The Appellate Group

State v. Alvarado

State v. Alvarado, 2023 UT App 123 (Luthy, J.)


A defendant appealed his two convictions for failure to stop at the command of a police officer. On appeal, he raised two ineffective assistance claims. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed in part, affirmed in part, holding:

  • Counsel was ineffective for failing to request an adverse inference jury instruction based on the fact that police officer failed to active his bodycam, because the trial court likely would have given the instruction if counsel had requested it.
  • Counsel was not ineffective for failing to object to alleged errors in the jury instruction’s explanation of the relevant mens rea, because the defendant could not show prejudice.
  • Practice tip: The defendant also suggested that counsel came to trial unaware of the charges he was facing. The court explained that the evidentiary picture was insufficient to hold that counsel was operating off an incorrect understanding of the charges under Utah law.

Read the full court opinion