"It is about making a right out of a terrible wrong in our state's history," he said.
He missed time with friends and his two daughters as he worked late defending someone he never met but considers a son.
"I refer to him as Joey," Martinez said.
Prisoner 19845, Joe Arridy was an inmate at the Colorado State Prison in Canyon City in the 1930s. He had been convicted of being an accomplice in the murder of Dorothy Drain.
Police questioned him after they found him wandering. The sheriff at the time said that Arridy mumbled a confession. Martinez doesn't believe it.
"No on else heard it and this was a sheriff who never took notes and had a very big ego," he said.
The idea of the young man recalling specifics like the sheriff claimed was also unlikely because 23-year-old Arridy functioned like a toddler.
"The State classified him as an imbecile," Martinez said.
Martinez explained that Arridy had an IQ of 46. Today, the cut off for being competent is 70.
Despite false confessions, the likelihood that Arridy was not in Pueblo at the time of the murder and an admission of guilt by someone else, Arridy was put on death row.
The man who ran the prison was Warden Roy Best. He was known as a strong-fisted man with a short fuse.
"It speaks volumes when I tell you that over Christmas the year before Joe Arridy was executed, Best took him home, he spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his wife and his nephew," Martinez said.
The warden gave Arridy a toy train.
Most newspaper articles about Arridy showed him holding that train. He was said to have played with it ever waking minute of the day. The warden would buy new batteries for it whenever they ran out.
Arridy told reporters that he wanted to live with the warden for the rest of his life. He did.
Best walked him down the hall to the gas chamber on a Friday in 1939. By all accounts, Arridy had no idea what was going to happen.
"All the way up to the time they put the black hood over him in the gas chamber he was smiling," Martinez said. He shakes his head while talking about it. "He did not deserve to be executed as a murderer."
After three years of research, Martinez compiled 600 pages in a binder.
It would end up on Gov. Bill Ritter's desk and compel him to grant the first posthumous pardon in Colorado history on Friday.
"I salute him for doing it. It is monumental and it brings a lot of hope for the future for the disabled community," Martinez said.
Just behind the prison tower at the state prison in Canyon City there is a place known as Woodpecker Hill. It is a place where license plates are grave markers. Arridy is buried there, now a pardoned man.
A man named Frank Agular is buried there as well. He is the man that confessed to the crime. He maintained until his execution that Arridy had nothing to do with it.
In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that someone with Arridy's developmental disability could not be put on death row.
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