State of Utah v. Cravens

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State v. Cravens. Filed May 6, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Kurt Cravens,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981232-CA

May 6, 1999
  1999 UT App 156 -----

First District, Randolph Department
The Honorable Clint S. Judkins

A.W. Lauritzen, Logan, for Appellant
Jan Graham and James H. Beadles, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Wilkins, Bench, and Orme.


Appellant appeals his conviction of Driving under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), an enhanced third degree felony, in violation of Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44 (1998), following a bench trial. He asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of three prior qualified convictions required for enhancement. We affirm.

A "subsequent conviction for a violation committed within six years of two or more prior convictions under this section is a . . . third degree felony if at least three prior convictions are for violations committed after April 23, 1990." Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44(6)(a) (1998). A qualified prior conviction under this statute includes a DUI conviction as well as an alcohol-related reckless driving conviction. Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44(1)(a) (1998). A written, clear and definite judgment signed by the trial court is sufficient proof of a prior conviction. State v. Anderson, 797 P.2d 1114, 1117 (Utah Ct. App. 1990).

In the case at hand, the prosecution provided written, clear and definite documents signed by the appropriate judges, including (1) a minute entry reciting the conviction and sentence, (2) a judgment of conviction, and (3) a judgment, sentence (commitment), showing three apparent qualified convictions of appellant. Appellant challenges the use of these convictions on various grounds.

Utah courts place the initial burden on the appellant, not on the state, to produce some evidence that the prior conviction was improper, attaching a presumption of regularity, including a presumption of constitutionality, to the prior conviction. See State v. Triptow, 770 P.2d 146, 149 (Utah 1989); see also State v. Williams, 773 P.2d 1368, 1373-74 (Utah 1989) (state not required to show defendant was represented by counsel at prior trials where defendant produces no evidence that he was not represented and did not knowingly waive counsel to rebut presumption of regularity). The United States Supreme Court has expressly held that such a presumption of regularity does not violate a defendant's constitutional rights and that it is proper practice for a state to assign the initial burden of proof to a defendant who collaterally challenges the validity of a prior conviction. Parke v. Raley, 113 S. Ct. 517, 523 (1992).

Appellant completely fails in his burden to show that he was not advised of his right to have his own counsel and that he did not intelligently and voluntarily waive such right in connection with the first conviction. Similarly, appellant fails to demonstrate that the Layton record does not contain the information necessary under Utah Code Ann. § 41-6-44 (9)(a)(i), merely stating that the judgment and conviction and other forms submitted by the State are silent on the matter. Accordingly, he fails to rebut the presumption of regularity attaching to the Centerville and Layton convictions, and the convictions may be relied upon to support enhancement.

The third prior conviction was for a DUI entered in the Spanish Fork Circuit Court in 1996. Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the proof of the conviction, asserting, erroneously, that the judgment offered as proof was not signed by the judge. A brief review of the judgment reveals that it was, in fact, signed by the judge. As such, it is sufficient proof of conviction under Anderson.


Michael J. Wilkins,
Presiding Judge

Russell W. Bench, Judge

Gregory K. Orme, Judge