State v. Dunne

State v. Dunne, 2020 UT App 56 (Pohlman, J.)


The State charged the defendant with retail theft. At trial, the defendant testified that he did not plead guilty to retail theft because he did not do it. During cross-examination, the State asked the defendant, “Isn’t it true you came into court and you were going to plead guilty, but because I wouldn’t give you what you wanted, you changed position?” The defendant asked for a mistrial, but the district court denied that motion. The jury convicted the defendant. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The district court acted within its discretion when it did not declare a mistrial. A mistrial is not required when, given the totality of the evidence, the State’s potentially improper statement was not likely to have influenced the jury’s decision. The evidence against the defendant was overwhelming, and the court immediately sustained an objection to the question before the defendant could answer.

Read the full court opinion