State v Kamrowski

Kamrowski appealed his conviction for child sex abuse. The panel affirmed. It held there was no error in allowing Kamrowski’s wife to opine on victim’s veracity as Kamrowski put her on the stand to testify about his truthfulness and the State was allowed to test her opinion with evidence about the victim. It also held there was sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions as the victim gave consistent testimony as to the core of the case namely where and how she was improperly touched by Kamrowski.

State v Gerber

Gerber appealed he arson conviction. The panel, with one judge concurring in part, affirmed. The majority held Gerber failed to preserve her jury instruction claim as it was not raised at trial or in her opening brief. The majority held there was sufficient record to evaluate Gerber’s ineffective assistance claim, but, the claim failed as there was no evidence Gerber’s attorney failed to investigate, no evidence of what experts Gerber believes should have been called and no duty to present a theory of innocence. The concurrence argued the Gerber failed to provide record citation in her ineffectiveness argument and thus it should be rejected on that ground.

State v Guadarrama

Gudarrama appealed his sentence for child rape arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The panel affirmed holding that because it is up to the legislature to set penalties, a similar penalty for sodomy of a child has been upheld by the Utah Supreme court, child victims of sex crimes suffer greater emotional harm and, as to Guadarrma, here, killing the victim would have exposed him to greater sentences than his rape conviction did, any constitutional challenge to the sentence would have failed and thus counsel was not ineffective for failing to make the argument.

Smith’s Food & Drug, Inc. v Labor Commission

Smith’s appealed the award of attorney fees to a claimant. The panel affirmed. It held under the plain language and legislative history of Utah Code 34A-1-309(4)(a), fees can be awarded when a request for benefits has not been approved, some benefit dispute is before the Department and benefits are awarded because claimant hires an attorney and the award is based on the total amount of benefits awarded not just the amount in dispute when the action commences. Here, a request to see a specialist had not been approved when the administrative action was commenced and there was no error in Department’s finding that claimant hiring the attorney triggered a review which ultimately led Smith’s to abandon its defense and pay for a shoulder surgery. Thus, the fee award was proper.

Salt Lake City v Gallegos

Gallegos appealed the denial of his directed verdict motion and his conviction for failure to stop. The panel reversed and vacated the conviction. It held that the applicable statute, Utah Code 76-8-305.5 requires specific intent to evade arrest and the evidence put up by City, namely that Gallegos had scrapes on his hands and alcohol on his breath, was insufficient to put him on notice that he faced arrest.  

Pierucci v U.S. Bank

Pierucci appealed the setting aside of the certificate of default and granting judgment on the pleadings to Bank. The panel affirmed. It held that given Utah’s strong policy of deciding cases on the merits, there was no error in setting aside the default certificate as Bank was unable to locate the complaint served on its agent, was in communication with Pierucci’s attorney, field the motion to set aside a few days after the certificate was entered, had a meritorious defense and did not impair Peirucci’s prosecution of their claim. The panel held that because Pierucci referenced certain documents in the complaint and those documents were central to his claim, the district court properly considered them in deciding the motion for judgment on the pleadings and that the motion was correctly granted as the acts complained off were irrelevant to the foreclosure and sale of the house in question and thus no claim was stated. 

State v Warner

Warner appealed the revocation of his probation. The panel affirmed. It first held there was jurisdiction to hear the case even though Warner had served his jail sentence because the possible collateral effects of the probation violation were sufficient to trigger appellate jurisdiction. As to the revocation, the panel held that because Warner made no payments and no other efforts to satisfy his fines and other monetary assessments, revocation was appropriate.