In the Interests of T.S. (T.S. v State)

T.S. appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss his statutory rape juvenile delinquency allegation. The panel affirmed. It held that there is no constitutional bar to charging juvenile’s with strict liability crimes as United States Supreme Court precedent dealing with minors has limited its rulings to lower culpability for minor offenders, making death and life without parole unavailable as punishments as cruel and unusual punishment and requiring more procedural protections not requiring a mens rea for all juvenile committed offenses. It also rejected T.S.’s argument that individualized determinations are required because he received individualized consideration at sentencing. It finally held that allowing prosecution or juvenile delinquency allegations for strict liability crimes does not lead to absurd results because the district court found T.S. to be the perpetrator here, T.S.’s possible requirement to register as a sex offender in Texas does not make applying Utah criminal law absurd and it’s up to the legislature to determine if adolescents more than 2 years apart should be allowed to act sexually with each other.

Earhart v Earhart

Wife appealed the order modifying the parties divorce decree and lowering husband’s spousal and child support payments. The panel affirmed. It held the district court permissibly found that husband’s income fell by $7,000 a month due to loss of a major client and a change in responsibility to rainmaking form customer billing activities and not voluntary underemployment. It held a challenge to the use of current circumstances instead of circumstances at the time of decree was unpreserved. It finally held that eliminating a car lease requirement was not an abuse of discretion as the lease was a contractual obligation not an interest in real property, the decrease in income was a substantial change in circumstances and wife did not ask for a reduced requirement an thus waived any such argument on appeal.

State v Gourdin

Gourdin appealed his assault conviction arguing the district court erred in not given a prior violent act charge as part of the self –defense instruction. The panel affirmed holding there was no evidence in the record that methamphetamine causes violent reaction and the later fight between victim and a third party could not be a prior act.

Guzman v Labor Commission

Guzman appealed the denial of his application for total disability benefits. The panel reversed and remanded. It held the appeals board erred in applying a reasonableness standard instead of the textually required limitation standard and committed further erred in failing to consider the vocational report while misapplying the medical panel report.

State v Cuaquentzi

Cuaquentzi appealed his child sex abuse convictions arguing prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument. The panel affirmed holding even if there was misconduct it was harmless given the presence of Cuaquentzi’s semen near the victim’ rectum was overwhelming evidence of guilt.

State v Johnson

Johnson appealed her conviction for witness retaliation. The panel affirmed holding evidence that Johnson, her boyfriend and mother confronted the victim and called him “cop caller” was sufficient to send the case to the jury and thus it was not reversible as plain error and there was no ineffective assistance of counsel as a motion for acquittal would have been futile.