The Appellate Group

State v. Fowers

State v. Fowers, 2023 UT App 128 (Luthy, J.)


Brother and Ex-Wife are married. Because of Ex-Wife’s protective order, Defendant could not contact Ex-Wife directly or indirectly. Defendant called Brother’s phone very early one morning saying, “You and that f***ing whore have it coming.” The district court did not bind Defendant over on a charge of violating a protective order with a domestic violence enhancement because it concluded that Defendant did not violate the protective order by calling Brother. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • The phone call established probable cause that Defendant at least contacted Ex-Wife indirectly because Defendant called when Brother and Ex-Wife were presumably together, and Defendant’s message can be reasonably interpreted as a threat.
  • Practice tip: In footnote 2, the Court explains the difference between preserved issues and preserved arguments.

Read the full court opinion