Wednesday, September 12, 2018
California C.A.’s View of Miranda Was Unreasonable
Tashima Says Detective ‘Badgered’ Suspect Into Relinquishing Right to Have Attorney Present
By a MetNews Staff Writer
California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal found a valid waiver by a murder suspect of the right to counsel being present during questioning under circumstances where “no reasonable court” would have reached that conclusion, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday.
Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote the opinion which reverses the denial of a writ of habeas corpus by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The opinion directs that the District Court, on remand, order the release from prison of Daniel J. Martinez, convicted in Stanislaus Superior Court of a 2005 murder, unless California timely brings him to trial again.
Tashima declared that it is “clear” that then-Sheriff’s Detective Frank Navarro “ignored Martinez’s express, unequivocal, and repeated invocations of his right to counsel and badgered him into waiving his rights.”
The opinion Tashima found unreasonable was written by then-Presiding Justices James A. Ardaiz, now back in private practice. Ardaiz’s unpublished 2009 opinion in People v. Martinez, F055977, quotes the transcript of the interview from the start—where Navarro told Martinez his Miranda rights—to the point where the suspect agreed to talk without his lawyer (identified only as “Percy”) present.
Transcript of Interview
Tashima provided two chunks of the transcript (unedited for spelling). The first is:
“MARTINEZ: Alright. I’m willing to talk to you guys uh but just I would like to have an attorney present. That’s it.
“NAVARRO: Yeah, I don’t know if we could get a hold of him right now.
“NAVARRO: All I wanted was your side of the story. That’s it. OK. So, I’m pretty much done with you then. Um, I guess I don’t know another option but to go ahead and book you. OK. Because
“MARTINEZ: What am I being booked under?
“NAVARRO: Your going lo be booked for murder because I only got one side of the story. OK.
“MARTINEZ: But how how’s he going to go about that. If we talk, once you get a hold of my uh attorney.
“NAVARRO: That’s the thing, I don’t know when were going to get a hold of him. Maybe I don’t know when he’s going I don’t know when your going to call him.
“MARTINEZ: I have to get a hold of him.
“MARTINEZ: I have to get a hold of him? NAVARRO: Yeah.
“MARTINEZ: You guys don’t
“NAVARRO: No. No, your going to have to call him and it’s going to have to be from jail.”
Tashima also quoted this portion:
“MARTINEZ: I just you know I’m tired of going back and forth to jail. And if that’s the charge I mean you go, you don’t get the choice to go back and forth you know so.
“NAVARRO: Uh hmm. It’s up to you. Do you want to talk or you want me to sit down?
“MARTINEZ: Yeah. I mean I’m willing to talk to you, you know what I mean but
“NAVARRO: With the truth?
“MARTINEZ: Shit, if that’s what helps me walk away.
“NAVARRO: Your young man. Just be honest.
“MARTINEZ: Honest, the truth I’m just trying to go through this and be able to walk home and
“NAVARRO: So do you want lo talk to me so I could sit down or what do you want to do?
“NAVARRO: Yeah. OK. You don’t you don’t want Percy then right now? Right? You don’t want Percy?
“MARTINEZ: Well. If I I mean
“NAVARRO: You don’t you don’t want an attorney right now? Your willing to talk to me right now? I want to clarify that.
“MARTINEZ: I’m willing.”
Ardaiz found no violation of Martinez’s Miranda rights. He said that once the suspect invoked his right to counsel being present, “interrogation ceased.”
The former presiding justice recounted that Navarro merely made inquiries concerning Martinez’s father, unrelated to the criminal investigation, and “[i]t was Martinez who then turned the subject back to having an attorney present.”
“[W]e see nothing deceptive or coercive in Navarro’s response that he did not know if they could get hold of Martinez’s attorney then and that he had no option but to book Martinez. Martinez continued to inquire of Navarro; his question about what he was being booked for….”
“There was nothing inappropriate or misleading in Navarro’s telling Martinez that Martinez would have to call his lawyer from jail….After Martinez asked what Navarro wanted to talk about, Navarro proceeded to make certain that Martinez was waiving his right to counsel and did not want to have an attorney, or his attorney, present.”
The California Supreme Court denied review of Ardaiz’s decision and subsequent attacks on the conviction through state habeas corpus petitions failed.
Ninth Circuit’s View
“We hold that the only reasonable interpretation of what occurred between Navarro and Martinez is that Navarro continued interrogating Martinez after the suspect had clearly—and repeatedly—invoked his right to counsel, and that Navarro badgered Martinez into waiving that right.”
He said Ardaiz’s perception “that Navarro ceased interrogation and that Martinez’s waiver of the right to counsel was valid is an unreasonable application of Miranda” and its progeny,” adding:
“[W]e further hold that no reasonable court could have concluded that the government overcame its burden to show that Martinez’s subsequent waiver was valid.”
The case is Martinez v. Cate, No. 15-16433.
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