Gallegos v. Colorado

LOCATION: Herricks School District

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)

CITATION: 370 US 49 (1962)
ARGUED: Apr 09, 1962
DECIDED: Jun 04, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for Gallegos v. Colorado

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 09, 1962 in Gallegos v. Colorado

Earl Warren:

Number 475, Robert Elmer Gallegos, Petitioner, versus Colorado.

Mr. Vigil.

Charles S. Vigil:

Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices, may it please the Court.

This is a case in which Robert Elmer Gallegos, the petitioner and by writ of certiorari comes from the Supreme Court of the State of Colorado.

He was tried in the District Court in the City and County of Denver for a murder during -- train during a robbery.

He was jointly charged with Eddie Martinez.

Robert Elmer Gallegos was 14 years of age and Eddie Martinez was 12 years of age.

The case against Eddie Martinez during the course of the trial was dismissed because of the fact that the Court ruled that he did not understand the nature of the note.

The Court further heard the question involving the admissibility of a statement taken at the end of a seven-day period in security and in the Juvenile Hall in the City and County of Denver and determined --

Earl Warren:

I wonder -- I wonder if you could just start in from the beginning and give us the facts of the case so we can get oriented on it --

Charles S. Vigil:

Very well.

Earl Warren:

-- Mr. Vigil.

Charles S. Vigil:

This case started by an investigation by the Denver Police Department as shown in Exhibit G which is part of the record, I think.

And they had apparently picked up at least one other individual prior to the time that surely by accident in accordance with the testimony of the Police Officer Chism who picked up these boys in the lower section of Denver as they were shining shoes.

Police Officer Chism picked them up and the record will show that after picking them up, he immediately took them to Juvenile Hall and the next day, he determined that there were three boys present at the time.

It was Bobby Gallegos, his brother, Charles who was 11 and his brother, Richard who was eight.

And in accordance with what was done at that time, the police officer interrogated them and the testimony shows that after the interrogation that took place some time during this period probably on the 3rd of January of 1959, that a charge was brought in the Juvenile Court in the City and County of Denver and at that time, the charge that was brought was for the robbery because the victim, Smith, of course, was still living.

Earl Warren:

Is that in a juvenile court?

Charles S. Vigil:

Yes, in the juvenile court.

In that case, the juvenile judge heard the proceedings and determined that the boys were guilty.

As a matter of fact, the testimony in the District Court carried this forward by stating that they had admitted their guilt.

But in any event, the Court sentenced them to the State Industrial School and when Mr. Smith died, the District Attorney filed a charge in the District Court on the same state of facts except for the one fact that Mr. Smith had died.

Now, the death certificate showed that Mr. Smith had died from pneumonia, some 30 days after the alleged assault that had occurred on December the 20th of 1958.

The trial occurred on June the 9th of 1959 or started on that day and during the trial, the evidence indicated that the facts were substantially as I've stated them.

The -- the Attorney General appears to state and I think the Supreme Court os the State of Colorado also fears to state this although no dates were used in the opinion, that immediately upon arrest, that Bobby Gallegos made a statement, however, the record will dispute this.

The record at page 197 shows that Officer Chism was questioned starting on page 196 at the bottom.

Question, The Court has ruled, you may testify Officer as to the conversation you had with Robert Gallegos on the occasion that is on the evening of January the 1st at 19th in Curtis Street.

Answer, He admitted to me the conversation began in regards the assault on Robert F. Smith which I had and I'll then report on and I was investigating.

In talking to Robert, he admitted he had a part in it.

Question, Did he say what part he had in that?