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State v. Martinez

Supreme Court of Montana

July 23, 2019

STATE OF MONTANA, Plaintiff and Appellee,
JOSEPH JOHN MARTINEZ, Defendant and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 29, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighth Judicial District, In and For the County of Cascade, Cause No. ADC-14-462 Honorable Gregory G. Pinski, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Robin Meguire, Attorney at Law, Great Falls, Montana.

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Madison L. Mattioli, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana. Joshua Racki, Cascade County Attorney, Kory V. Larson, Deputy County Attorney, Great Falls, Montana


          Beth Baker, Justice

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 A Cascade County jury found Joseph John Martinez guilty of sexual intercourse without consent, in violation of § 45-5-503, MCA. Martinez appeals his conviction, alleging that the Eighth Judicial District Court erred in precluding him from questioning the victim about a Facebook message she exchanged with a third party; that he did not voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive his Miranda rights against self-incrimination; and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm.

         ¶3 On October 23, 2014, 15-year-old C.H. and others were drinking at a party in Tristen Davidson's garage in Great Falls. C.H. remembers drinking spiced rum and vodka straight out of the bottle and chasing it with "strawberry soda." C.H. left the garage and went inside to use the restroom. The last thing that C.H. remembers about that night was coming out of the bathroom, laying down on the floor, and passing out. Davidson observed C.H. vomiting and then laying on the floor. He moved her up onto a mattress in his bedroom and placed a small garbage can next to the bed. When Davidson left C.H. in his room with the door open, she had all her clothes on and was "passed out."

         ¶4 Great Falls Police Officer Jeff Parks arrived at Davidson's home in response to a noise complaint at about one o'clock in the morning. Davidson advised Officer Parks that there were other people in the house and that "somebody was passed out" in a bedroom. When Officer Parks opened the door to the bedroom, Davidson saw C.H. "laying on the bed face down with her pants off, and Martinez trying to . . . hide behind her on the bed." Martinez was laying on the mattress with his pants down. Officer Parks told Martinez to stand up and witnessed Martinez "trying to hide an erection, and trying to get his pants buckled up right away." There appeared to be vomit on C.H., she was "limp," and she appeared to Officer Parks "to be incoherent." Officer Parks called for medical response as quickly as possible because he feared for C.H.'s life. The next thing that C.H. remembered was waking up at Benefis Hospital where she was being treated for alcohol poisoning.

         ¶5 After C.H. was placed in the ambulance, 18-year-old Martinez identified himself to Officer Parks. Officer Parks took Martinez to the police station to speak with him further. Once in the interview room, Officer Parks read Martinez a Miranda warning, and Martinez agreed to answer questions. Martinez provided a breath test, which was positive for alcohol. Martinez ultimately admitted to engaging in sexual relations with C.H., including penetration.

         ¶6 The following morning, Great Falls Police Officer Kevin Supalla transported Martinez to the hospital for a body search to be conducted pursuant to a search warrant. While waiting for the exam to begin, Martinez asked Officer Supalla some questions, told him that he hoped C.H. was at least 17 years old, and admitted to inserting his fingers into C.H.'s vagina. Officer Supalla recorded the majority of his time with Martinez at the hospital on his digital audio recorder. Martinez was not reminded of his Miranda rights while at the hospital.

         ¶7 At trial, Martinez objected to his Miranda waiver form being admitted into evidence because whether he was capable of understanding and waiving his rights had not been established. The District Court overruled the objection, reasoning that Martinez could explore that issue because it "goes to the weight of the evidence." A video of the police station interview was admitted and played for the jury. Officer Parks testified that Martinez understood what he was saying to him and that he believed Martinez voluntarily waived his rights. Martinez also objected to the audio recording from the hospital being played for the jury because it was a surreptitious recording. The District Court overruled Martinez's objection, and the tape was played for the jury. Martinez's counsel renewed his objection after the tape was played. The District Court again overruled his objection.

         ¶8 On appeal, Martinez argues that the District Court erred in admitting the recorded interview from the police station because his intoxicated state at the time of the waiver, taken together with his age, education level, and intellectual capacity, invalidates his Miranda waiver. We review a district court's determination that a defendant voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived his Miranda rights to ensure its factual findings are supported by substantial credible evidence and its conclusions of law are correct. State v. Nixon, 2013 MT 81, ¶ 15, 369 Mont. 359, 298 P.3d 408.

         ¶9 The State "may not use statements that stem from a custodial interrogation of a defendant unless the defendant is warned, prior to questioning, that he has a right to remain silent, that any statement he does make may be used as evidence against him, and that he has a right to the presence of an attorney." State v Olson, 2003 MT 61, ¶ 13, 314 Mont. 402, 66 P.3d 297 (citing Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 1612 (1966)). An individual apprised of his or her rights may waive them so long as the waiver is made "voluntarily, knowingly, and ...

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