State v Lucero

Lucero appealed his drug, theft and gun convictions arguing insufficient evidence of constructive possession. The panel reversed holding that being able to reach the bag where the drugs and gun were found and denying ownership of the bag was insufficient to prove possession.

In the Interests of T.W. (K.W. v State)

K.W. appealed the termination of her parental rights. The panel affirmed. It held that the state had offered many services to K.W. and she is responsible for not completing all of them. The panel held termination was proper as K.W. was not able to offer the parenting her autistic son needs.

Valenzuela-Lozoya v West Valley City

City appealed the grant of Valenzuela-Lozoya’s petition for post-conviction relief. The panel reversed and remanded. It held the district court failed to analyze whether the guilty plea was knowing and voluntary and thus the grant was inappropriate. The panel also held that Valenzuela-Lozoya’s ineffective assistance claim required factual determinations about the reasonableness of the decision not to appeal and whether there was a duty to inform Valenzuela-Lozoya of a rumored but not announced immigration program and thus the claim was remanded for district court consideration.

Willis v DeWitt

Willis appealed summary judgment in favor of DeWitt on his breach of construction contract and bad faith claims which was based on the statute of limitations. The panel affirmed on different reasoning. It held the applicable Statute, Utah Code 78B-2-225(3)(a), is a statute of repose as it is triggered by the completion of construction and bars claims after 6 years from completion. The panel noted this is consistent with how the Utah Supreme Court treated a predecessor statute to 225(3)(a). As Willis filed his claim more than 6 years after taking possession, his claim is barred.

State v Ojeda

Ojeda appealed his gun and drug convictions. The panel affirmed. It held there was no prejudice to Ojeda in not objecting to the jury instructions as the instructions adequately communicated what had to be proved both acts and mental state. The panel held there was no prejudice in the way the district court answered a jury question about the effect of an acquittal on one charge on the other charges as the answer was correct and there was properly admitted evidence of drug use which provided an alternate basis to convict on the gun charges. Finally, the panel held that Ojeda failed to prove passing references to a drug pay owe sheet prejudiced him.