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Old 05-09-2002, 08:57 AM
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Default Johnny Martinez - TX - 22 May 2002 - Executed

JOHNNY MARTINEZ

<http://www.deathrow.at/polunsky/inma...nez_johnny.gif>
Execution date: 5/22/2002

PLEASE READ... The contents of this web page carefully because although it mainly concerns me, it also reflects the story of others who are in the same situation as I am or worse.

As you read on you will learn the difference between my pleading for help and the many others pleading for help.

I'm a Texas Death Row innate who is pleading for help from you and others in the free world. I'm at the end of my appeals and my lawyer has advised me to prepare for the worst because the State of Texas is getting an execution date for the middle of next year ready for me. I knew the time would come, but like everyone here we hope it never does and I wasn't expecting it this soon. So not only am I preparing mentally for it, I'm also at work now to die with dignity and pride. I'm trying to reach out to you and others who have the compassion and care which is enough to help me raise needed funds to pay for my burial. I need people like you that are willing to buy my artwork because my family can not afford the 5 thousand or so to bury me. I can get buried here on the prison grounds, but I don't want to because they lay you to rest in a small box naked with a small white cross with your number on it. Prisoners do all this burying thing. I want to to go back home and get buried with the family I love, know and love me.

I hope you can understand my predicament and what I 'm trying to do. I know I will not be able to raise the 5 thousand or so I'll need by drawing so I will rely on donations as well. Since I don't have a savings account to where the financial help, could be sent I'm relying on my mother's address. I need your help in this, I really do. I hope you can understand why I need your help. Please buy a drawing from me or donate something to help pay for my burial.

If you can help in any way, please sent it to my mother's address and call her as well and let her know that she is not alone in this. We all are in this together. I'm going to do my part and draw till I can not no more. I will be drawing nice Indian black / white portraits on 15 by 20 illustration boards. If you donate 100.00 dollars or more I will send a portrait to you. For people that can not afford that and still give for my burial fund and wish to receive a picture, feel free to write me and let me know I will do my best to get you one as well.

Mothers address:

Mary Lou Chavera
c/o Johnny Martinez's Burial Fund
1220 N. 17th., Apt. 58
Kingsville, Texas
78363 U.S.A.


Please read on to learn more of the background of my case . . .

1. Background

a. State Proceedings

In January of 1994, I was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for the killing of Mr.Peterson, a 7-11 clerk, during the early morning of July 15, 1993. The evidence showed that after a night of heavy drinking at several nightclubs, robbed a Corpus Christi, Texas 7-11 and threatened the clerk with a small pocketknife, and stabbed him quickly before leaving, inflicting a fatal wounds. Immediately after leaving the store, ran to a nearby beach and collapsed, sobbing for approximately ten minutes. Then walked to a hotel lobby, called the police and turned myself in. The police arrived and took me into custody.

I expressed concern for the victim's condition, and tried to help the police locate the murder weapon, which I had thrown away while running from the store. Once I reached the station house, I asked to speak to a police officer immediately. The officer who took my statement described me as "upset and very remorseful." I was convicted of capital murder based on my statement and a surveillance videotape partially depicting the crime.

At the punishment phase of the trial, the state presented no evidence. I had no prior contact with the criminal justice system whatsoever, and District Attorney's investigators could find no evidence that I had ever committed any other violent acts. The state relied soley on the nature of the crime to support a finding of future dangerousness, which is required in order to authorize a death sentence under Texas law. The defense called some of my family members and friends , who testified to my non-violent character and mentioned that I had never known my natural father and that I grew up in a government housing project. The remarks were superficial, taking up only 37 pages of the trial record. The state presented no rebuttal case. Once the trial was over I proceeded on an appeal of my death sentence. The first step of the appeal is at the Courts of Criminal Appeals (C.C.A.). Once there my death sentence was upheld by a fragmented 5-4 vote of the C.C.A. in 1996. On this vote three judges of the CCA dissented at length in two seperate opinions, arguing that the evidence was constitutionally insufficient to support the jury's finding of future dangerousness.

