State v. Sisneros

State v. Sisneros, 2020 UT App 60 (Orme, J.)


The defendant stole a car from the seller’s father in Weber County and drove the car to Utah County. Utah County charged the defendant with theft by receiving stolen property, and the probable cause statement attached to the Information noted that the defendant had stolen the car in Weber County. Several days later, Weber County charged him with aggravated robbery. A few days later, the defendant was arraigned and pleaded guilty to the Utah County theft charge. The defendant sought to dismiss the Weber County robbery charge because it arose out of a single criminal episode. The district court denied the motion. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • The district court should have dismissed the robbery charge. The court erroneously concluded that the Weber County robbery charge and the Utah County theft charge did not arise out of a single criminal episode, as defined by Utah Code §§ 76-1-401 and -402: 
    • The two charges arose from a single criminal episode: the Utah County theft and Weber County robbery were interwoven and committed at virtually the same time, and the two crimes had a single criminal objective because the defendant’s overarching criminal purpose in committing both offenses was to steal the car.
    • The prior charge and the subsequent charge were within the jurisdiction of a single court—meaning that the district court had original jurisdiction over the offense and the offense was properly venued in that court—because the second district court in Weber County did have jurisdiction over the theft and robbery offenses. 
    • At the time of the defendant’s arraignment on the Utah County theft charge, the Utah County Attorney knew of the Weber County charge; the probable cause statement the Utah County Attorney used in crafting the Information included facts that met the elements of the crime of aggravated robbery.
    • The Utah County theft charge resulted in a conviction.

Read the full court opinion