In our last post we discussed a successful appeal of a Utah child sex abuse conviction. Successful appeals can be based on a variety of factors such as errors in legal reasoning at the trail court level, prosecutorial misconduct, or ineffective assistance of defense counsel.
Criminal appeals based on ineffective assistance of counsel are among the hardest types of appeals to win. There is a strong presumption that a person's trial attorney gave effective legal assistance. Individuals appealing on this basis also have the additional burden of proving that they wouldn't have been convicted but-for the deficiencies in their counsel's representation.
An appeals court recently overturned the conviction of a Utah man for aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
In Utah, sexual abuse of a child is a second degree felony. Aggravated sexual abuse of a child is a first degree penalty that can carry a minimum 15 year prison sentence.
A person can be convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a child when certain factors are present. In this case, the man's conviction was based on the fact that he occupied a "position of special trust in relation to the victim." Namely, the man was found to be an "adult cohabitant" of the victim's parent.
In our last post we discussed the appeal of a California man who was arrested in Utah for marijuana possession. The arrest followed a Summit County traffic stop during a saturation patrol by the Utah Highway Patrol.
UHP officers heard from California officials that the marijuana crop would be harvested that November, so they decided to conduct extra patrols in hopes of catching some traffickers.
The California man argued before the Supreme Court of Utah that his stop violated his constitutional right to travel and his equal protection rights. Regarding the man's right to travel, the court held that the man failed to prove that his right to travel was infringed upon by the UHP's actions.
An alleged drug trafficker recently made an interesting constitutional argument while appealing his drug trafficking charges.
Utah Highway Patrol officers allegedly found 105 pounds of marijuana in the man's car after it was stopped on a rural stretch of Interstate 80 in Summit County in November of 2008. The UHP was conducting a high volume of traffic stops in that area because California authorities had informed them that California's marijuana crop would be harvested around that time.
A former Pleasant Grove teacher was sentenced to prison time after allegedly having sex with two 16-year-old students.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the 28-year-old teacher was the soccer coach for the girls. A judge recently gave the former teacher a 20 year prison sentence for abusing the Liahona Preparatory Academy students.
Authorities say that the man used the same "grooming tactics" for each girl, telling them that he loved them and that he would leave his wife to marry them in Mexico.
A former swimming coach at Ben Lomond High School was recently sentenced to 210 days in jail for allegedly having sex with one of her students. Authorities say that the 37-year-old North Ogden woman carried on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old member of the swim team.
The former coach denies having had sex with the teen but said that she failed to maintain appropriate boundaries with her students.
A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City recently charged a West Valley City couple with smuggling Peruvian artifacts into the country. The couple allegedly worked with two individuals from Trujillo, Peru, to bring artifacts into the country for sale.
Undercover agents allegedly made contact with the couple last fall and purchased multiple artifacts for around $30,000. The couple reportedly represented that the artifacts were authentic, not replicas.
The Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council recently suspended a longtime police officer for drunk driving. The board is tasked with disciplining police officers and corrections officials throughout the state.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a 16-year Salt Lake Police Department veteran was arrested one year ago for drunk driving. The officer said that he was upset by the deaths of some of his coworkers which is why he was out drinking on the night that he was arrested.
The 42-year-old officer pleaded guilty in Murray Justice Court to a misdemeanor charge of impaired driving and received one year of probation, a fine, and 48 hours of community service.
A federal grand jury recently indicted a St. George man on fraud and money laundering charges, among other things. Authorities say that the man committed various white collar crimes through a false shipping company.
The 46-year-old man allegedly told individuals that he was experienced in the shipping industry and routinely shipped commodities throughout the world. Specifically, the man allegedly told individuals and companies that he owned a large amount of cement and routinely oversaw large shipments of cement to prior customers, when he in fact did not.
The alleged victims of the fraud scheme entered into contracts with the man and wired money into his personal accounts. Authorities allege that the man defrauded his victims of about $725,000.
A federal jury recently convicted a 23-year-old Salt Lake City man in connection with the robbery of a Riverton Walmart store. Authorities say that the man worked with members of the Tongan Crip Gang who were previously convicted of this offense and other violent crimes.
Two members of the Tongan Crip Gang allegedly tried to rob Walmart employees who were completing a nightly accounting procedure. The robbers were reportedly thwarted by the fact that the store's inner cash office was locked. The only employee in that office refused to open the door because he could see the robbers on surveillance cameras.
Authorities say that the 23-year-old Salt Lake City man assisted the robbers by providing the firearm used in the crime, driving the getaway car, and disposing of the firearm after the robbery.
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