State v Argueta

Argueta appealed his burglary and sex abuse convictions. The panel affirmed. It held that the prosecutor did not violate Argueta’s right to remain silent during her closing argument because Argueta made statements after receiving his Miranda rights and it was permissible to impeach Argueta by arguing that his failure to mention several details in his trial testimony to the police offer at the scene meant he made up the story at trial. It held that admission of prior trespass conviction as a prior bad act on cross examination was error as the prior act was dissimilar from the charge here as Argueta did not enter the house or have any discernable intent to enter and there was only one prior act which is not enough to trigger the doctrine of chances in this case, but, held the error was harmless as a different outcome is not likely given Argueta’s testified he met victim once 18 months before the incident here and stopped by early in the morning to collect a small debt and only went into the apartment to return keys which is not strong enough to overcome the other evidence in the record. It held Argueta’s rule of evidence 403 challenge to an earlier peeping incident involving victim was unpreserved, as it was never raised at the district court. It rejected Argueta’s ineffective assistance of counsel as there was no prejudice from testimony Argueta was questioned during a different incident while out late at night as it was relatively mild and the panel’s confidence in the verdicts was not undermined, the other prior bad acts testimony came under the district court’s order as Argueta put his intent when he entered the apartment at issue and failure to object to the state’s closing argument would have been futile. It finally rejected Argueta’s cumulative error argument as even crediting all possible errors here the panel’s confidence in the verdict was not undermined.

State v Smith

Smith appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his no contest pleas. The panel affirmed. It rejected Smith’s estoppel claim concerning the trial court telling him the standard to withdraw his plea was good cause instead of the correct knowing and voluntary standard because Smith provided no authority in support of it, failure to comply with Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 on its own does not mandate relief and Smith was informed in his plea deal affidavit of the correct standard. It held there was no clear error in the district court’s findings that Smith understood the contents of the plea deal affidavit based on testimony form smith’s mother and trial attorney and the plea hearing transcript and no clear erro that Smith knew about the immediate incarceration provision as his objections were as to why it was there not confusion as to whether it was there. It held Smith’s inadequate colloquy argument failed under the Utah Supreme Court’s Alexander decision as failure to follow Rule 11 des not mean the plea was either unknowing or involuntary. Harris, joined by Mortensen added a concurrence arguing that the colloquy here was deficient as it did not ask if Smith understood his plea agreement and rights being waived and argued this failure required a long hearing after the fact which could have been avoided.

State v Reid

Reid appealed his rape and other convictions. The panel affirmed. It held there was no ineffective assistance of counsel because Reid did not demonstrate prejudice given Reid’s lies about the incident, the victim’s consistent descriptions of the events and Reid’s DNA on and in the victim’s genitals and there was no prejudice as to jury instructions given the overwhelming evidence of guilt as to three of the five listed grounds for rape, the presentation of the evidence as to each crime foreclosed conviction based on confusion about what facts supported which charge and evidence Reid completed all the alleged crimes rendered any error with the attempt instruction harmless. It held there was no plain error or ineffective assistance of counsel as to Reid’s prosecutorial misconduct arguments because the trial court gave Reid all relief sought as to leading questions to the victim, it was sound trial strategy not to call attention to improper hearsay testimony by victim’s grandmother particularly as the prosecutor got the grandmother to give nonhearsay testimony and there is no likelihood of  different result if certain statements during closing argument were objected to given the strength of the prosecution case.

National Title Agency v JPMorgan Bank NA

Agency appealed the dismissal of its breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence claims arguing they were timely. The panel affirmed holding all of Agency’s claims accrued when bank withdrew funds from Agency’s trust account and suit was brought six years after that event which beyond the two-year period for contracts and four-year period for the tort claims.

Day v Barnes

Day appealed the denial of her motion to relocate and Barnes appealed the order arguing it impermissibly worked a change in custody upon relocation. The panel vacated and remanded as to Day and affirmed as to Barnes. As to Day, it held the district court wrongly placed a burden of proving the commissioner’s recommendation was incorrect as Rule of Civil Procedure 108 requires the district court to undertake independent review of evidence and law. It affirmed as to Barnes holding the order only set out custody arrangements as of the time of the order based on the interests of the child and did not affect a change of custody in the event of relocation.