The Appellate Group

Kell v. State

Kell v. State, 2023 UT 27 (Durrant, C.J.)


Kell was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to death. In a post-conviction investigation, Kell discovered new evidence suggesting the judge communicated with jurors during sentencing and told them it was Kell’s burden to convince them that his life should be spared. Over five years after he discovered the evidence, Kell filed a post-conviction motion in the district court. The district court granted the State’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed his petition based upon a statutory time bar. On direct appeal, Kell raises numerous constitutional challenges to the time bar portion of Utah’s post-conviction statute, among other claims. But the Utah Supreme Court affirmed, holding in part:

  • The district court correctly granted the State’s motion for summary judgment. Kell’s many constitutional claims do not excuse his more than five-year delay in filing his petition after discovering the evidence.

Read the full court opinion