State v. Rogers, 052120 UTCA, 20180842-CA

Docket Nº:20180842-CA
Opinion Judge:APPLEBY, Judge:
Party Name:State of Utah, Appellee, v. Daniel Bagley Rogers,
Attorney:Sarah J. Carlquist, Attorney for Appellant Sean D. Reyes and Nathan H. Jack, Attorneys for Appellee
Judge Panel:Judge Kate Appleby authored this Opinion, in which Judges Jill M. Pohlman and Ryan M. Harris concurred.
Case Date:May 21, 2020
Court:Court of Appeals of Utah
 
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2020 UT App 78

State of Utah, Appellee,

v.

Daniel Bagley Rogers,

No. 20180842-CA

Court of Appeals of Utah

May 21, 2020

Third District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Richard D. McKelvie No. 171908224

Sarah J. Carlquist, Attorney for Appellant

Sean D. Reyes and Nathan H. Jack, Attorneys for Appellee

Judge Kate Appleby authored this Opinion, in which Judges Jill M. Pohlman and Ryan M. Harris concurred.

APPLEBY, Judge:

¶1 After a string of burglaries and related thefts, police arrested Daniel Bagley Rogers and a codefendant (Codefendant). The State charged Rogers with four counts of burglary, four counts of theft, and one count of possession of another's identification documents. Of these, Rogers was charged as a party1 on five total counts. After a jury trial, Rogers was acquitted of one count of burglary and convicted on the remaining counts.

¶2 Rogers now appeals, arguing the district court erred when it denied his motion to dismiss, under the due process clause of the Utah Constitution, based on the State's negligent destruction of evidence. He also argues the court erred when it denied his motion for directed verdicts because of insufficient evidence on one count each of theft and possession of another's identification documents. We conclude the court did not err in denying these motions, and accordingly affirm.

BACKGROUND2

¶3 On June 26, 2017, police responded to a burglary call at a house in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, just below the state capitol building in the Marmalade District (Marmalade Burglary and Theft). An officer observed the front door had been "pried and kicked open," and was disfigured with "large pry marks" and a shoe print, which was "visible to the naked eye." On a subsequent walkthrough of the house, the owners noticed a number of items were missing from the top of a dresser in their bedroom. Among other things, these included several pairs of sunglasses, a pearl necklace, and a ring. After the walkthrough, a neighbor provided the owners and an officer video footage, as well as a still image taken from the video, of a person who had been recorded on the neighbor's doorbell security camera earlier that day. Based on the behavior seen in the video, the officer suspected the individual was involved in the burglary. At trial, the neighbor identified Rogers as the person in the video and in the still image. An expert in footwear comparison also testified that the shoe print on the front door was the same size and had the same sole pattern as a pair of Rogers's shoes.

¶4 On June 30, 2017, a nurse returned to her apartment in central Salt Lake City (Central City Burglary and Theft). She entered through the locked back door and did not notice anything unusual for a number of minutes until she walked by the front door. The front door was "closed but it just didn't look right." The door frame was "splintered," "broken on the inside, . . . right down to the brickwork," and the door had multiple dents on the edge. After concluding "someone had kicked in [her] front door," the nurse went outside to look around. She saw two police officers working on an unrelated assignment and after explaining her suspicion that someone had broken down her front door the officers agreed to take a look. One officer observed "pry marks . . . along the door jam," which he attributed to "some kind of pry tool."

¶5 Although on the night of the break-in the nurse did not notice anything had been taken, over the next couple of days she realized several things were missing. These included three identification cards, two checkbooks, and a distinctive ring with a Celtic knot design that she had purchased on a trip to Scotland with her late husband.

¶6 On July 3, 2017, a grandmother went inside her house after spending the day weeding in her backyard (Arlington Hills Burglary and Theft). After lying down on her bed to take a nap, she awakened to "a clinking noise" caused by "a man standing in front of [her] dresser . . . messing around with [her] jewelry." The man was Caucasian, clean shaven, and wearing a red long-sleeved shirt, light colored baggy sweatpants, and a dark baseball cap turned backward. After the grandmother observed the man for about thirty seconds, he ran from the house, jumped into the passenger's side of a car, and left.

