The Appellate Group

State v. Cruz

State v. Cruz, 2020 UT App 157 (Mortensen, J.)


The defendant entered an apartment where his girlfriend was staying, pointed a gun at her, and told her to leave. The girlfriend did not leave until after the defendant left and a friend in the apartment told the girlfriend to get out. The police later found the defendant and the girlfriend having sex in another apartment. The jury convicted the defendant of kidnapping. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  1. Trial counsel was not ineffective for not moving for a directed verdict on the kidnapping charge. There was sufficient evidence in the record from which the jury could infer that the defendant had the intent to kidnap the girlfriend.
  2. Trial counsel was not ineffective when he did not object to the State’s use of an audio recording that impeached the girlfriend’s credibility. The defendant did not show that absent the use of the audio recording, the result of the trial would have been different.

Read the full court opinion