Ortiz v. Uribe

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 11-18-2011
  • Case #: 09-55264
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Alarcón for the Court; Circuit Judges O' Scannlain and Silverman
  • Full Text Opinion

During the administration of a polygraph examination, if an examiner uses an appeal to tell the truth for his family and children to appeal to emotionalism, and does not declare that the examiner is a law enforcement officer, this does not demonstrate that the defendant's will was overborne and the confession involuntary.

In 1997, a Robert Chen was killed from three gunshots wounds during a carjacking. David Fernando Ortiz was implicated along with two others for this incident. Ortiz voluntarily went with law enforcement to the police station for questioning. Ortiz was informed of and waived his Miranda rights during a recorded interview. Additionally, Ortiz agreed to and took a polygraph exam. Detective Cardwell administered the polygraph. During this time Cardwell did not state she was a sheriff's deputy, and used tactics to psychologically appeal to Ortiz's conscience. During the polygraph test, Ortiz admitted to shooting the victim twice, and was charged and convicted of murder, car jacking, kidnapping, and second degree robbery. Ortiz appealed alleging the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his confession, but the California Court of Appeal disagreed and affirmed his conviction. Ortiz filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus claiming that admission of his confession violated his due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court denied his petition stating that based on the totality of the circumstances, there was no suggestion that Ortiz's will was overborne. Ortiz appealed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He asserts that his confession was given involuntary, based on Cardwell's maternal role during the interview, the concealment of her identity as a police officer, implicit promises of leniency and morally appealing to his family obligation. The Court found that under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, a writ for habeas corpus should not be granted unless the claim resulted in a decision contrary to clearly established Federal Law, as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court held that the totality of the circumstances did not demonstrate that Ortiz's will was overcome and his confessions were made voluntarily. AFFIRMED.

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