The Appellate Group

State v. Macleod

State v. Macleod, 2024 UT App 32 (Orme, J.)


Defendant was convicted of rape, object rape, and two counts of forcible sexual abuse. On appeal, he made multiple arguments that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding:

  • Counsel did not perform deficiently when he did not object to two instances of alleged prosecutorial misconduct or when he failed to object to two hearsay statements. 
  • Counsel was ineffective when he did not request that the jury be fully instructed on unanimity for the two forcible sexual abuse charges.
  • Practice tip: Although the State may alleviate the prejudice caused by insufficient unanimity instructions by providing such guidance in closing arguments or elsewhere, it must do so by “clearly identifying for the jury which factual circumstances formed the basis for the charge.
  • Practice tip: When testimony is merely cumulative, courts are “usually disinclined” to find prejudice even when the testimony was improperly admitted.

Read the full court opinion