U.S. v. Martin

Decision Date04 April 1983
Docket NumberNo. 82-3152,82-3152
Citation704 F.2d 267
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Eric Charles MARTIN, a/k/a Mickey Milton Arrington, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

Eric C. Martin, pro se.

Frederick H. McDonald, Asst. U.S. Atty., Toledo, Ohio, for plaintiff-appellee.

Before KEITH and JONES, Circuit Judges, and PECK, Senior Circuit Judge.

KEITH, Circuit Judge.

On May 15, 1980, a three count indictment was filed against defendant-appellant Eric Charles Martin, a/k/a Mickey Arrington, and two co-defendants. Count one alleged that on April 24, 1980, the defendants kidnapped two females in Newark, New Jersey and transported them to Ohio in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2 (aiding and abetting). The second count alleged that Martin used handguns to commit the kidnappings in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 924 and Sec. 2. The last count alleged that the defendants transported a stolen 1977 Buick from New Jersey to Ohio in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2312 and Sec. 2.

On June 3, 1980, a United States Magistrate ordered that the Court Diagnostic & Treatment Center conduct a mental examination of Martin. The psychiatric report, dated June 26, 1980, concludes that Martin was sane, possessed average intelligence, and that he had previously been incarcerated in prisons and mental institutions. The report also contains a detailed description of Martin's experiences in a psychiatric hospital as an adolescent. On August 8, 1980, the district court found Martin competent to stand trial.

On September 8, 1980, just prior to the beginning of trial, the following discussion occurred in open court:

THE COURT: Are counsel ready to proceed?

MR. TOMCZAK: Yes, your Honor.

MR. McDONALD: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I have the impression that there is some question of a waiver of jury trial in this case.

MR. TOMCZAK: Yes, your Honor.

THE COURT: What is the situation about that?

MR. TOMCZAK: First of all, I would like to correct the record. My client's name is Micky Arrington. I believe an alias appeared on the indictment.

Mr. Arrington at this time has been advised of his right to waive trial by jury. At this point, he is willing to waive that right, and the prosecution is willing to consent to the matter being tried to this Court.

MR. McDONALD: That is correct, your Honor.

THE COURT: Is that a fact, Mr. Arrington?

MR. ARRINGTON: Yes sir.

THE COURT: Do we have a written waiver form? I usually prefer to have a written jury waiver if possible.

MR. McDONALD: Does the Clerk have one?

THE COURT: The Clerk hasn't one, apparently. She will get one from her office. We will await her return.

(Thereupon, a jury waiver form was signed by the parties.)

THE CLERK: If the Court please, the clerk has received the waiver of jury form.

The defendant, his lawyer, and the Assistant United States Attorney then signed a jury waiver form which recited that the parties and the district court consented to the jury trial waiver.

The following facts were developed at the bench trial. Martin and a co-defendant traveled to Minnesota in the spring of 1980. On March 30, 1980, they kidnapped two women and drove to New Jersey. Apparently the women were released in New Jersey. The defendants remained in New Jersey for about a month. During this period Martin met the second co-defendant.

On April 23, 1980, the three defendants armed themselves and stole a car in Jersey City, New Jersey. The defendants released the driver unharmed after holding a gun to his head for twenty minutes. The defendants then drove the stolen auto to Newark where they kidnapped two prostitutes. At gun point, Martin forced the women to climb into the trunk of the stolen car.

In the early morning hours of April 24, 1980, the defendants abducted and robbed Manuel Taylor at a gas station in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Manuel Taylor was released somewhere in Pennsylvania. The two women were then allowed to sit in the passenger compartment. The defendants subsequently drove to a motel in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. After having sexual intercourse with the women, the group drove to Cleveland, Ohio.

In Cleveland, Martin purchased marijuana and cocaine from a Cleveland drug dealer. Moments later, however, Martin ordered the drug dealer into the stolen car and informed him he was going to be robbed. Ultimately, the drug dealer's money, a watch, a ring, and a golden cocaine spoon were stolen. Both women apparently were present during the robbery. The three defendants, the two women and Williams eventually left Cleveland travelling westbound on the Ohio Turnpike.

The defendants released Williams along the turnpike. He hitched a ride to the next turnpike service plaza and informed the gas station attendant that he had been abducted and robbed. The Ohio State Police were phoned. At 5:30 a.m. on April 25, 1980, a state trooper pursued the stolen auto the defendants had commandeered into a turnpike service plaza. Martin and his two co-defendants fled, but were apprehended a short time later at the service plaza.

On September 9, 1980, the district court found Martin guilty. On November 21, 1980, Martin was sentenced to life on the kidnapping charge, 10 years on the weapons charge, and 5 years on the interstate transportation of a motor vehicle charge. Martin appealed.

