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Francisco E. Martínez Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-640-BC

Scope and Content

The Francisco E. "Kiko" Martínez Papers documents the state and federal court cases and defense committee activity relating to his indictment for allegedly mailing three letter bombs in Denver, Colorado in 1973. The papers also concern Martínez' activism in the Chicano Movement and his work for civil rights and prisoners rights in the U.S. and Latin America, as well as land issues in the San Luis Valley. The collection contains newspaper clippings, personal and business correspondence, memorabilia, photographs, posters, maps, periodicals, and video and cassette recordings relating to his legal defense, his career as an attorney, and his political activism. Published material in the collection includes newspapers, books, magazines, and journals. The collection is divided into twelve series.

State and Federal Court Cases: Contains records pertaining to Federal and State criminal charges brought against Martínez in the early 1970s and 1980s. Includes motions, hearings, investigations, and trial transcripts for cases related to the original federal bombing charges and the resulting Hogue mistrial, Two Wheeler acquittal, and Crider Dismissal. Also contains records of bombing charges brought by the State of Colorado and charges by the federal Immigration and Naturalization Service. Many of these records were obtained by Martínez and his defense committee through the Freedom of Information Act.

Francisco E. Martínez Defense Committee: The Francisco E. Martínez Defense Committee (FEMDC) was a community-based group in Alamosa, Colorado. Includes office correspondence, letters of support for Martínez, press releases, flyers and news clippings documenting the activities and fund-raising of the Committee. Additional materials pertain to social and fund-raising events a community-based group in Alamosa, Colorado.

Legal Office and Business Records: These records relate to Martínez' career as an attorney in Colorado. Includes materials relating to the Ricardo Falcón murder trial, Martínez' membership in the National Lawyers Guild, and other cases handled by the office.

Chicano Movement: Materials reflect Martínez' activism and role in the Chicano movement, including the Crusade for Justice. Some materials document reaction to the bombings that killed six Chicano activists in Boulder known as "Los Seis de Boulder."

San Luis Valley, Colorado: Documents land and water issues effecting Chicanos in Southern Colorado, including protests against the Taylor Ranch and the poaching sting against big game hunters known as Operation San Luis Valley.

Prison Reform/Political Prisoners:This small series contains information about a few specific cases relating to prisoner's rights.

Political/Social Movements: Includes materials relating to Latin America, Puerto Rican independence, and Native Americans. Also contains hearing of the U. S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975.

Oversize Boxes: These large format materials include posters and maps. They are arranged topically according to the series listed above.

Publications: Includes Spanish and English language publications mostly from Colorado, Texas, California, and New Mexico. Newspapers are arranged topically according to the other series in the collection.

Audio-Visual Materials: These audio and video recordings contain interviews with Kiko Martínez, speeches by Martínez, as well as programs documenting his struggle. (Digitized June 2019)

Map Case Oversize Additional large format materials consisting mostly of maps and posters.

Miscellaneous Photographs: This series contains photographs of protests, trips, events, and people.

Dates

  • 1966-1995

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Pwemission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Francisco Eugenio "Kiko" Martínez was born November 26, 1946 in Alamosa, Colorado. He graduated from Alamosa High School in 1964, and attended Adams State College in Alamosa where he studied anthropology, sociology, and business administration, and graduated in 1968. Early in his career, Kiko served as an intern at Salud y Justicia (Health and Justice), an agency that provided legal, health, and social work assistance for agricultural workers. In 1971 he enrolled at the University of Minnesota School of Law where he emerged as a strong advocate for prison inmates and Native American legal rights. After finishing law school, Kiko returned to Colorado where he took the state's bar examination. While taking the exam, Martínez refused to answer one question that he viewed as offensive and demeaning toward Native Americans in order to protest the inclusion of the question. He passed the exam despite not answering the question.

During his early years as an attorney, Kiko often represented and counseled Chicano inmates at the Colorado State Penitentiary at Cañon City, and members of the United Mexican American Students Chicano organization at the University of Colorado. Martínez also took an interest and supported the activities of the Crusade for Justice, a Chicano social justice organization founded by Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez in Denver, Colorado. Kiko provided legal counsel to various members of the organization, and defended numerous individuals charged with crimes in Colorado and New Mexico. While active in La Raza Legal Association and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1972, Martínez served as legal adviser to the family of Ricardo Falcón. A Chicano community organizer, Falcón was murdered while traveling in Southern New Mexico. Martínez also served as counsel for individuals at the Tonantzin School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which underwent police surveillance, infiltration, and criminal prosecution of its leadership.

