State v. Casey, No. 20010622.

CourtUtah Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDURRANT, Associate Chief Justice
Citation82 P.3d 1106,2003 UT 33
Docket NumberNo. 20010622.
Decision Date05 December 2003
PartiesSTATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Michael Shawn CASEY, Defendant and Petitioner.

82 P.3d 1106
2003 UT 33

STATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Michael Shawn CASEY, Defendant and Petitioner

No. 20010622.

Supreme Court of Utah.

December 5, 2003.


82 P.3d 1107
Mark L. Shurtleff, Att'y Gen., Jeffrey S. Gray, Asst. Att'y Gen., Susan Hunt, Salt Lake City, for plaintiff

Michael R. Sikora, Salt Lake City, for defendant.

AMENDED OPINION

On Certiorari to the Utah Court of Appeals

DURRANT, Associate Chief Justice:

¶ 1 This case concerns the mens rea that must be shown to convict a defendant of attempted murder. Specifically, we consider whether a conviction for attempted murder may rest upon a knowing mental state rather than an intentional mental state. Michael Shawn Casey was tried and convicted of attempted

82 P.3d 1108
murder, aggravated assault, and domestic violence in the presence of a child. He moved for a new trial, arguing that the jury instructions improperly stated that he could be convicted of attempted murder for acting knowingly or intentionally. He appealed from the denial of this motion. The court of appeals affirmed Casey's conviction, relying on two of our prior opinions addressing similar jury instructions for attempted murder. Casey then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to this court. We hold that a conviction for attempted murder must rest on a finding that the defendant acted intentionally. Thus, the trial court improperly instructed the jury. Nevertheless, because the instructions in this case did not rise to the level of plain error or manifest injustice, we affirm

BACKGROUND

¶ 2 "We recite the facts from the record... in the light most favorable to the jury's verdict." State v. Verde, 770 P.2d 116, 117 (Utah 1989) (citations omitted); accord State v. Powell, 872 P.2d 1027, 1028 (Utah 1994). In early 1999, Casey was involved in a relationship with Tresa Franz. On April 12, 1999, Casey and his friend, Terron Allred, met Franz at her home, where the three consumed some alcohol. Casey then drove Franz, Franz's four-year-old son, and Allred to tow Franz's truck to a friend's house. After dropping off the truck, Casey stopped at a liquor store where Franz purchased a bottle of rum. Though Franz and Allred had "a swig" of the rum, Casey consumed most of the bottle. Intoxicated, Casey became belligerent, and he and Franz began arguing. When Franz asked Casey to take her home, Casey refused, laughing at her and threatening to kill her.

¶ 3 Following this threat, Casey drove over to Tiffany Ribe's house, located in Salt Lake City. Once there, Casey got out of the vehicle and spoke with Ribe and others while Allred, Franz, and her child remained in the vehicle. When Casey returned to the vehicle, Allred got out to speak with Ribe, and Casey and Franz began arguing again. As Casey entered the driver's side of the vehicle, he reached behind the seat and grabbed a handgun from a camera bag. During the argument, Franz asked Casey if he was ready to go home. Casey responded, "F* * * you, bitch. I'm going to take you home alright," and pointed the gun at Franz's neck.

¶ 4 Observing Casey pointing the weapon at Franz, Ribe went over to the vehicle and told Casey to leave. Casey lowered the gun, apologized to Ribe, and agreed to leave. As Allred was getting back in the vehicle, Franz fled into Ribe's house for a few minutes. Franz returned to the vehicle, however, when she realized that her son was still in the back seat.

