The Appellate Group

State v. Garcia-Flores

State v. Garcia-Flores, 2021 UT App 97 (Appleby, J.)


Defendant was convicted of two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor based on child pornography found on his computer. He appealed, arguing that the district court should have granted his motion to suppress statements from his police interview and that his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object to a highly prejudicial video that was not the basis for any of the charges. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The district court did not err in denying the motion to suppress because Defendant’s question, [I]s it, uh, possible to have a lawyer [?],” was not an unambiguous request for counsel. And the officer clarified that Defendant was not invoking his right by asking if Defendant was “ok with talking to us” before further questioning. Moreover, even if Defendant had invoked his right, he waived it by continuing to talk to police on his own accord.
  • Counsel’s failure to object to the admission of the video was deficient performance. Its probative value was limited because it was not the basis for the charges, and the video “was significantly more repulsive in nature than the child pornography that underlay the charges, thus making its danger of unfair prejudice very high.” Nonetheless, Defendant was not prejudiced by the failure to object in light of the evidence against him.

Read the full court opinion