Rodney R. Parker, Dani N. Cepernich, Scott A. Elder, Nathanael J. Mitchell, and Adam M. Pace, J.
Editor’s Note: The following appellate cases of interest were recently decided by the Utah Supreme Court, Utah Court of Appeals, and United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
State v. Martinez, 2017 UT 26 (May 2, 2017)
The court held that officer safety concerns justified a voluntary interaction during a traffic stop, in which the officer requested a passenger’s identification. The court also held that the seconds-long extension of the traffic stop resulting from running the identification did not unreasonably prolong the stop.
Truck Ins. Exch. v. Rutherford, 2017 UT 25 (Apr. 27, 2017)
The court reconciled two seemingly conflicting provisions of Utah’s underinsured motorist coverage statute: one saying that underinsured motorist coverage is “secondary to the benefits provided by” workers’ compensation, and the other saying that underinsured motorist coverage “may not be reduced by benefits provided by workers’ compensation insurance.” Id. ¶ 6. The court held that under these provisions the UIM insurer was required to fully compensate the injured driver within its policy limits but only for damages in excess of what workers’ compensation paid, so as to avoid an inappropriate double recovery.
State v. Lowther, 2017 UT 24 (Apr. 21, 2017)
This appeal arose out of a conditional plea entered after the district court concluded that evidence of similar prior acts involving the defendant and other victims was admissible under the doctrine of chances. The supreme court held that the doctrine of chances was not limited to rebutting charges of fabrication but instead could be used to prove elements of the offense. In doing so, the court clarified that courts should first evaluate whether the four foundational requirements of the doctrine have been met and, if so, independently analyze whether the evidence is admissible under Rule 403.
State v. DeJesus, 2017 UT 22 (Apr. 21, 2017)
In this direct criminal appeal, the defendant argued that the loss or destruction of video footage of the assault for which she was charged violated her due process rights. The court applied the due process analysis applicable to such a claim, outlined in State v. Tiedemann, 2007 UT 49, ¶ 44, 162 P.3d 1106. In doing so, the court reaffirmed that the Tiedemann test encompasses a threshold requirement that the defendant...