Mulder v State

Mulder appealed summary judgment for the State on his petition for post-conviction relief. The panel affirmed. It held that Mulder’s newly discovered evidence claim was properly rejected as a reasonable jury could still convict as the proffered affidavits from an accomplice contradicted the accomplice’s trial testimony and there was evidence form a third accomplice and Mulder himself that connected Mulder to the robbery in questions as well physical evidence including the disguise used in the robbery and evidence Mulder had some of the coins stolen from the crime scene shortly after the robbery. It affirmed denial of relief based on ineffective assistance of appellate counsel as none of the issues argued by Mulder had any merit because the accomplices’ testimony was corroborated by physical evidence and the jury was instructed on witness credibility and trial counsel highlighted credibility issues for eh jury; there was no evidence that the prosecutor knew that an accomplice’s testimony about Mulder possessing a gun was false (if it was in fact false) and another accomplice testified Mulder gave him a gun to use at the robbery and actively helped pal the robbery; that trial counsel’s decision not to ask potential juror about their religious affiliations was not ineffective as the victim’s position as an LDS bishop at the time of his death was not clearly relevant to the case given the lack of any anti-LDS bias in the robbery, none of the potential jurors said they knew victim and opposition to robbing people or otherwise leading a life of crime is not unique to LDS people and there is no evidence non-LDS members of the venire were unconstitutionally excluded as there was nothing in the jurors information sheet that identified their religion; that none of the four jurors passed for cause Mulder argued should have been dismissed were obviously biased as one resolved any doubts about her impartiality arising from her work as a prison nurse, victim of burglary and widow of a police officer during additional questioning in chambers, another’s status as a LDS bishop was not disqualifying and he stated he was not a law enforcement officer, another was a friend of a judge who did not preside at Mulder’s trial and she never discussed law with the other judge and the final juror was not disqualified for seeking employment with law enforcement; the alleged alibi evidence did not in fact identify any witnesses or other proof that Mulder was not at the crime scene when the robbery happened; and there was no harm in the trial court’s decision to not investigate Mulder’s dissatisfaction with his trial counsel because Mulder was allowed to present his alibi defense though his own testimony and called the witness that Mulder wanted called to attack an accomplice’s credibility.

In the Interests of B.C. (C.S. v R.C.)

C.S. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed. It rejected C.S.’s argument that some of her evidence was improperly excluded as the parties stipulated to the evidence to be admitted and C.S. did not object or otherwise try and get more evidence in. It held termination was proper as C.S. failed to challenge three of the four grounds and the challenged ground of abandonment was supported by evidence that C.S. placed B.C. with a cousin and grandparents, failed to create a relationship with him and kept all the child support paid to her for herself instead forwarding it to the caretakers.