My second step of my appeal a Corpus Christi lawyer ("state habeas counsel") was then appointed on March 13, 1997, to file a state postconviction application on my behalf pursuant to TEX. CODE. CRIM. PROC.ANN.ART.11.071, which requires the CCA "under rules and standards adopted by the court, to appoint competent counsel" to indigent death row inmates for state postconviction appeals. The statute requires counsel to "investigate extraditiously. . .the factual and legal grounds for the filing of an application for a writ of habeas corpas." On April 9, 1997, state habeas counsel wrote me advising me that he had heen appointed and was locating the transcript of my case. On June 9, 1997, state habeas counsel wrote me and told me that he had started to "wade through" the record and had identified a few potential issues. Counsel closed the letter by promising to "get up there (to visit) sometime soon." However state habeas counsel never visited me and rejected all of my telephone calls. In fact, after this last letter, state habeas counsel did not communicate with me in any form for almost eight months.

To prepare my writ, the state habeas lawyer read the record. He hired no experts or investigators, never spoke to my family menbers or friends, and performed no investigation himself, except possibly for a brief telephone call to trial counsel. On September 8, 1997, state habeas counsel filed my application. It briefed four claims. The first two claims generally repeat arguments raised and decided during direct appeal; the remaining two claims assert juy selection errors. The application does not bolster the two already-decided claims with new facts or legal briefing, and does not explain why the record-based jury-selection claims could not have been raised on direct appeal. My entire Application is six pages long and he did not send me a copy of this pleading when it was filed.

The State filed an Answer to the Amended Application on October 18, 1997. On November 11, 1997, state habeas counsel filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. This document was two pages long. Once again, state habeas counsel did not send me a copy of this pleading when it was filed. On November 24, 1997, the state filed its Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. I having had no communication from my lawyer for months, wrote him on February 9, 1998:

excerpts from my letters I wrote him on different occasions . . .

I would like to know the status of my appeal. when I referred back to the last letter I received from you which is dated June 9, 1997, ) You mentioned that you would advise me of any further developments in my appeal. so I am wondering if there has been any new developments on my appeal or has anything helpful surfaced.


Please get back with me as soon as possible and let me know what is going on with my Habeas Corpus appeal, please keep me informed of any and all things dealing with my appeal proceedings,O.K.


Mr. Rhodes, please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to sound pushy or anything like that, it's just that I'm in the dark here and my life is on your hand, I am putting all my faith and hope in you , so please keep me informed and lets stay in touch O.K.


State habeas counsel ignored this letter. On February 19, 1998, the state habeas court signed the State's findings of fact and conclusions of law verbatim, extinguishing my right to develop facts to support my clams in state court.
I remained unaware of this development, because state habeas cousel did not communicate the fact of the trial court's ruling.

On February 23, 1998, I again wrote state habeas counsel:

I wrote you a letter on the 9th of this month and I still have not heard from you.


I want you to get in touch with my family so they can help you look into some very important things that-- will benefit and help me in my case. Have you hired the investigator I told you to Mr. Rhode so he can talk to numerous helpful witnesses. Theirs one particular witness I want you to talk to and his name is Santos Leal... I Irnow if you file a motion for investigator funds to the C.C.A. they will grant it and supply $2,500 for us to hire one. These things I'm telling you are very important issues I want you to raise. Their are numerous witnesses that I beleive will help me on my State Habeas Corpus Write we just need to get a hold of them.

In respond to this letter, state habeas counsel sent me the first communication I had received from him in almost eight months. It consisted of a two sentence letter accompanied by copies of the habeas application that had been filed months before and the trial judges findings of fact and conclusions of law. By this time, my case hd been transferred to the CCA for appellate review.

On April 29, 1998 the Court of Criminal Appeals denied all relief in a Cursory two page Order. Judge Charles Baird dissented :

Applicant is represented by counsel appointed by this Court. The instant application is five and one half pages long and raises four challenges to the conviction. The trial record is never quoted. Only three cases are cited in the entire application, and no cases are cited for the remaining two claims for relief. Those claims comprise only of 17 lines with three inches of margin.

It is a proven fact that it takes at least a little over 500 hours to investigate a capital case and that is still not thoroughly, I wasn't aware of none of this.

After reading Judge Baird's dissenting opinion calling his performance into question and calling for a hearing into his competence, state Habeas counsel, without consulting me, filed on May 5, 1998, a Motion for Reconsideration asking to withdraw from the case. State habeas counsel admitted: "Petitioner Johnny Martinez's attorney...has handled many direct appeals but has never handled a post-conviction writ of a death penalty case and therefore must humbly agree with the dissenting opinion in this case (without joining in its reasoning) that merits of this application should not be reached." State habeas counsel sent me a copy of the Motion for Reconsideration. As soon as I received these documents and realized what state habeas counsel had done on my behalf, I wrote the CCA and asked them to allow me another opportunity to seek habeas relief :

The (state habeas application filed on my behalf) didn't raise any issues from the record or elsewhere that I sent him and told him I wanted raised and preserved.