¶7 An inventory of the grandmother's jewelry revealed that several items were missing, including a diamond engagement ring, a sapphire wedding band, a gold anniversary band, a gold and diamond watch, a blue topaz and diamond ring, a silver ring with an amber stone, a silver ring with the Greek alphabet, a silver and turquoise ring, and another watch.

¶8 Also on July 3, 2017, a retiree returned to her house in the Capitol Hill area of Salt Lake City after running errands and discovered her front door frame was "all over [the] floor" inside the house (Capitol Hill Burglary and Theft). A cursory search revealed that a computer tablet was missing. The retiree called the police, and the responding officer observed that the front door "looked like it had been pried open with some sort of a crowbar." The retiree and the officer proceeded to track the stolen tablet by using a locator program that had been installed on another computer.

¶9 The locator program pointed police to a fast food restaurant in South Salt Lake. The officer contacted South Salt Lake's dispatch and requested that officers be sent to the scene to search for the individual in possession of the stolen tablet. The suspect was described as "a white male, tall, bald wearing a red long-sleeved shirt."

¶10 A South Salt Lake officer (Officer) responded to the call. After circling the restaurant parking lot and surrounding neighborhood, Officer returned to the parking lot where he saw Rogers, who matched the description of the suspect given to him by the dispatcher, standing next to the driver's side of a vehicle. As Officer approached the vehicle, Rogers began to walk toward the restaurant and the driver of the vehicle-Codefendant- whom Officer also recognized, quickly followed. Officer turned on his lights and Rogers stopped but Codefendant ran; Officer was unable to stop him. Officer exited his vehicle, and as he approached Rogers, he noticed that Rogers was wearing multiple rings on his fingers, including one with a "Celtic knot band."

¶11 Officer eventually searched the vehicle beside which Rogers had been standing and from which Codefendant had fled. There was a "very large amount of property in the car," including a crowbar and "six to eight" backpacks full of various items. Among other things, the backpacks contained laptops, checkbooks, jewelry, and identification cards. Some of this property-including the identification cards-belonged to the nurse and had been taken during the Central City Burglary and Theft. The computer tablet belonging to the retiree that the police had been tracking also was in a backpack. Additionally, the backpacks contained various pieces of mail, some addressed to Rogers and some addressed to Codefendant.

¶12 As part of his investigation, Officer removed each piece of property from the vehicle and "spread [it] out" on the hood of his car and photographed it. For the property he was able to identify, Officer invited the victims to come to the restaurant parking lot where he "immediately returned" the property to them. The rest of the property was thrown back into the vehicle at random. Later, as Officer was impounding the car, he used his body camera to inventory the property that remained in the car. As the result of an administrative oversight, the body camera footage of the inventory was retained only for 180 days and erased prior to trial. Officer did not make a complete written inventory of the items he found in the vehicle.

¶13 The State charged Rogers with ten counts, one of which was later dismissed. Of the nine remaining, Rogers was charged with four counts of second-degree felony burglary, one count of second-degree felony theft, three counts of class-A misdemeanor theft, and one class-A misdemeanor count for possession of another's identification documents (Identification Possession Charge). Rogers was charged as a party for the Arlington Hills Burglary and Theft, the Capitol Hill Burglary and Theft, and the Identification Possession Charge stemming from the Central City break-in.

¶14 At trial, the State called the grandmother to testify about the value of the diamond engagement ring and the sapphire wedding band stolen in the Arlington Hills Burglary and Theft. She explained that the rings had been appraised for insurance purposes, and their combined appraisal value was $12, 500. Rogers objected to this testimony, arguing that the grandmother was "relying on hearsay information from appraisers to ascribe value." The district court sustained the objection and instructed the jury to "disregard those figures" and "not to consider" that testimony as evidence of the value of the rings. Later, on redirect, the State asked again about the insurance policy. After "not[ing]" another objection by Rogers, the court stated, "I will direct the jury to consider that this insurance policy amount is not to be considered as an accurate value of the jewelry, only that they insured their jewelry for that amount, whether it's accurate as to the real value is not to be determined by that."

¶15 Officer also testified for the State. After eliciting testimony from Officer that the body camera footage of the inventory of Codefendant's vehicle had been lost, Rogers moved to dismiss the case based on Officer's "bad faith destruction of evidence." The district court denied the motion, concluding the footage had been lost "simply because [Officer] didn't know . . . that...

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