Texas Stamp


PD-1215-19 04/01/2020

“In affirming Petitioner’s conviction, the Eighth Court erred when it misapplied the four-factor test in Brown v. Illinois, conceding that the arrest was unlawful under Texas law but not unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment and, therefore, was not flagrant.”

While Mina purchased a second eight-ball of cocaine for himself, Martinez, Andrade, and Rico to use, the latter three decided to rob Mina. Andrade hit Mina in the head with an aluminum bat. Andrade and Rico put Mina in the trunk of a car; they later told Martinez that they buried him. Rico and Robels—a friend of three who knew about the murder and acts done to cover it up—told police about it, including Martinez’s involvement. At the station house, a detective arrested Martinez without a warrant after he invoked his right to counsel upon being Mirandized. Martinez flagged the detective fifteen minutes later and said he wanted to give a statement. The detective Mirandized Martinez, and Martinez waived his rights. Martinez admitted to his involvement in Mina’s murder. Finding that Martinez freely and voluntarily confessed, the trial court denied his pretrial motion to suppress.

On appeal, Martinez alleged his confession should have been suppressed as the fruit of an unlawful arrest. The State agreed that Martinez’s arrest violated Chapter 14 of the Code of Criminal Procedure but argued that, because it did not violate the Fourth Amendment, the nexus between his statutory unlawful arrest and statement was sufficiently attenuated. Evaluating Martinez’s claim, the court weighed the Brown v. Illinois factors: (1) whether Miranda warnings were given; (2) the temporal proximity between arrest and detention; (3) the presence of intervening circumstances; and (4) the purpose and flagrancy of the misconduct. 422 U.S. 590 (1975). The second Miranda warning, the court opined, favored the State. The short duration between the arrest and confession, however, favored Martinez. Next, Martinez’s re-initiation and waiver of his rights constituted an intervening circumstance “borne of his own free will.” Finally, because Martinez’s arrest was constitutional, the statutory violation was “comparatively less serious misconduct[.]” The court then held that the misconduct was not flagrant. It observed: (1) the detective ceased questioning when Martinez invoked his right to counsel; (2) the department began the process of seeking an arrest warrant even though the detective believed the arrest proper; (3) there had been no time to take Martinez to a magistrate before he re-initiated contact; (4) the department had no policy requiring the detective to immediately locate a defense attorney; and (5) there was no coercion, promises, or denial of basic amenities.

Martinez takes issue with the court of appeals’ conclusion that his arrest was supported by probable cause. He contends that the court looked at Martinez’s statement to corroborate the detective’s account of Rico’s statement, which was never admitted into evidence. He complains that Martinez’s statement should not have been used to determine what facts the detective knew at the time of the arrest. There is nothing showing that the detective had reasonably trustworthy information supporting probable cause.

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