In the Motion to Reconsider that Mr Rhodes filed to the Criminal Courts of Appeal on May 5, 1998, he practically admits that he didn't know what he was doing in handling a State Habeas Corpus Writ. He is also requesting to be allowed to withdraw from my case without even consulting me at all...Therefore I pray that you will appoint me a competent attorney. An Attorney that knows how a State Habeas Corpus Writ proceedings process works and a few months to give him to file my State Habeas Corpus Writ.

Shortly after, I wrote state habeas counsel, asking him to withdraw and file an affidavit attesting to his ineffictiveness because that was the "the only way I can think of to get another chance at my State Habeas Corpus Writ proceedings." State Habeas Counsel refused to comply, and counsels request to the CCA to withdraw from the case (which was seconded by me) was denied, because he filed the wrong papers and when he did it right time had already expired.

b. Federal Habeas Proceedings (3rd Step of my appeal)

During federal habeas proceedings, my lawyers Ms. Simonson and Mr. Andrew Hammel investigated my background. All of my family members and friends confirmed that trial counsel prepared for the punishment phase of the trial by gathering them together and asking them two or three general questions about me. Trial counsel, in an affidavit submitted to the district court (but not admitted into the record,) later confirmed that this was the extent of his investigation. He stated that he failed to thoroughly investigate my background because he believed he would prevail on the future- dangerousness special issue, and felt that any mitigating information would endanger this goal. When our retained investigator explained the importance of mitigating evidence to them and questioned them seperately in detail , they volunteered considerably more mitigation evidence - all of which they would have been willing to testify about had they known it was relevent. Based on this investigation, my lawyers asserted that trial counsel's inadequete preperation for the punishment phase of his trial constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. My lawyers asserted that the error was especially likely to have harmed me in light of the weakness of the state's punishment phase case.

This claim was unexhausted because it had not been presented to the state courts. The federal district, in accordance with recent Fifth Circuit interpretations of [Coleman V. Thompson, 501 US. 722 (1991), refused to review the claim. The Court held that the claim was procedurally defaulted, and that no "cause" could be shown to excuse the default because ineffective assistance of postconviction counsel cannot constitute "cause." The district court noted that it was "not unmoved" by the "harsh" consequences of the rule (given state habeas counsel's inadequacy), but opined that it was "bound" to apply existing precedent. The District Court granted a certificate of appealability as to all issues. Which is very unusual in a capital case.

My appeal as it stands now revolves primarily around the validity of the District Court's default of the claims. My. federal appeal has been litigated from the beginning with the overriding goal of preparing a thorough record of state postconviction counsel's performance. My case is an ideal posture for several reasons:

1. The record surrounding State habeas counsels performance is essentially undisputed. None of my specific factual assertions concerning state habeas counsels performance was contested by the Attorney General.

2. The IAC claim overlooked by state habeas counsel could not have been advanced during direct appeal proceedings, both because it would have required extra - record factual development and because my solo trial counsel also represented me alone on direct appeal (1st step of appeal.)

3. The IAC claim was not presented to the state court and not ruled on by the federal court. Therefore there is no "alternative" merits ruling" which later courts can cite to soften the blow of the procedural default.

4. As the letters excerpted above show, I constantly prodded my lawyer to perform extra-record investigation, and even prodded the lawyer to contact my family members and friends, who later proved to be valuable sources of information.

5. The District Court's grant of a certificate of appealability as to all issues, which is rare in Texas capital cases, significantly increases the likelihood of oral argument and an opinion more reasoned and an opinion more reasoned and thorouhg than would otherwise be the case.

Finally, my counsel consulted with experienced habeas litigators and presented the district court with every possible argument for the expansio of the right to counsel in state postconviction. These arguments were summarized and dismissed in the District Courts order as mere attempts to repackage my Sixth Amendment arguments. THEY HAVE YET TO BE MEANINGFULLY ADDRESSED BY ANY COURT. Among the arguments presented were :

1. The COLEMAN exception should be addressed and expanded by the Court.

2. I was denied "meaningful access to the courts" under the reasoning of Justice Kennedy's opinion in [Murray V. Giarratano1 492 r~.s. 1 (1989)].