Due to his Chicano and leftist political views often expressed through his legal and community work throughout the early 1970s, Martínez became a target of law enforcement and F.B.I. surveillance. In 1973 Martínez was indicted in Colorado accused of mailing three package bombs in Denver to Carol Hogue, an African-American policewoman, Robert Crider, a local school board member, and the Two Wheeler Motorcycle Shop, located near La Raza/Columbus Park. The park had been the site of several community-police confrontations regarding its use and name. None of the bombs that Martínez allegedly mailed exploded since law enforcement officials arrived just before they went off. A "shoot to kill" warrant was issued by police concurrent with intense media scrutiny in Colorado. His law license was subsequently suspended. The Denver Post and the federal government offered a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to Martínez's arrest. Fearing for his life, Kiko left the country and went into hiding in Mexico for seven years. He attempted to return to the U.S. in 1980 and was taken into custody at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Nogales, Arizona, while using the alias of José Reynoso Díaz.

During the 1980s, Martínez stood trial for numerous state and federal charges brought against him pertaining to the 1973 alleged bombing incidents in Colorado and the 1980 attempted Arizona border crossing. Many of the charges were dropped for insufficient evidence and the fact that police "lost" critical evidence. In other cases, trial juries acquitted him of charges. Martínez' defense fought hard for and received separate trials for each of the mail bomb charges. The first trial, Hogue, ended in a mistrial in 1981 when it was discovered that the federal trial judge, Fred Winner, secretly met with prosecutors, police officials, and government witnesses. The secret meeting included formulation of a plan to force a mistrial but only after the defense had revealed its trial strategy thereby giving the prosecution an advantage in a subsequent retrial. Winner had also conspired with the F.B.I. to conceal video cameras in the courtroom. The second trial, Two Wheeler in 1982, resulted in an acquittal, and the third trial, Crider in 1982-83, resulted in a dismissal after it was disclosed that the police had destroyed physical evidence. In 1985-86, Martínez was brought to trial by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for his 1980 border crossing incident and was convicted of providing false information to a federal official. That conviction was later overturned on appeal.

The Francisco E. Martínez Defense Committee (FEMDC), a community-based group in Alamosa, Colorado, was formed to assist the legal struggle. This group publicly advocated Martínez's innocence of charges brought against him, and asserted that the government's intelligence agencies had conspired to frame and imprison him. He was eventually exonerated of all criminal charges. Although the government campaign against Martínez ultimately failed, the process did achieve one of the intended purposes of the Counter Intelligence Program: to disrupt, destroy and neutralize dissent.

After he was exonerated, Martínez was reinstated to the bar. He continues to live and practice law in Alamosa, Colorado, where he remains involved in community and social activism.

Extent

46 boxes (42.5 cu. ft. ) + 1 oversize folder

Abstract

The Francisco E. Martínez Papers chronicle the 1980s legal proceedings and defense committee activity of Chicano activist attorney "Kiko" Martínez, accused of mailing letter bombs in Denver, Colorado in 1973. The papers also concern Martínez' activist and legal work from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s in areas as diverse as the Chicano Movement in Colorado; prisoner's rights and civil rights in the U.S., Latin America, and around the world; land issues in Colorado's San Luis Valley; and the deaths of Chicano activists Ricardo Falcón and "Los Seis de Boulder."

Related Material

Online lecture by Arturo Nieto, the Dennis Chavez Fellow, discussing his work processing the Francisco "Kiko" Martinez collection, as part of the Grass Roots Activism Collections project. Francisco Martinez talks about why he donated his papers to the Center for Southwest Research, his experiences as a civil rights lawyer, and his advice to young law scholars.

Online lecture by Adriana Nieto giving her Fellow presentation on the Francisco "Kiko" Martinez Papers.

Frank I. Sanchez Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Joel Nossoff Chicano Movement Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Original video, audiocassette and motion picture film are stored in B3.
Title
Finding Aid of the Francisco E. Martínez Papers, 1966-1995
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Processed by CSWR Staff
Date
©2004
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 640 BC::Francisco E. Martínez Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss640bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451