State v. Crutcher
State v. Crutcher, 2023 UT App 53 (Orme, J.)
Crutcher entered a conditional guilty plea to first-degree aggravated murder after confessing to the racially motivated murder of his cellmate. A month later, he retracted his confession and asked to withdraw his plea. The district court denied his pre-plea motion to suppress, his post-plea motion to withdraw the guilty plea, and his counsel’s post-plea motion to withdraw. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:
- The district court correctly concluded that Crutcher presented no evidence of force or coercion and that his actions and statements were voluntary.
- The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to withdraw.
- The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to withdraw the guilty plea without first holding an evidentiary hearing.
- Practice Tip: The Court of Appeals declined to order appointed post-conviction counsel. By statute, that decision rests with the district court, not the court of appeals.