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State v. Wright

State v. Wright, 2021 UT App 7 (Mortensen, J.)

Criminal Law

Following a ten-day trial, a jury convicted the defendant of murder and aggravated robbery. The primary issue at trial was the identity of the shooter. On appeal, he argued that the court erred in admitting the testimony of an eyewitness and that his lawyers provided ineffective assistance. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed:

  • Under State v. Lujan, 2020 UT 5, the court of appeals considered the eyewitness testimony under rule 403 of the Utah Rules of Evidence and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the testimony.
  • The court of appeals rejected the various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Among other things, it concluded that there was not sufficient evidence that trial counsel did not investigate the State’s ballistics evidence and that counsel’s failure to consult an independent DNA or voice identification expert was not objectively unreasonable.

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