The Appellate Group

State v. Bluemel

State v. Bluemel, 2023 UT App 142 (Luthy, J.)

Criminal Procedure

Defendant pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced. He did not move to withdraw his plea, and he did not file a timely appeal. Twenty years later, he moved to have the time to file an appeal reinstated. The district court denied the motion. Defendant appealed. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding:

  • The district court erred by basing its denial of the motion partly on the ground that it was untimely.
  • The district court’s factual findings were inadequate on whether Defendant was deprived of the right to appeal because the trial court and trial counsel had failed to properly inform him of his right. It remanded the issue for additional findings.
  • Practice tip: Utah Appellate Rule of Procedure 4(f) does not include any time limitation on a motion to reinstate an appeal. The court flagged the issue for the advisory committee.
  • Practice tip: United States Supreme Court precedent (Garza v. Idaho, 139 S.Ct. 738 (2019)) raises a question regarding the validity of State v. Hicholls, 2017 UT App 60, 397 P.3d 709. But the court would not analyze the issue without the benefit of adversarial briefing.

Read the full court opinion