Chavez v. Martinez

LOCATION: 1220 Student Activities Building - Undergraduate Admissions

DOCKET NO.: 01-1444
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 538 US 760 (2003)
ARGUED: Dec 04, 2002
DECIDED: May 27, 2003

Lawrence S. Robbins - Argued the cause for the petitioner
Paul D. Clement - Department of Justice, argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, supporting the petitioner
Richard S. Paz - Argued the cause for the respondent

Facts of the case

Oliverio Martinez was stopped while riding his bicycle home from work by police investigating narcotics violations. When police attempted to handcuff him, a struggle ensued, but it is unclear who started it. During the struggle, Martinez was shot, resulting in permanent paralysis and loss of vision. A year later he sued the officers, saying the search and use of deadly force were unconstitutional. The officers introduced as evidence in their defense a taped confession obtained while Martinez was receiving medical treatment in the hospital, in which he admitted to grabbing the gun of one of the officers during the struggle. Martinez claimed that the tape could not be used as evidence because he had not been read his Miranda rights. The district court ruled with Martinez that the tape was inadmissible. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed.


Are a suspect's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and his Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process right to be free from coercive questioning violated when he was subjected to coercive questioning while in police custody, even if his coerced statements were never used against him in a criminal case?

Media for Chavez v. Martinez

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 04, 2002 in Chavez v. Martinez

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 27, 2003 in Chavez v. Martinez

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in two cases will be announced by Justice Thomas.

Clarence Thomas:

Fisrt case I have to announce is Chavez versus Martinez, No. 01-1444.

This case comes to us on a writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

While respondent Martinez was being treated for gunshot wounds received during an altercation with police, he was interrogated by petitioner Chavez, a patrol supervisor.

At no point was Martinez given Miranda warnings.

Although he was never charged with a crime and his answers were never used against him in any criminal proceeding, Martinez filed a 1983 suit claiming that Chavez violated his Fifth Amendment right not to be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself and as Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process right.

The Ninth circuit affirmed the District court's ruling that Chavez was not entitle to qualified immunity.

In an opinion filed with the Clerk today, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand for further proceeding.

Chavez is entitled to qualified immunity as to Martinez's Fifth Amendment claim.

While the majority of the Court remands as to Martinez's Fourteenth Amendment claim, the Chief Justice, Justice Scalia and I would conclude that Martinez's Fourteenth Amendment rights were not violated.

The opinion is joined by the Chief Jjustice in full, by Justice O'Connor as to parts 1 and 2A and by Justice Scalia as to part 1 and 2.

Justice Souter has filed an opinion, part 2 of which is for the Court and is joined by Justices Stevens, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer, and part 1 of which concurs in the judgment and is joined by Justice Breyer.

Justice Scalia has filed an opinion concurring in part in the judgment; Justice Stevens has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part; Justice Kennedy has filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part which Justice Stevens joins in full and Justice Ginsburg joins as to part 2 and 3.

Justice Ginsburg has filed an opinion concurrring in part and dissenting in part that.

So, you can see I am a consensus builder.