State v Karr

Karr appealed his murder conviction arguing the jury instructions deprived him of the presumption of reasonableness under the defense of habitation statute. The panel, with one judge concurring, affirmed. The majority held that under Utah code 76-2-405, the state may attempt to overcome the presumption the defendant’s beliefs and acts were reasonable not only by disproving reasonableness of belief or action but also by disproving the factual triggers of unlawful entry accompanied by violence, stealth or felonious purpose. The majority noted the state in fact did seek to disprove reasonableness which Karr argued is the only way to rebut the presumption by proving the victim was not in the house when stabbed and was being restrained at the time of the stabbing. The majority held the presumption jury instruction was technically incorrect in that it limited the possible felonious intent to assault and only direct the jury to weigh the reasonableness of actions instead of the required actions and beliefs. The majority held there was no harm, however, as there was no argument based on felonious intent and the omission of beliefs did not effect on the outcome of the trial. The concurrence argued that the statue is complex with 24 ways to trigger the presumption, that the facts presumed do not track any element of the defense and thus it encouraged the legislature to rewrite the statute to make things clearer. As to this case, the concurrence argued that reasonableness of belief and action is the only way to rebut, but, that was done here as the victim was not in the house, not threatening anyone and was restrained when stabbed. One member of the majority joined the call to clarify the statute.

Intermountain Healthcare v OptumHealth

Intermountain appealed an administrative order awarding payment for only 3 of 18 days of hospitalization and treatment of a patient who attempted suicide. The panel set aside the decision and remanded. It held that the administrative law judge misconstrued the applicable guideline Utah Administrative Code R414-1-2(18) to require continued acute suicidal ideation with plan, there was evidence the patient needed hospitalization to prevent another attempt after discharge and the judge also erred in rejecting the treating [physician’s testimony and chart notes without providing a basis to do so.

State v Clark

Clark appealed her theft conviction arguing insufficient evidence and that he motion to suppress should have been granted. The panel affirmed. It held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction as Clark sat in the passenger seat of the truck where the stolen driver’s license was found, that it was found with a paystub and a court document with Clark’s name on it and Clark had used stolen identification documents in the past. It also affirmed the denial of the suppression motion holding the hearsay evidence presented in support of a consent search was reliable, the witness was cross examined and her possible bias could have been explored, the issue of consent was not raised at the preliminary hearing and thus there was on contradiction between the officer’s testimony at the hearing and the witness’ testimony at trial.

TechCenter2000, LLC v Zrii, LLC

Zrii appealed a judgment for breach of lease and damages. The panel, with one judge dissenting in part, affirmed. The majority held that district court correctly ruled that the rent amount was set in one part of the lease and the requirement to make improvements was in another part and there was no connection between them. Thus, the rental amount was definite. The majority also held that the improvements were a capital expense that would have been incurred anyway and thus the amount did not need to be deducted from the damages amount. The panel held that TechCenter had a duty to mitigate, but the duty was limited to commercially reasonable efforts to relet, which happened here as the parties worked to sublet the property and there is no duty to sell a property to relieve the breaching party from damages. The panel held that Zrii’s loss of employees and sales was a foreseeable risk which did not render the lease impossible or pointless and thus damages were properly awarded. It also held that the personal guarantee of a one of Zrii’s members was enforceable as suit was filed within the three year term of the lease. The majority finally held that TechCenter was entitled to attorney fees for the appeal and remanded for calculation of the fee award.

State v Harris

Harris appealed his burglary and other convictions arguing insufficient evidence. The panel affirmed. It held the evidence that Harris was found near the entry to a store which had alarms go off and evidence someone tried to force his way in, ran away when officers arrived and had glass in his clothes like the glass in a broken door to the store was enough to submit the case to the jury.

State v Gomez

Gomez appealed his child sex abuse convictions. The panel affirmed. It held the district court’s question to counsel about the content of one of the child witness’ testimony was not error as it was done outside the presence of the jury, was within its discretion and the State had already proved the offense.

State v Valencia

Valencia appealed his drug convictions arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The panel affirmed. It held there was no deficient performance as the state presented sufficient evidence to send the case to the jury including Valencia’s presumed voice in tow intercepted calls, his going to meet another person who agreed to sell dealer quantities of drugs, a hand to hand exchange with the person, being near a scale in the car and the drugs being found on his traveling companion and thus a motion for directed verdict would have been futile.

State v Young

Young appealed his convictions for failure to stop and reckless driving. The panel affirmed. It held that while there was some inconsistency as to when the command to stop was made, there was none as to whether a command was issued and that Young failed to stop and his blood alcohol content was high enough to support an inference he drove off to avoid arrest. It held that the reckless driving conviction was supported by evidence of intoxication, high rate of speed and numerous cars and people in the parking lot. It finally rejected an ineffective assistance argument holding Young’s driving off provided an independent basis to arrest him even if the initial approach by the officer lacked reasonable suspicion and Young’s statements that he had been drinking and had taken medication was cumulative to other evidence including his blood test which showed high levels of alcohol in his blood.