3. The State of Texas, by promising me "effective" counsel and then breaking that promise, frustrated my reasonable reliance interests and thus violated Due Process. This constitutional violation can serve as "cause" to excuse my procedural default.

4. Due process has also been violated because I'm being punished by forfeiture of meaning access to a vital stage of appellate review without any showing of wrongdoing on my part.

5. Permitting certain inmates to be SELECTIVELY denied access to competent counsel and thereby to state and federal habeas review violates Equal Protection and fosters the kind of arbitrariness which the Eighth Amendment forbids in capital proceedings.

6. By promising me competent counsel and then breaking that promise, the State created an "objective factor ' external to the defense," which prevented me from complying with its procedural rules, thereby supplying "cause" to excuse the default.

7. The state's broken promise of competent counsel created a set of circumstances which rendered state habeas proceedings ineffective to protect my rights, thereby excusing exhaustion ( and nullifying procedural default.)

8. Because I took all reasonable steps necessary to try and prod my lawyer into investigating my case and presenting my claims to the state courts, I cannot be held to have "failed to develop" the factual basis for my claims in state court.

9. State habeas counsel's conduct demonstrated the " gross negligence" necessary to permit me to disavow the agency component of the attorney client relationship and thereby reject the limits impose on my representation by state habeas counsel.

10. Application of COLEMAN in these circumstances would pervert principles of state-federal comity by permitting states to deprive condemned inmates of federal review of their claims by appointing incompetent counsel to represent them at the state level. The most important step of them all.

11. The drastically increased importance of meaningful state habeas review in light of the AEDPA and other reforms counsels a re assesmant of procedural default jurisprudence.

The purpose of making so many arguments is to provide the Fifth Circuit (4th step of appeal) with an avenue to grant merits review to me without necessarily requiring the court to confronting the issue of weather the Sixth Amendment guarantees competent state postconviction counsel (a proposition they have emphatically rejected in all previous cases). My counsel is not aware of another case in which the issue has received the amount of briefing and development as it has in this case.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of Texas capital appeals in which the petitioners have received assistance comparable to (or even more superficial than) mine. These cases are being processed through state court quickly, and will be reaching Fifth Circuit district courts very soon. Thus, any positive development in my case in the Fifth Circuits jurisprudence would have immediate far reaching consequences and may help prevent the approaching flood of Texas cases in which condemned inmates will be executed without having recieved any meaningful postconviction review.

You the people can do something to help me by alerting the governor of Texas and letting him know that I have let to be meaningully address by any court and that I shouldn't be denied that. It is not my fault for being appointed an incompetent counsel that his courts gave me in state court to do my state habeas writ.

PLEASE HELP IN ANY WAY YOU CAN. My last thread is HOPE, I'm depending on you and others in the free world to help me get laid to rest with dignity and pride.

THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU

Johnny J. Martinez
# 999089
Polunsky Unit
12002 FM 350 South
Livingston, Texas
77351 USA

<http://www.deathrow.at/polunsky/inma...rtinez_art.jpg>
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Old 05-15-2002, 11:46 AM
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Default This is awesome

I just read this news article and wanted to pass it on.

Mom asks parole board to spare son's murderer

http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews...vict.e461.html
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Old 05-20-2002, 06:28 PM
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this makes me mad how can they kill him when he did not even get a compitent appeals process. This man turned himself in and was remoseful and they still want to do this.. then you get someone who can kill there own kids and only get life.. how does this system balance??
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Old 05-21-2002, 02:15 AM
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when does this insanity stops!?!?!!!
i feel so powerless, frustrated, angry, sad
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Old 05-22-2002, 01:32 AM
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Default Martinez

Found this on a prodeath penalty board. I sure hope that it is true. Victim's Mom saves murderer
By Darrell Giles in Los Angeles
22may02
THE mother of a murder victim has succeeded in winning a last-minute reprieve for the killer.

Johnny Martinez, 29, was given the death sentence for stabbing convenience store clerk Clay Peterson eight times during a 1993 robbery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Martinez was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection tomorrow.
But the mother of Peterson, who turned 20 the day before the attack, pleaded to prison officials to spare the life of the killer.

She wrote a letter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles saying Martinez had repented his sins and should not be allowed to die.

Ms Norris said she did not oppose the death penalty, but said she had been called upon by God to save the life of Martinez.

