant seemed rather evasive in responding to questions concerning the bruises on the child's body, he was taken by Sheriff Haile to view the body at the Alsip Chapel. Appellant testified that he was asked certain queestions by Sheriff Haile and Mr. Yost, but that he gave no answers and remained quiet. Although he was still not told that he was under arrest, he was asked to take off his shoes.

Sheriff Haile testified that he asked appellant if he could explain all these fresh bruises on the child's body, and that when appellant said he didn't know, he asked for his shoes as they may have possibly fitted these bruises. At this time, appellant was not under arrest but was regarded as a likely suspect. When appellant was told that his shoes did fit the bruises, he continued to remain silent.

Transfer of Appellant from Alsip Chapel to Nampa Police Station

Appellant was transported back to the Nampa station where he remained for an indefinite period of time. It does not appear that he was questioned during this period, but appellant did testify that he again requested an attorney, which request was ignored. During this time appellant was not told that he was under arrest.

Transfer from Nampa Station to Sheriff's Office at Caldwell

Appellant testified that while en route to the Sheriff's office, Deputy Jerry Wilda requested him to make a confession. Appellant stated he'd rather talk to an attorney first, to which the deputy replied that such would only confirm his guilt. Appellant further stated that he was then suffering from a headache and requested to see a doctor.

Deputy Wilda's version is that (1) appellant did not request an attorney nor did he complain of being sick; (2) Wilda merely asked appellant if he wanted to tell him what happened, but appellant did not respond; (3) Wilda advised appellant he did not have to say anything, and appellant remained mute; (4) Wilda did not tell appellant that requesting an attorney would indicate guilt.

Statements Taken at Sheriff's Office

Appellant testified that he was questioned by three persons at the Sheriff's office, namely, Deputy Wilda, Probation Officer Curtis Young and Sheriff Haile.

In reference to the conversation with Deputy Wilda, appellant contends he was first requested to admit the death of the child. He responded by again asking for an attorney. Wilda then asked appellant if he would rather talk to his probation officer, to which appellant agreed.

Appellant testified that he preferred to speak alone with Mr. Young because he had confidence in him and because of their previous relationship. When Mr. Young entered the room, he said that he could help appellant only if appellant would tell him what happened. Appellant contends that he was not advised of his constitutional rights by the probation officer and that he thought he requested an attorney at this time. He further testified that Mr. Young then told appellant he would be required to repeat his statement to the Sheriff because of what he had told Mr. Young and because he was on probation.

Sheriff Haile then entered the room with the prosecuting attorney and a stenographer and requested appellant to give him the same statement he had just given to Mr. Young. Appellant testified that Sheriff Haile thereupon advised him of his 'constitutional rights' although he could not remember whether he had been advised of his right to appointed legal counsel or that his statements must be given of his own free will. He testified that his statement was given freely although he had requested to see a doctor but was told that he must first make a statement. Appellant was not advised he was under arrest nor did he believe himself under arrest. He maintains that he did make a request to see an attorney at this time.

Appellant's version of the various conversations taking place at the Sheriff's office differs markedly from the testimony of the other witnesses. Deputy Wilda testified that the only words spoken to him by appellant at the Sheriff's office were to the effect that he wished to speak to Mr. Young. When Sheriff Haile returned, Wilda told him that appellant had already spoken to Mr. Young, had made a statement and that he now wanted to speak with Sheriff Haile.

Probation Officer Young testified that upon entering the room he asked appellant if he would like to talk with him, and appellant stated that he would. He told appellant that he wanted to know why he was there and asked appellant to explain the situation to him. He further testified that to the best of his recollection he advised appellant that anything he said could be used against him, that he did not have to talk to him and that he had a right to an attorney. Counsel for appellant attempted to impeach this testimony by referring to Mr. Young's previous testimony at the preliminary hearing, wherein the witness testified that he had not advised appellant that anything he said could be used against him. Mr. Young also denied having told appellant that he had to talk to Sheriff Haile.

On cross-examination, Mr. Young reaffirmed his position despite what he had said at the preliminary hearing, stating that this was his normal practice when talking to these fellows.

Sheriff Haile testified that at the outset of their conversation he first advised appellant of his rights to appointed counsel, to remain silent, and that anything he said could be used against him. Appellant then admitted having kicked and beaten the deceased child, and thereafter his statement was reduced to writing.

Sheriff Haile considered appellant 'under arrest' at this time and felt that appellant so knew, although he may not have expressed it to him in so many words. At the time appellant was taken to the Alsip Chapel, he was considered only a suspect, along with Sandra Coburn.

Sheriff Haile did not recall that appellant had made any complaints about a headache and denied that appellant had ever requested an attorney.

Based upon this conflicting evidence the trial court ruled that appellant's statements-to the effect that he had kicked and beaten the deceased-were freely and voluntarily given after he had been fully advised of his constitutional rights and that these statements were, in fact, solicited by the appellant himself. As such, the court admitted the testimony of Probation Officer Young and Sheriff Haile in this regard.

Appellant's assignments of error Nos. 2 through 5 all concern the admissibility at trial of the incriminating statements made by him to Probation Officer Young and Sheriff Haile at the Sheriff's office in Caldwell.

Since the trial in the instant case took place in June, 1965, the admissibility of appellant's incriminating statements is governed by the rules set forth in Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378...

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27 cases
  • State v. Windsor
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • December 19, 1985
    ...the trial court, admissible in evidence as an aid to the jury in arriving at a fair understanding of the evidence. State v. Martinez, 92 Idaho 183, 188, 439 P.2d 691, 696, cert. denied, 393 U.S. 945, 89 S.Ct. 317, 21 L.Ed.2d 283 (1968). Having reviewed the photographs, we find no abuse of d......
  • State v. Dillon
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • June 25, 1970
    ...I.C. § 9-1201, applied to criminal actions by I.C. § 19-2110; see State v. Oldham, supra note 14, 438 P.2d, at 283.41 92 Idaho 183, 188, 439 P.2d 691, 696 (1968); see generally People v. Bradford, 70 Cal.2d 333, 74 Cal.Rptr. 726, 450 P.2d 46 (1969); People v. Thomas, 65 Cal.2d 698, 56 Cal.R......
  • State v. Iverson
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court
    • April 8, 1971
    ...v. Austin, 84 S.D. 405, 172 N.W.2d 284 (1969); People v. Brawley, 1 Cal.3d 277, 82 Cal.Rptr. 161, 461 P.2d 361 (1969); State v. Martinez, 92 Idaho 183, 439 P.2d 691 (1968); People v. Terry, 2 Cal.3d 362, 85 Cal.Rptr. 409, 466 P.2d 961 (1970); People v. Robles, 2 Cal.3d 205, 85 Cal.Rptr. 166......
  • State v. Hatton
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1974
    ...even though such protographs may have the additional effect of tending to excite the emotions of the jury.' State v. Martinez, 92 Idaho 183, 188, 439 P.2d 691, 696 (1968). In this case, the appellant conceded that there had been a killing, that the killing had taken place during an armed ro......
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