State v. Young

Decision Date17 March 1993
Docket NumberNo. 890424,890424
Citation853 P.2d 327
PartiesSTATE of Utah, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. David Franklin YOUNG, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtUtah Supreme Court

R. Paul Van Dam, Sandra L. Sjogren, Salt Lake City, for plaintiff and appellee.

Nancy Bergeson, Karen Stam, Joan C. Watt, Salt Lake City, for defendant and appellant.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT: 1

Defendant David Franklin Young was convicted of first degree murder and theft and was sentenced to death. He appeals from the convictions and from the imposition of the death penalty. We reverse the convictions and remand for a new trial. We also hold that the trial court committed reversible error in the penalty phase.

Chief Justice Hall wrote the lead opinion, which is the opinion of the court in parts III, V, VII, VIII, IX, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, and XIX. He dissents from the result reached by the majority; he would affirm the convictions and the sentence. Justice Howe concurs in the Chief Justice's opinion. Justice Durham writes separately. Justices Stewart and Zimmerman each concur in part in the Chief Justice's opinion, concur in part in Justice Durham's opinion, and write separately. Justices Durham, Stewart, and Zimmerman conclude that the trial court erred in both the guilt and penalty phases of Young's trial.

I. GUILT PHASE

The court rejects most of Young's challenges to his convictions. We hold that (1) Utah's death penalty statute is constitutional (part II of the Chief Justice's opinion and part I of Justice Zimmerman's opinion); (2) the trial court properly denied Young's motion to strike the jury panel (part III of the Chief Justice's opinion); (3) the process of death qualification of the jury is proper (part IV of the Chief Justice's opinion and part II of Justice Zimmerman's opinion); (4) the court properly allowed the prosecution to use its peremptory challenges to dismiss jurors who expressed hesitation about the death penalty (part V of the Chief Justice's opinion); (5) the court properly dismissed a juror challenged by the prosecution for cause (part VII of the Chief Justice's opinion); (6) Young was not prejudiced by the admission of any improper evidence in the guilt phase (part VIII of the Chief Justice's opinion); (7) the reasonable doubt instruction was sufficient (part IX of the Chief Justice's opinion); (8) Young was not prejudiced by any statements made by the prosecutor during his opening statement and during his questioning of a witness (part XI of the Chief Justice's opinion); and (9) the conviction for theft did not merge with the murder conviction (part XIX of the Chief Justice's opinion).

Justice Durham dissents from the first and third holdings listed above; she would hold that Utah's death penalty statute is unconstitutional and that death qualification results in a jury biased in favor of prosecution. 2 See parts VI and VIII of her opinion. Justices Zimmerman and Stewart concur in the result reached by Chief Justice Hall on these points. See parts I and II of Justice Zimmerman's opinion and the introduction to Justice Stewart's opinion.

The court reverses the conviction, however, because the trial court erred in failing to dismiss for cause one of the jurors challenged by Young and because the trial court improperly refused to allow the jury to consider a possible verdict of guilty and mentally ill. These errors require the court to order a new trial. See parts IV and VII of Justice Durham's opinion, parts III and IV of Justice Zimmerman's opinion, and the introduction to Justice Stewart's opinion. Chief Justice Hall and Justice Howe dissent from these holdings. See parts VI and X of Chief Justice Hall's opinion.

II. PENALTY PHASE

The court also holds that the trial court committed reversible error during the penalty phase. First, we reject most of Young's claims of error. We hold that (1) the trial court acted within its discretion when it ordered Young to be shackled during portions of the penalty phase (part XII of the Chief Justice's opinion); (2) the court properly allowed the prosecutor to introduce evidence in the penalty phase of additional aggravating circumstances that were not charged or proven in the guilt phase (part XIII of the Chief Justice's opinion); (3) the court properly admitted into evidence portions of a pro se answer Young submitted in a civil suit arising out of the killing (part XIV of the Chief Justice's opinion); (4) the court properly allowed the prosecutor to present rebuttal argument at the penalty hearing (part XVI of the Chief Justice's opinion); (5) the court properly instructed the jury to arrive at a verdict based solely on the evidence presented at the trial and not on sentiment, conjecture, sympathy, etc. (part XVII.A of the Chief Justice's opinion); (6) the court properly rejected Young's proffered instruction that would have specifically informed the jury that it could consider sympathy (same); (7) the court properly instructed the jury on the two-pronged Wood standard 3 (part XVII.B of the Chief Justice's opinion); (8) the other instructions given the jury were correct (parts XVII.C and .D of the Chief Justice's opinion); and (9) the penalty verdict forms were adequate (part XVIII of the Chief Justice's opinion).

Justices Durham and Zimmerman dissent from the first holding above. See part I of Justice Durham's opinion and part V of Justice Zimmerman's opinion.

