The Appellate Group

State v. Miller

State v. Miller, 2023 UT App 85 (Orme, J.)

Criminal Law

Miller was convicted of object rape. He appealed arguing (1) his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in two ways and (2) the trial court erroneously admitted hearsay testimony. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • Trial counsel was not constitutionally ineffective.
  • The trial court did not err in admitting a nurse’s testimony under Utah Rule of Evidence 803(4).
  • Practice Tip: Defense counsel’s omission of a particular issue during arguments amounts to deficient performance only when the argument is “so clearly more persuasive than those he discussed that its omission can only be attributed to a professional error of constitutional magnitude.” 
  • Practice Tip: When objecting to testimony, trial counsel should object to individual statements rather than to testimony as a whole, because it is entirely possible that specific statements may not satisfy the rules of evidence.

Read the full court opinion