State v. Knill

Decision Date22 December 1982
Docket NumberNo. 18122,18122
Citation656 P.2d 1026
PartiesThe STATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Francis Eugene KNILL, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtUtah Supreme Court

Marlynn Bennett Lema, Price, for defendant and appellant.

David L. Wilkinson, Atty. Gen., Salt Lake City, for plaintiff and respondent.

OAKS, Justice:

In this appeal from a jury conviction of auto theft, defendant urges error in the denial of his motions to produce evidence and to dismiss for failure of proof, and in the failure to afford him a timely preliminary hearing and a speedy trial. We affirm.

Defendant was stopped by a highway patrolman who had seen him driving at a high rate of speed and had determined by radio inquiry that the license plate on his vehicle corresponded to one that had been stolen. Defendant's driver's license did not match the vehicle's registration card, which was in the name of Eric Wychgram of Maryland. An insurance card in the car also bore Wychgram's name. The serial number on the car door did not match the registration card in the vehicle.

Defendant was taken before a justice of the peace on June 26, 1981, the day after his arrest. Bail was set, a preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 22, 1981, and defendant asked that counsel be appointed. Eric Wychgram was informed that his automobile had been recovered. He flew to Utah, completed the necessary paperwork to repossess it, and departed on July 6 to drive it home. Thereafter, defendant waived preliminary hearing, then sought and was granted remand to the justice court and thereafter transfer to the circuit court, where a preliminary hearing was held on September 10. Along the way, retained counsel replaced appointed counsel.

Defendant was arraigned on October 6, 1981. The court denied his motion to dismiss for failure to provide a timely preliminary hearing, and three days later denied his motion for the State to produce the stolen automobile for inspection. Defendant's motion to suppress the State's evidence was denied just before trial. On October 15, 1981, a jury convicted defendant of one count of theft under U.C.A., 1953, Sec. 76-6-404. During trial, the court denied defendant's motion to dismiss for the State's failure to prove that the automobile was stolen.

1. Defendant contends that the district court abused its discretion by denying the pretrial motion to produce the automobile. It is clear that a trial court is allowed broad discretion in granting or refusing discovery and inspection, U.C.A., 1953, Sec. 77-35-16(f), and its determinations on this subject will not be overturned on appeal unless the court has abused its discretion. State v. Sims, 30 Utah 2d 357, 360, 517 P.2d 1315, 1317 (1974), cert. denied, 417 U.S. 970, 94 S.Ct. 3175, 41 L.Ed.2d 1141 (1973); State v. Lack, 118 Utah 128, 134, 221 P.2d 852, 855 (1950). In this case, the automobile had been released from the prosecutor's possession and returned to its Maryland owner over three months before defendant demanded its production. Defendant's primary purpose for inspecting the car was presumably to show that the serial number on Wychgram's vehicle registration card did not match the number stamped on the automobile door, a fact that was uncontroverted by the State. There was no abuse of discretion in denying the defense motion to produce the automobile when it was no longer in the possession of the State and when there was no showing of its evidentiary significance to the defense. State v. Stewart, Utah, 544 P.2d 477 (1975); Stuart v. State, Okla.Cr., 522 P.2d 288, 293 (1974).

2. Error is also claimed to flow from the denial of defendant's motion to dismiss for the State's failure to identify the stolen automobile, as required in State v. Hall, 105 Utah 162, 167, 145 P.2d 494, 496 (1944). In that case, this Court stated:

Under the authorities, it is clear that the State must definitely identify the goods found in the defendant's possession as the goods which were charged to have been stolen before the jury may draw an inference of guilt based upon the proof of possession by the defendant of such goods.

That rule was not violated in this case. Although the serial numbers on the registration card and on the vehicle door did not match, and only the card number was registered in Wychgram's name, the prosecution's evidence explained these discrepancies and established that the automobile was stolen from Wychgram. Wychgram testified that the difference in numbers was due to replacement of the original doors with doors from another vehicle. He also testified that before trial he personally verified that the numbers on the registration card and underneath the automobile matched. Additionally, the registration card and insurance card found in the automobile were in Wychgram's name, and numerous custom modifications of the automobile matched Wychgram's testimony of changes he had made. In light of this evidence, the district court obviously did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to dismiss.

3. Defendant also argues that his conviction be reversed because the preliminary examination was not held within ten days as required by U.C.A., 1953, Sec. 77-35-7(c). 1 Defendant's preliminary examination was set for July 22, 1981, twenty-six days after his initial appearance before the committing magistrate. However, defendant waived this preliminary examination on July 17. Having done so, he is now estopped from objecting to the timeliness of the examination. State v. Freeman, 93 Utah 125, 132, 71 P.2d 196, 200 (1937).

Thereafter, defendant moved for remand to the magistrate for a preliminary examination. The motion was granted. Defendant contends that the ten-day limitation then commenced to run a second time and was violated. We disagree. The ten-day direction in Sec. 77-35-7(c) only applies "[i]f the defendant does not waive a preliminary examination." 2 Since this defendant initially waived his preliminary examination, the statutory ten-day direction was inapplicable to any subsequent examination.

4. Defendant further contends that he was denied a speedy trial under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Utah. Both guarantee the right to a speedy trial. U.S. Const. amend. VI; Utah Const. art. I, Sec. 12. 3 Whether the federal right has been violated is determined by balancing the "[l]ength of delay, the reason for the delay, the defendant's assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant." Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182,...

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  • State v. Hawkins
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • January 22, 2016
    ...assertion of his right, and [4] the prejudice to the defendant." Barker, 407 U.S. at 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182 ; see also State v. Knill, 656 P.2d 1026, 1029 (Utah 1982) (adopting Barker 's four-part balancing test). ¶ 71 "The length of the delay is to some extent a triggering mechanism. Until the......
  • State v. Mickelson
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • December 31, 1992
    ...to adequately prepare his defense. A trial court is granted broad discretion to admit or deny discovery under this rule. State v. Knill, 656 P.2d 1026, 1027 (Utah 1982). However, we will not hesitate to find such an abuse, and reverse the lower court's ruling on the matter, when the court's......
  • State v. Lairby
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • December 31, 1984
    ...whether defendant asserted his or her right to a speedy trial, and whether defendant was prejudiced by the delay. Accord State v. Knill, Utah, 656 P.2d 1026, 1029 (1982). The continuances, except for those on the court's own motion due to a crowded calendar, were stipulated to by defendants......
  • State v. Banks
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1986
    ...514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972), and adopted by this Court in State v. Hafen, 593 P.2d 538 (Utah 1979). See also State v. Knill, 656 P.2d 1026 (Utah 1982). In Barker, the Supreme Court adopted a balancing test in which the conduct of both the prosecution and the defendant are weig......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Utah Standards of Appellate Review – Revised [1]
    • United States
    • Utah State Bar Utah Bar Journal No. 12-8, October 1999
    • Invalid date
    ...Whether the trial court properly granted or denied a motion for discovery is reviewed for abuse of discretion. See State v. Mill, 656 P.2d 1026,1027 (Utah 1982). (7) Rule 18 - Selection of jury. Whether the trial court properly granted or denied a motion to dismiss a juror for cause is revi......

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