Orozco v. Texas

PETITIONER: Orozco
RESPONDENT: Texas
LOCATION: Circuit Court of Somerset County

DOCKET NO.: 641
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

CITATION: 394 US 324 (1969)
ARGUED: Feb 26, 1969
DECIDED: Mar 25, 1969

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Orozco v. Texas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 26, 1969 in Orozco v. Texas

Earl Warren:

Number 641, Reyes Arias Orozco, petitioner versus Texas.

Charles W. Tessmer:

Mr. Chief Justice, --

Earl Warren:

Mr. Tessmer.

Charles W. Tessmer:

May it please the Honorable Court.

I'm Charles Tessmer of Dallas, Texas.

I represent Reyes Orozco, the petitioner, who stands convicted of murder upon circumstantial evidence by jury in the criminal District Court of Dallas County, Texas, with a penalty assessed that penal servitude of 10 years.

This is a classic case, presenting a violation of the petitioner's rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

In this case, the petitioner was the prime murder suspect, had been so for four hours.

At the time of his interrogation, he was under arrest, whether legal or not is not important.

He was surrounded in his bedroom by four armed officers.

He was either asleep or had just been awakened when the officers entered without his invitation or consent.

In this case, no new trails in the criminal law need be blazed by this Honorable Court.

In this case, no interpretation of prior case law need take place by this Honorable Court.

What we have here is a simple refusal of the Texas court of criminal appeals to follow this simple words and cautions of Miranda, Escobedo, and cases involving that situation.

The facts in this case are quite simple.

The deceased was found dead at around midnight at 12:30 by a uniformed policeman.

A crowd had gathered.

He was slumped over the wheel of a car at a café.

After some investigation, the detectives learned that there was a possible eyewitness named Mary Matas.

The police found Mary Matas, arrested him, took him downtown to point out where a woman had been led out of the car who was present at the scene also.

Then, they have Mary Matas direct them to Lemmon Avenue, some two or three miles from the center of the City of Dallas and there Mary Matas pointed out the house where his friend, the petitioner lived and the car that he was in that night.

Then, the officers proceeded back downtown, put Mary Matas in jail for investigation of murder, and then after this belated attempt of some four hours, he went back to the house with three other officers, an uninvited entry was made, except that there was an invitation by an unidentified woman, and of course no consent there under Amos, Stover versus California where federal standards apply.

What we have here is a simple case of this, the minute that Detective Brown got into their house, he admitted that when he said, what is your name and petitioner said, Reyes Orozco that he was under arrest.

He was the prime suspect.

This was no general inquiry at the scene of an unsolved crime, where threshold statements may be used or even res gestae and that the State of Texas makes no contention that we have here in threshold a statement or admission of guilt, or that we have a res gestae statement or whether Miranda applies there or not.

Here, we have a blatant violation of petitioner's rights.

What happened?

Earl Warren:

What time in the night was this?

Charles W. Tessmer:

4:30 a.m. in the morning, Mr. Chief Justice.

Here's what happened to petitioner.