RSS Utah Criminal Law

  • Supreme Misconduct June 14, 2012
    Half of law school is spent listening to professors and administrators tell you how your legal reputation starts the minute you walk through the proverbial law school doors. Students are continuously reminded to be courteous and respectful, and that the legal profession should be just that--professional. The minute you start practicing law, however, you realize […]
  • Reading the Tea Leaves April 12, 2012
    One of the most frustrating parts of appellate advocacy occurs not just when the appellate court reject's one's arguments on appeal, but rather when the appellate court appears to go out of its way to suggest that the problem with the argument is that it was framed improperly. Instead of simply rejecting the argument, the […]
  • Replacing Counsel April 2, 2012
    While the decision in State v. Alvarez-Delvalle is neither surprising nor groundbreaking, it contains a helpful reminder of the procedure courts must follow to determine if a defendant is entitled to new counsel. The defendant in Alvarez-Delvalle sought to replace his attorney in the trial court, and on appeal argued that the trial court erred […]
  • Redheaded Stepchildren & Supervised Release March 25, 2012
    I've long thought of supervised release violations as the redheaded stepchildren of federal court--unwanted and something no federal pracitioners really pay much attention to. The last year or two, however, has spawned a fair amount of litigation around the country about the maximum terms of supervised release, directing a little attention to the oft neglected […]
  • Ineffective Plea Bargaining March 22, 2012
    As most criminal practitioners are well aware, the current members of the Supreme Court have little love for the Fourth Amendment. The protections against illegal searches and seizures have been largely chipped away, and the exclusionary rule may soon be on its way out the door as well. Surprisingly, however, the Supreme Court has reinvigorated […]
  • No Time Limit for Justice March 21, 2012
    Lemuel Prion pled guilty and mentally ill to three felonies in 1994. Just shy of two decades later, the Utah Supreme Court finds that the procedure for re-sentencing permitted for guilty but mentally ill offenders in 1994 violates the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution. Justice Lee, as he is wont to do, […]
  • Careful Driving Does Not Reasonable Suspicion Make January 28, 2008
    In another defense win, the Court of Appeals in Salt Lake City v. Bench upheld the trial court's decision to suppress the evidence obtained following a traffic stop of the defendant's vehicle. The City argued that the stop of the defendant's vehicle was proper where there was a tip from the defendant's ex-wife stating that […]
  • Trial Court May Conduct In Camera Review of Otherwise Privileged Victim Records January 26, 2008
    The defendant scores a victory in State v. Worthen, a case involving the State's appeal of the trial judge's decision to permit in camera review of the alleged victim's medical records. The State argued that the trial judge erred by failing to determine whether the defendant's request for medical records fell within the exception set […]
  • Utah Court of Appeals Rejects Blakely/Cunningham Claim January 26, 2008
    The Utah Court of Appeals rejected the appellant's claim in State v. Garner that judicial findings that serve to enhance a defendant's sentence are unconstitutional. More specifically, the appellant argued that Utah's indeterminate sentencing scheme violates the Sixth Amendment jury trial guarantees. The sentencing scheme in place for the sex offense conviction at issue provides […]
  • Tenth Circuit Provides Oblique Invitation for Suppression Challenges January 15, 2008
    While the Tenth Circuit's decision today in United States v. Martinez rejected the defendants' arguments about the constitutionality of an officer's stop of their vehicle, there is a glimmer (albeit ever so slight) of hope. The defendants in Martinez contended that an officer improperly stopped the defendants' vehicle based on alleged license plate violation. The […]