¶ 5 With Franz and Allred back in the vehicle, Casey began to pull out of Ribe's driveway. Casey and Franz began arguing again, and just after they pulled out of the driveway, Casey pointed the handgun at Franz's head. He pulled the trigger, but the handgun misfired; both Franz and Allred testified that they heard the click of the hammer when Casey pulled the trigger.1 Casey then pointed the gun at Franz's feet and successfully fired a round, which lodged in the floor of the vehicle. Once again, Casey pointed the gun at Franz's head. This time, Franz grabbed Casey's arm, pushed it away, and jumped out of the moving vehicle. As Franz jumped, Casey fired one more time. In total, Casey fired two shots from the gun in addition to the one misfire.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 6 In August, 1999, following a three-day trial, a jury convicted Casey of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and domestic violence in the presence of a child. On the last day of trial, the court conducted a brief discussion with Casey's defense counsel and the prosecutor concerning the jury instructions. The court noted that "[t]he State had submitted jury instructions [and] the defense had not." Additionally, the court noted that Casey's

82 P.3d 1109
defense counsel "had indicated he had no exceptions to the instructions offered by the State." When the court asked whether either side would be requesting any additional instructions, Casey's defense counsel responded in the negative. These uncontested jury instructions were submitted to the jury

¶ 7 Prior to sentencing, Casey's trial counsel filed a motion to withdraw. The trial court granted the motion and referred the matter to the Legal Defenders Association, which, in turn, referred the case to a conflict attorney. On November 22, 1999, Casey's new counsel filed his appearance. This new counsel subsequently filed a motion on January 5, 2000, to vacate the convictions. In this motion, Casey's new counsel presented for the first time the argument that the jury was improperly instructed regarding attempted murder. On January 31, 2000, the trial court first sentenced Casey on his convictions and then heard argument regarding the motion to vacate. The trial court treated the motion to vacate as a motion for a new trial, which it denied on February 4, 2000. On February 10, 2000, Casey appealed his convictions to the court of appeals.

¶ 8 Before the court of appeals, Casey argued, among other things, that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on the elements of attempted murder. See State v. Casey, 2001 UT App 205, ¶ 7, 29 P.3d 25. He asserted that his conviction for attempted murder should be reversed because "the jury was improperly instructed that the required mental state was `intentionally or knowingly.' "Id. Following a discussion of our holdings in State v. Maestas, 652 P.2d 903 (Utah 1982), and State v. Vigil, 842 P.2d 843 (Utah 1992), the trial court concluded that "Vigil explicitly allows a conviction [for attempted murder] for a `knowing' mental state under" the "intentionally or knowingly" alternative of the murder statute. Id. at ¶ 13; Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-203(1)(a) (1999).2

¶ 9 Casey filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with this court, challenging the court of appeals' decision solely on the issue of whether he was wrongly convicted of attempted murder because the jury instructions permitted the jurors to find him guilty if they determined he acted with an intentional or knowing state of mind. We have jurisdiction to review the decision of the court of appeals pursuant to section 78-2-2(3)(a) of the Utah Code. Utah Code Ann. § 78-2-2(3)(a) (2002).

ANALYSIS

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 10 On certiorari, we review the court of appeals' decision for correctness, giving its conclusions of law no deference. State v. James, 2000 UT 80, ¶ 8, 13 P.3d 576; State v. Galli, 967 P.2d 930, 937 (Utah 1998).

II. ATTEMPTED MURDER

¶ 11 On certiorari, Casey argues that a defendant cannot be convicted of attempted murder based merely on a "knowing" state of mind. In support of this position, he relies on State v. Vigil, 842 P.2d 843 (Utah 1992), wherein we interpreted the attempt statute3 to require intent. Based on that case, Casey argues that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on the elements of attempted murder when it included an attempted murder instruction based on the intentional or knowing alternative of the murder statute. The State argues that in Vigil we specifically permitted prosecutions for attempted murder based on the intentional or knowing alternative of the murder statute, see 842 P.2d at 848 n. 5, and that the trial court correctly instructed the jury on the elements of attempted murder.

¶ 12 We now hold that an attempted murder conviction requires proof that the defendant acted intentionally. We reach this

82 P.3d 1110
conclusion relying on the following authority: our previous cases, Utah's attempt statute (as distinguished from the Model Penal Code ("M.P.C.")), and authority from other jurisdictions. Before examining this authority, however, we will first identify the statutory elements of attempted murder.

A. The Elements of Attempted Murder

¶ 13 Attempt crimes are derivatives of completed crimes, and the express language of both the completed crime statute and the attempt statute determines the elements of the attempt crime. Thus, a conviction for attempted murder must satisfy the elements of the murder statute, with the obvious exception that the murder need not be completed, and the attempt statute.