The board accepted her request in what proved to be a dramatic about-turn in the case.
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Old 05-22-2002, 02:05 AM
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this is terrible. this man turned himself in? they act like they had to work really hard to catch him and now want to take revenge....oh man...the anger:argh
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Old 05-22-2002, 11:40 AM
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Hey guys, Someone may have put up a false post on the prodeath penalty board. I just received an email from Abe Boniwitz with FCADP and CUADP and he said they ruled against Johnny 9 to 8 or something like that so pray that the post was real For Johnny's sake.
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Old 05-22-2002, 12:57 PM
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LOOK AT ARTICLE IN GENERAL CAPITAL PUNISHMENT TALK-MOM ASKS PAROLE BOARD.....

THIS IS ABOUT JOHNNY MARTINEZ
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Old 05-22-2002, 01:53 PM
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I just got an email from Abe Bonowitz in Florida with the CUADP and he said this was published in an Australian newspaper and is was FALSE. The killing is still on for tonight. Pray guys.
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Old 05-22-2002, 05:21 PM
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I'm keeping him in my prayers!!!
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Old 05-22-2002, 11:16 PM
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Martinez executed for 1993 killing

By Mark Passwaters/Staff Writer

Johnny Joe Martinez, sentenced to death for the 1993 killing of a Corpus Christi convenience store clerk, was executed Wednesday evening in the death chamber of the Huntsville "Walls" Unit.

During his lengthy, rambling final statement, Martinez told his family and friends he loved them.

"Tell mama I love her too," he said. "I didn't call her because I just couldn't."

Martinez also apologized to the father of Clay Peterson, the 7-Eleven clerk he murdered the night of July 15, 1993.

"I am sorry," he said simply, then proceeded to criticize his original lawyers for permitting his execution.

"My trial lawyers -- they are the ones that are killing me," he said. "I know I'm fixing to die, but not for my mistakes. I'm dying for the mistakes of my lawyers."

Speaking to his current lawyer, Martinez said, "David Dow, let them know what happened.

"I am fine; I am happy," Martinez said to his family just before the lethal combination of chemicals was started at 6:18 p.m. "I will see you on the other side."

Martinez was pronounced dead at 6:30 p.m.

On the night of July 15, 1993, the then 20-year-old Martinez visited a 7-Eleven store in Corpus Christi twice in the early morning hours of July 15, 1993.

During his first visit around 3 a.m., Martinez used the store's restroom and shoplifted several items. After returning to his friend's car, he noted how easily it would be to rob the store.

Twenty minutes later, Martinez returned. Once in the store, he pulled out a pocketknife, put it to Peterson's throat and demanded money.

Peterson complied with Martinez's demands and gave him the money in the store's cash register. Martinez then proceeded to stab Peterson at least 10 times, including twice in the neck. Peterson also sustained several scratches to his neck and wounds to his hands.

Peterson, though having been stabbed twice in the jugular vein, was able to call 911 and report the attack to police before losing consciousness. Martinez's friend, having seen what was happening inside the store, fled the scene in his car. Left on foot with police approaching the scene, Martinez fled to a nearby motel. He then called the police and admitted to the crime, though he said he had killed Peterson because he had resisted his demands.

The entire sequence of events was caught on the store's security camera and disproved Martinez's claim. Arraigned on capital murder charges the same day, Martinez pleaded not guilty in the 347th State Judicial District Court. The trial began January 24, 1994, and concluded with Martinez being found guilty of the charge just two days later. The next day, the jury assessed a punishment of death for the crime.
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Old 05-23-2002, 12:09 AM
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THANK YOU MARA FOR POSTING THIS. GOD REST HIS SOUL AND GIVE STRENGTH TO HIS DEAR MOTHER.
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  #13  
Old 05-23-2002, 12:54 AM
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This makes me sad and angry at the same time. With all the fighting to give him a fair trial and yet it seemed like Texas just doesn't care. It's like they are almost trying to prove a point. There is a battle going on between the government and the people and these poor guys sitting on Death Row are paying for it with their lives.

I just don't understand?
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Old 05-23-2002, 01:11 AM
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I AGREE COMPLETELY JOY.
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  #15  
Old 05-23-2002, 01:52 AM
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I've been reading some posts on a pro-penalty message board, probably the one where Pam and Mara saw this info too...

guess they see the guys on death row as the dices they want to use to win the game with?
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Old 05-24-2002, 08:42 PM
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honestly i do not think they do care or they know they will never win again so they avoid the re-trial.
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