State v Van Huizen

Van Huizen appealed the juvenile court order binding him over to adult court arguing the juvenile court judge’s marriage to the chief deputy district attorney who performed some work on the bind over proceeding but did not appear in court required her recusal. The panel reversed and remanded. It held the plain language of the judicial conduct rule did not resolve the case and the out of state case law relied upon by the parties was not persuasive in this context as none involved a supervising attorney in the same office which was persecuting the case. It held that an appearance of partiality occurred here as the judge would have been required to at least disclose if not recuse if married to the district attorney, who is an officer within the meaning of the recusal rule who has an interest in the outcome of cases and who appears as counsel of record on criminal cases, and the chief deputy district attorney was in the chain of command over the trail prosecutor and his position was sufficiently like the district attorney that judges should be required to disclose the marriage to the parties who can waive the conflict or move to disqualify. It noted this outcome is consistent with ethics opinions form other states covering situations with similar facts. It held there was no need to prove prejudice here as the juvenile court judge failed to disclose her relationship with the chief deputy district attorney and thus Huizen could not utilize the disqualification motion and the judge made the bind over decision herself instead of a jury or other impartial body. The case was remanded for a new bind over proceeding.

Brown v Williams

Brown appealed summary judgment to Williams in her automobile-pedestrian collision negligence case. The panel affirmed. It held that under Court precedent, automobile-pedestrian collisions which occur on the parking lot of the pedestrian’s employer (as occurred here) are subject to the workers compensation exclusive remedy provision in Utah law and the fact Brown’s employer rented the facility did not change the analysis as rented parking lots are treated the same as owned parking lots for workers compensation purposes.

State v Tirado

Tirado appealed his drug conviction and moved for fact finding in support of his ineffective assistance of counsel argument. The panel remanded for fact finding holding the affidavits of Tirado and his cousin, if accepted, set out a non-speculative factual basis for an actual conflict of interest as trial counsel represented both, failed to call cousin who would have testified he did not involve Tirado in the drug transaction alleged in the indictment and may have been dissuaded from calling cousin for fear of violating confidentiality or prejudicing cousin’s parole chances and thus remand was necessary to allow Tirado to subpoena trial counsel and for the district court hold an evidentiary hearing.

State v Bourk

Bourk appealed his aggravated robbery conviction arguing insufficient evidence of a dangerous weapon. The panel affirmed holding testimony that one victim saw Bourk with a gun and Bourk’s own testimony he pulled out a lighter that resembled a gun was sufficient to sustain the conviction.