The Appellate Group

State v. Tapusoa

State v. Tapusoa, 2020 UT App 92 (Mortensen, J.)


In his plea agreement, the defendant agreed to pay restitution for his dismissed charges. At sentencing, the defendant spoke to the court and the defendant’s counsel informed the court of the concerns of the defendant’s mother. Then the court made a restitution determination. Counsel objected the next day, asking for more detailed valuations on the amount the victim claimed the defendant owed. The court found the victim’s restitution proffer sufficient to support the amount. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The district court did not violate the defendant’s right of allocution. The defendant addressed the court at his sentencing hearing. Neither did the district court abuse its discretion in having the defendant’s mother speak through the defendant’s attorney.
  • Trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance when she failed to object with more specificity at the restitution hearing because no particular prejudice resulted from counsel’s failure to object.

Read the full court opinion