The Appellate Group

State v. Hintze

State v. Hintze, 2022 UT App 117 (Harris, J. majority) (Tenney, J. dissent)


Hintze, aged 22, was approached in a park by three officers while he snacked with a 13-year-old female family friend. The officers surrounded him, demanding his identification. They learned that Hintze was a convicted sex offender. Two years later, the State charged Hintze with “violation of sex offended by protected area,” because he was not legally able to be in the park. The State failed to prosecute Hintze or notify him of the charge, and he only discovered the charge at a parole hearing after serving 2.5 year on an unrelated charge. After being denied parole, from prison, Hintze asked the court for appointed counsel and for a virtual hearing. The court then held a preliminary hearing, where Hintze filed two motions: (1) a motion to suppress because officers had seized him without probable cause before he gave his name to the officers, and (2) a motion to dismiss because the State’s failure to notify him of the charge violated his constitutional right to a speedy trial and harmed him when he was denied parole in the unrelated case. The district court denied both motions, and Hintze entered a conditional guilty plea, preserving his right to appeal, and was sentenced to time served. Hintze appealed the district court’s denial of both motions, and the Utah Court of Appeals reversed on the speedy trial argument, holding:

  • The State violated Hintze’s right to a speedy trial when it failed to notify him of the charge for over two years, and that failure harmed him when he likely served additional prison time in account of the charge instead of being paroled.
  • The dissent disagrees with the majority’s speedy trial analysis but would reverse on fourth amendment grounds instead, because the officers seized Hintze before they developed any reasonable suspicion that criminal activity was afoot. While the majority does not reach this issue—choosing to reverse on speedy trial grounds instead—it agrees with the dissent’s fourth amendment analysis.

Read the full court opinion