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The People v. Edgar Martinez

September 28, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
EDGAR MARTINEZ, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. 07F09827)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie , J.

P. v. Martinez

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

This case stands for the unremarkable proposition that the police do not have a duty to search for evidence that allegedly supports a defendant's claim of self-defense, where the defendant admits he kept that evidence hidden for 19 months and all other information gleaned by law enforcement officers contradicts the existence of that evidence.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Defendant Edgar Martinez shot Jose Segura to death at a house party in Citrus Heights, following an argument in which Segura accused defendant of being a "snitch." The partygoers who testified at trial and were present at the shooting did not see Segura with a weapon.

Defendant, however, testified at trial Segura had a knife, and he was defending himself when he shot Segura. Defendant picked up the knife after the shooting on his way out of the house. He bundled the knife with his gun in a T-shirt and hid the bundle in a box in his aunt and uncle's attic. He then fled to Mexico.

Nineteen months after the murder, defendant was extradited back to California. At that time, the police detective who had been assigned to the murder investigation interviewed defendant. The interview was the first time the detective heard anything about Segura being armed with a knife. The detective decided not to search the aunt and uncle's house for the knife because, except for defendant's statement, he had no reason to believe Segura was armed with a knife.

The jury also did not believe defendant's claim of self-defense and found him guilty of first degree murder.

Defendant appeals. His sole contention is his trial counsel was ineffective because counsel did not request the court sanction the police detective for not searching the aunt and uncle's home for the knife.

DISCUSSION

Defendant claims the "police acted in bad faith by not searching for and preserving potentially useful evidence in violation of [his] federal constitutional right[] to due process," and trial counsel should have requested sanctions. The seminal case he cites for this argument is Arizona v. Youngblood (1988) 488 U.S. 51 [102 L.Ed.2d 281]. That case "hold[s] that unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve ...


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