In the Interests of A.C. and I.C. (P.C. v State)

P.C. appealed the termination of his parental rights arguing he should have been given Spanish speaking counsel and his trial should have been continued. The panel affirmed. It held his constitutional arguments were inadequately briefed and thus rejected them. As to his statutory argument under Utah code 78A-6-1111, the panel held the facts that P.C. knew some English language and could respond to English questions plus his uncooperativeness demonstrated by failure to appear telephonically at a hearing supported the denial of his motion for Spanish speaking counsel. The panel held the continuance was properly denied as trial counsel was only unprepared because of P.C.’s uncooperativeness and thus no prejudice was proven.

State v Robles-Vazquez

Robles-Vazquez appealed the denial of his motion to allow a belated direct appeal. The panel affirmed. Acknowledging that eh district court have made more precise findings of fact, it held that the district court’s order reflect an implicit rejection of Robles-Vasquez’s arguments that he asked for an appeal and diligently ought one when it noted the three year delay undermined his credibility and these findings also support the rejection of Robles-Vazquez’s ineffective assistance claim.

State v Carter

Cater appealed hiss sentence arguing the State violated his plea agreement by arguing for a prison sentence. The panel affirmed. It held that under plain error review, there was either no error because the prosecutor who negotiated the plea said there was no promise of a no prison recommendation or given the lack of objection by defense counsel no clearly observed error on the part of the district court. It also rejected the ineffective assistance argument holding there was a strategic explanation for failing to object, namely, no promise was made.

In the Interests of A.C.M. (S.C. v State)

S.C. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed holding her continued drug use supported termination, the State offered her sufficient reunification services and termination is in A.C.M.’ best interests as she is integrated into her foster family who want to adopt her.

Collazo-Collazo v State

Collazo-Collazo appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief petition arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The panel affirmed holding counsel was adequate as he notified Collazo-Collazo that he was at risk of deportation due to his drug conviction and there was no prejudice as overwhelming evidence of guilt existed and going to trial would have been irrational.

State v Moore

Moore appealed his securities fraud and other convictions arguing the jury instructions on willfulness was erroneous. The panel agreed and reversed holding the instruction allowed conviction for reckless failure to investigate which is not a meant al state which would support conviction under Utah law. One judge added his view that the state’s expert offered improper legal opinion and advised this not be allowed on remand and encouraged a special verdict form to resolve a concern about the restitution award.

Gore v Grant

Gore appealed the district court’s modification of Grant’s child support obligation and requirement she post a security deposit to secure maintenance of a house. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It remanded on child support noting the unusual circumstances of the case in that an NBA player entered into an above guidelines amount of support and thus the district court must review the totality of the circumstances, including Grant’s overall economic situation and not just the decrease in income. It affirmed the security deposit as Gore has not maintained the house she lives in rent free and the amount was reasonable. The panel finally held the district court failed to support’s its denial of Gore’s motion for attorney fees as she prevailed in her attempt to collect back support and thus remand this issue as well.

Keyes v Keyes

Husband appealed the divorce decree arguing the prenuptial agreement should have been enforced and challenging the property division and alimony award. The panel, with one judge separately concurring, reversed and remanded. The majority held the district court erred when it failed to independently determine if fraud occurred as required by Utah Code 30-8-6(1)(b). It held Husband failed to argue wife waived disclosure below and thus review was unavailable. The majority held that the division of business inventory was inadequately supported as there were no findings of how wife obtained an interest in the inventory especially as the business is separate property. The majority finally reversed the alimony award holding the district court clearly erred in finding wife unemployed when she testified she was employed and imputing minimum wage when the record showed wife was earning more than that and further the award left husband without means to satisfy basic needs which was inequitable under the circumstances. The concurrence argued that the prenuptial agreement may prevent property awards otherwise available in equity and thus enforceability should be determined by the district court.

American Family Insurance v S.J. Construction, Inc.

American appealed the district court orders setting aside a default order and ordering arbitration. The panel dismissed the appeal. It held that the arbitration order was not final because the district court retained jurisdiction over the underlying claim and could reject or modify any award.

Hollenbach v Salt Lake Civil Service Commission

Hollenbach appealed the Commission’s decision to uphold his suspension without pay. The panel affirmed. It held that Hollenbach was not prejudiced by limits placed on discovery as he was able to present his theory of the case to the commission and failed to identify any noncumulative evidence the other witnesses he wanted to depose could have provided. It held that while it was improper for a Commission member to have ex parte communication with a deputy chief of police, there was prejudice as the communication allayed concerns about Hollenbach’s emotional state in his favor and the decision to uphold the suspension was based on properly admitted evidence. The panel affirmed the order upholding the suspension as eth undisputed facts showed Hollenbach was called to check on the welfare of a minor, he did not do so, did not get out of his car and did not file a report and he had received progressive discipline including a shorter suspension and had the expectations of him laid out in a three hour conference with a supervisor.

Gowe v intermountain Healthcare, Inc.

Gowe appealed summary judgment in favor of Intermountain in her slip and fall case. The panel affirmed. It held that she presented no evidence that Intermountain had actual knowledge of the puddle near the entryway and further she raised a theory in support on appeal that was not argued below and thus was not considered. The panel also held that because Gowe failed to preset any evidence as to how long the puddle had been on the floor, her constructive notice theory failed as a matter of law.

State v Gray

Gray appealed his convictions for child sex abuse, sodomy and object rape. The panel affirmed. It held there was sufficient evidence to sustain each conviction as the victim testified Gary abused her serval times a week for almost 6 years, made oral contact with her genitals and touched her on her genitals with dildo. The court noted that penetration is no longer necessary to commit object rape. The panel held that any vouching by the state’s expert witness came in response to defense counsel questioning and thus any error was invited. The panel held that while it was improper for the prosecutor to draw attention to acts occurring before the limitations period, the evidence in support of conviction was overwhelming and thus there was no reasonable possibility the improper comments led to conviction. Finally, the panel rejected Gray’s ineffective assistance argument holding it was a conceivable tactic to allow the improper vouching in order to undermine the credibility of the expert.