State v Ashcraft

Ashcraft appealed his drug convictions arguing insufficient evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. The Court, 3-2, affirmed. The majority held the totality of the circumstances, multiple drives in a high crime area, significant cash in his wallet, accusing the officer of planting drugs before the container was opened and presence of drugs on Ashcraft’s knife , were sufficient to sustain a finding of guilt. It held the prosecutor did not vouch for the arresting officer instead asking the jury to consider the incentives the officer had to not lie and any error form mentioning how much cash the prosecutor normally had in his wallet was harmless as he immediately called on the jury to rely on its experience. The dissent argued the evidence was insufficient as none of the facts relied upon by the state actually connect Ashcraft to the drugs, there were three people with access to the truck and none were eliminated as the person who put the drugs in the truck and the net effect of the decision is hold that anyone in a vehicle with drugs inside is guilty which cannot be the law.

McGibbon v Farmers Insurance Exchange

MacGibbon petitioned for interlocutory review of the district court’s order compelling arbitration. The court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It held that it could not review the order under interlocutory proceedings as the order to compel was a final order. It held review was unavailable for the final order because MacGibbon failed to file anything with the district court which could be considered a notice of appeal and the letter from the Court to the district court about the appeal does not qualify as it wasn’t field by a party.

Carter v State

Carter sought to amend the judgment in his second post-conviction action and filed a new action given the same number as his second action by the court clerk. The district court denied the motion and dismissed the new case. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. It affirmed on the motion to amend judgment as Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) requires new evidence, such as the affidavits of trial witnesses contradicting their trial testimony, to be brought before eth court within 90 days. As the motion was more than two years late, denial was proper. The Court reversed as to the new action holding the substance of the pleading, not the case number, determines if an action is new or not. Here the new petition had three claims which were not raised in the second proceeding and thus the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the new case.

State v Allgier

Allgier’s second appellate attorney moved to withdraw citing a breakdown of communication and threats by Allgier. The Court, noting that Allgier had field several dilatory motions and made threats of bodily harm to both appellate counsel, concluded he forfeited counsel for the reply brief stage of the appeal and granted the motion to withdraw.

State v Bird

Bird’s trial attorney asked for a jury instruction on mens rea at his trial for failure to stop for an officer Utah Code 41-6a-210. The trial court refused. The Court of Appeals reversed and the Court, 4-1, affirmed the majority held that because “receive” and “attempt” in the statute have mens rea implications which a jury is unlikely to catch, the trial court must give an instruction that “receive” mean knowing and “attempt” means intentional. The dissent argued the instructions were sufficient to covney the ordinary meaning of the statutory terms and thus what must be proven and in any event Bird failed to demonstrate that he was harmed by the lack of instructions as the evidence plainly showed he knew an officer was signaling him to stop and he intentionally did not stop.

Burdick v Horner townsmen & Kent, Inc.

Burdick and others sued Horner arguing its former employer defrauded them by selling unregistered securities and Horner was liable under agency or negligence theories. The distrct court granted summary judgment to Horner and denied Burdick’s and the other plaintiffs’’ motion for attorney fees in his claim against the former employee. The Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. It affirmed on the agency claim holding Burdick did not invest because of Horner and the other plaintiffs failed to show any actions by Horner that indicated the former employee was its agent as business cards and even being sent to the former employee by a current employee of Horner are insufficient as a matter of law. The Court held that the distrct court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Burdick’s motion to reconsider as it raised new theories of liability and was filed over a year after summary judgment was entered. The Court affirmed judgment as to one plaintiff holding his release of all claims against the parent company of Horner released the claims involving the unregistered securities. Finally, the court held the district court erred in denying the attorney fees as Burdick was successful at trial against the former employee, statute mandated a fee and the fees for the successful claim were set out in the affidavit. Additionally, the district court failed to perform the required analysis. Thus, the fee claim was remanded for additional proceedings.