Justice Stewart dissents from the second and fourth holdings. He concludes that the prosecution is not entitled to present rebuttal argument at a penalty phase hearing. He would further hold that the prosecution may not introduce evidence of an additional statutory aggravating factor at the penalty hearing that it did not prove at the guilt phase. See parts III and IV of his opinion.

Justices Stewart and Durham dissent from the fifth and sixth holdings of the court. They would hold that the trial court erred both in giving the antisympathy instruction and in refusing to give Young's proffered instruction. See part III of Justice Durham's opinion and part I of Justice Stewart's opinion.

Justice Stewart also dissents from the court's seventh holding, that the instruction on the Wood standard was adequate. See part II of his opinion.

However, we conclude that the trial court erred in the penalty phase by refusing to allow Young to address the jury before it began deliberations on the penalty verdict. We hold that this violated Young's statutory right of allocution. See part II of Justice Durham's opinion, part VI of Justice Zimmerman's opinion, and the introduction to Justice Stewart's opinion. Chief Justice Hall and Justice Howe dissent from this holding. See part XV of Chief Justice Hall's opinion.

HALL, Chief Justice:

Defendant appeals his convictions for first degree murder 1 and theft 2 and the sentence of death imposed for the murder conviction. Defendant was charged with murdering Ember K. Mars and stealing her pickup truck. A jury convicted defendant of both charges, finding that the homicide was committed in the course of a rape or an attempted rape and for personal or other pecuniary gain. After a separate hearing, the trial court found that defendant had been previously convicted of a felony involving violence against a person. Following a four-day penalty phase hearing, the jury returned a verdict of death on the first degree murder conviction. At formal sentencing, the trial court imposed the death sentence as well as an additional sentence of one to fifteen years in the state prison and a $10,000 fine for the theft conviction. Defendant raises numerous issues on appeal.

I. FACTS

On August 18, 1987, defendant met Ember Mars and her friends Angela Johnson and Gene Butcher at the Flying J truckstop in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Mars' invitation, defendant joined them at their table. When the group left, defendant asked if he could accompany them to Butcher's apartment to take a shower. Butcher consented, and they proceeded in Mars' truck to pick up Johnson's car before travelling on to the apartment.

Mars and defendant arrived at Butcher's apartment shortly after the others. After playing cards, Butcher and Johnson decided to lie down in the bedroom. When Johnson awoke at about 7:50 a.m., the stereo was still playing and defendant's suitcase was still in the living room, but defendant and Mars were gone. Angela became worried about Mars and called her home every ten to thirty minutes for the remainder of the day.

Defendant and Mars were later seen at Ream's market, where Mars was a regular customer. Defendant selected a video, while Mars purchased some items. Mars wrote a check to pay for the purchase. They left the store together.

Randy Powell, Mars' roommate, returned home about 5 p.m. on August 19, 1987. He noticed that the back screen door was open. On entering the house, he saw a brown paper bag on the table and an open drawer. He saw Mars' jeans and shirt lying in the middle of the living room floor. Powell went into his bedroom, where he found Mars' body. He called the police.

Upon arrival, the police found Mars' partially nude body on the floor in the bedroom. She had what appeared to be four or five stab wounds in her neck and a large amount of blood on the left side of her head. The police found blood in both bedrooms of the house, in the bathroom, and on a towel in the living room. They found a broken, bloody clothing iron on the bed next to the body. In the other bedroom, they found a large black vase wedged between the bed and the wall next to some bloody tissues.

The medical examiner testified that the cause of death was injury to the head by a blunt and sharp object. In addition, there were three stab wounds in the left side of the neck that did not cut any major blood vessels or penetrate the spinal canal, stab wounds in the right neck and chest that did not sever major blood vessels, facial injuries indicating attempted suffocation, and bruises on the back of...

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    ...24 C.J.S. Criminal Law § 2048 & nn. 6–8 (2014) (no separate constitutional right of allocution); see also State v. Young 853 P.2d 327, 360 & n. 177 (Utah 1993) (citing cases that hold allocution is a statutory right); 6 WAYNE R. LAFAVE ET AL., CRIMINAL PROCEDURE § 26.4(g) & nn. 133–34 (2013......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Chapter 10 Capital Cases
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Wrongful Conviction: Law, Science, and Policy (CAP) 2019
    • Invalid date
    ...qualification tend to be less solicitous of a defendant's due process rights and significantly more eager to convict; see State v. Young, 853 P.2d 327, 389 (Utah 1993) (Durham, J., dissenting); (2) death qualification disproportionately excludes blacks and women, groups who statistically ha......
  • Deadly 'toxins': a National Empirical Study of Racial Bias and Future Dangerousness Determinations
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    • Invalid date
    ...("Any evidence the court considers to have probative force may be received regardless of its admissibility . . . ."); State v. Young, 853 P.2d 327, 353 (Utah 1993) ("A jury may legitimately consider a defendant's character, future dangerousness, lack of remorse, and retribution in the penal......

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