The Appellate Group

Wyatt v. State

Wyatt v. State, 2021 UT 32 (Durannt, C.J.)


The State charged the defendant with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. At trial, the evidence showed that the defendant waited in the women’s locker room, grabbed a woman from behind, tried to cover her mouth, and grabbed her breast. The district court allowed a recording of the defendant’s police interview into the deliberation room. The jury convicted. The Utah Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, including because:

  • The district court should have merged the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault convictions because the same acts were used to prove the elements of each charge.
  • Utah Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(k) does not prohibit testimonial exhibits from going back with the jury during deliberations, and instead permits all exhibits to go back to the jury, subject to the discretion of the court. But items not included in the rule (items that are not jury instructions, jury notes, or exhibits) cannot go to the deliberation room.
  • The district court did not abuse its discretion in allowing an accurate video depiction of the defendant’s police interview that had already been viewed during trial into the deliberation room.

Read the full court opinion