Martinez v. ColoradoAnnotate this Case
Petitioner Joe Anthony Martinez was convicted by jury for first-degree murder after deliberation under a complicity theory. When the court instructed the jury on "after deliberation," it used language that the Supreme Court had previously held as constitutionally deficient. At trial, defense counsel objected to the language on grounds that it was cumulative and unnecessary, but erroneously acknowledged that it correctly stated the law. The trial court overruled the objection and the jury found defendant guilty as charged. On appeal, petitioner raised for the first time the argument that the Supreme Court previously disapproved the definition of "after deliberation" used in the jury instructions, and that the erroneous instruction was so prejudicial as to require reversal as plain error. He also renewed claims that the evidence presented against him was insufficient to sustain his conviction. The court of appeals reviewed the instruction for plain error and ultimately upheld petitioner's conviction. Finding no reversible error in the court of appeal's judgment, the Supreme Court also affirmed.