¶ 14 The murder statute at issue in this case allows for a conviction if a person "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of another." Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-203(1)(a). Both "intentionally" and "knowingly" are defined by statute. One acts intentionally "when it is his conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result." Id. § 76-2-103(1) (1999). On the other hand, one acts knowingly "when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or the existing circumstances" and "aware that his conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result." Id. § 76-2-103(2). A defendant can be convicted of murder under either level of culpability.

¶ 15 To be convicted of attempted murder, however, additional and different elements must be shown under the attempt statute. The attempt statute states as follows:

(1) For purposes of this part a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if, acting with the kind of culpability otherwise required for the commission of the
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56 practice notes
  • State v. Apodaca, No. 20140774-CA
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • June 28, 2018
    ...most ‘knowing’ conduct also fits accurately within the statutory definition of ‘intentional’ conduct." State v. Casey , 2003 UT 55, ¶ 47, 82 P.3d 1106. Other than merely suggesting that it is reasonably likely that the jury would have acquitted him of aggravated robbery if it believed he di......
  • Jensen v. Sawyers, No. 20011023.
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • November 15, 2005
    ...obvious to the trial court; and evidence that the error affected the substantial rights of a party. State v. Casey, 2003 UT 55, ¶¶ 42-50, 82 P.3d 1106. ¶ 62 We are not persuaded that the trial court erred when it did not include within the text of its instructions on the elements of false l......
  • United States v. Hernandez-Montes, No. 15-40544
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 25, 2016
    ...v. State , 265 S.W.3d 473, 485 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2008, pet. granted), aff'd , 297 S.W.3d 330 (Tex.Crim.App.2009) ; State v. Casey , 82 P.3d 1106, 1117 n. 11 (Utah 2003) ; Baldwin v. Commonwealth , 274 Va. 276, 645 S.E.2d 433, 435 (2007) ; State v. Dunbar , 117 Wash.2d 587, 817 P.2d 1360,......
  • State v. Maestas, No. 20080508
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • July 27, 2012
    ...State v. Menzies (Menzies I), 845 P.2d 220, 224-25 (Utah 1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). 12. State v. Casey, 2003 UT 55, ¶ 40, 82 P.3d 1106 (internal quotation marks omitted). 13. Menzies I, 845 P.2d at 225. 14. State v. Dean, 2004 UT 63, ¶ 16, 95 P.3d 276. 15. State v. Munguia, 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • State v. Apodaca, No. 20140774-CA
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Utah
    • June 28, 2018
    ...most ‘knowing’ conduct also fits accurately within the statutory definition of ‘intentional’ conduct." State v. Casey , 2003 UT 55, ¶ 47, 82 P.3d 1106. Other than merely suggesting that it is reasonably likely that the jury would have acquitted him of aggravated robbery if it believed he di......
  • Jensen v. Sawyers, No. 20011023.
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • November 15, 2005
    ...obvious to the trial court; and evidence that the error affected the substantial rights of a party. State v. Casey, 2003 UT 55, ¶¶ 42-50, 82 P.3d 1106. ¶ 62 We are not persuaded that the trial court erred when it did not include within the text of its instructions on the elements of false l......
  • United States v. Hernandez-Montes, No. 15-40544
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • July 25, 2016
    ...v. State , 265 S.W.3d 473, 485 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2008, pet. granted), aff'd , 297 S.W.3d 330 (Tex.Crim.App.2009) ; State v. Casey , 82 P.3d 1106, 1117 n. 11 (Utah 2003) ; Baldwin v. Commonwealth , 274 Va. 276, 645 S.E.2d 433, 435 (2007) ; State v. Dunbar , 117 Wash.2d 587, 817 P.2d 1360,......
  • State v. Maestas, No. 20080508
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • July 27, 2012
    ...State v. Menzies (Menzies I), 845 P.2d 220, 224-25 (Utah 1992) (internal quotation marks omitted). 12. State v. Casey, 2003 UT 55, ¶ 40, 82 P.3d 1106 (internal quotation marks omitted). 13. Menzies I, 845 P.2d at 225. 14. State v. Dean, 2004 UT 63, ¶ 16, 95 P.3d 276. 15. State v. Munguia, 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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