The Appellate Group

State v. Prettyman

State v. Prettyman, 2024 UT App 20 (Luthy, J.)

Criminal Law

Defendant was convicted of two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. On appeal, he asserted that his counsel provided ineffective assistance by not objecting to expert testimony from multiple law enforcement officers. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • Defendant did not show that his counsel performed deficiently, that he was prejudiced thereby, or both.
  • Practice tip: The court noted cases “condemning anecdotal statistical evidence concerning matters not susceptible to quantitative analysis such as witness veracity.” 
  • Practice tip: Law enforcement testimony regarding measurable quantities of drugs possessed by people for personal use is capable of bearing statistical validity.

Read the full court opinion