The Appellate Group

State v. Norton

State v. Norton, 2020 UT 46 (Petersen, J., majority; Pearce, J., concurring; Durrant, C.J., concurring)


The State charged the defendant with kidnapping, burglary, and aggravated sexual assault, among other things, for interactions he had with his wife. The jury convicted the defendant. The court of appeals affirmed the convictions. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, holding:

  • The court does not decide whether the jury instructions correctly instructed on the mens rea linked to consent, because a reasonable jury could not have found that the defendant mistook the wife’s conduct for consent based on the totality of the evidence. 
  • The district court should have instructed the jury on the sexual battery as a lesser-included offense to forcible sexual abuse.
  • The district court properly considered all the arguments the defendant raised at sentencing. 
  • Peterson, J., writing separately: The interests-of-justice balancing test in LeBeau v. State, 2014 UT 39, should be overturned because it contradicts the statute’s plain language. 
  • Durrant, C.J., concurring: The concurring justice disapproves of the section advocating to overturn LeBeau.