This Court vacated the kidnapping conviction and remanded the case for resentencing on the ground that Martin had not been advised of his right to appeal from the kidnapping conviction. On November 25, 1981, Martin filed a motion for a new trial

                to be conducted before a jury. 1   This motion was filed after this Court had vacated the original sentence, but before the new sentence was imposed.  The district court imposed the same life sentence that had initially been imposed on the kidnapping charge.  Martin appeals arguing that his jury trial waiver was not knowing and intelligent
                
I. JURY TRIAL

Trial by jury is fundamental to American criminal jurisprudence. See Duncan v. State of Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 149, 88 S.Ct. 1444, 1447, 20 L.Ed.2d 491, reh. denied 392 U.S. 947, 88 S.Ct. 2270, 20 L.Ed.2d 1412 (1968). In fact, the role of the jury as a fact finding body in criminal cases is so indispensible that it is preserved by the Constitution. Article III, Sec. 2 of the Constitution states: "The Trial of all crimes, except in the cases of impeachment, shall be by Jury ...". The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution is even more explicit: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed ...".

The purpose of the jury trial is to prevent governmental oppression and arbitrary law enforcement. 2 See Duncan, 391 U.S. at 155, 156, 88 S.Ct. at 1450, 1451; Singer v. United States, 380 U.S. 24, 31, 85 S.Ct. 783, 788, 13 L.Ed.2d 630 (1965); Williams v. Florida, 399 U.S. 78, 100, 90 S.Ct. 1893, 1905, 26 L.Ed.2d 446 (1970). The jury trial gives the defendant "an inestimable safeguard against the corrupt or overzealous prosecutor and against the compliant, biased, or eccentric judge." Id. The protection a jury affords lies in the interposition of the commonsense judgment of a group of impartial laymen between the defendant and the potentially biased prosecutor and judge. See Williams, 399 U.S. at 100, 90 S.Ct. at 1905; Brown v. Louisiana, 447 U.S. 323, 331, 100 S.Ct. 2214, 2221, 65 L.Ed.2d 159 (1980). This protection creates a great societal interest in having criminal trials conducted before juries. See Patton v. United States, 281 U.S. 276, 312, 50 S.Ct. 253, 263, 74 L.Ed. 854 (1930); Gannett Co. v. DePasquale, 443 U.S. 368, 383, 99 S.Ct. 2898, 2907, 61 L.Ed.2d 608 (1979); Dimick v. Schiedt, 293 U.S. 474, 486, 55 S.Ct. 296, 301, 79 L.Ed. 603 (1935). In fact, the public interest in jury trials is so great that defendants cannot waive their right to trial by jury except under certain conditions. See Patton, 281 U.S. at 298, 312, 50 S.Ct. at 258, 263; Singer, 380 U.S. at 33, 34, 85 S.Ct. at 789, 790.

II. WAIVER OF JURY TRIAL

Criminal defendants may waive their right to trial by jury only if four conditions are met. First, the waiver must be in writing. Second, the government attorney must consent to the waiver. Third, the trial court must approve the waiver. Fourth, the defendant's waiver must be voluntary, knowing and intelligent.

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 23(a) requires that the defendant waive his right to trial by jury in writing. Rule 23 states in pertinent part: "Cases required to be tried by jury shall be so tried unless the defendant waives a jury trial in writing...." This writing requirement is designed to impress the defendant with the gravity of the right relinquished and provide the best evidence of the defendant's voluntary consent. See Pool v. United States, 344 F.2d 943, 945 (9th Cir.), cert. denied 381 U.S. 832, 86 S.Ct. 73, 15 L.Ed.2d 76 (1965); United States v. McCurdy, 450 F.2d 282, 283 (9th Cir.1971).

Jury trial waivers are not effective unless the government attorney consents. The Constitution recognizes an adversary system as the proper method of determining guilt, and the Government, as a litigant, has a legitimate interest in seeing that cases in which it believes a conviction is warranted are tried before the tribunal which the Constitution regards as most likely to produce a fair result.

                Fed.R.Crim.P. 23(a).   See Patton, 281 U.S. at 299, 312, 50 S.Ct. at 258, 263;  Singer, 380 U.S. at 34, 36, 85 S.Ct. at 789, 790;  Adams v. United States ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S. 269 at 275, 63 S.Ct. 236 at 240, 87 L.Ed. 268.  The government attorney is not acting as an advocate when he consents to the jury trial waiver.  "The United States Attorney is the representative ... of a sovereignty whose obligation ... in criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice
...

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