State of Utah v. Spaulding

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State v. Spaulding. Filed November 4, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Michael W. Spaulding,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981437-CA

November 4, 1999
  1999 UT App 324


First District, Brigham City Department
The Honorable Ben H. Hadfield

Justin Bond, Brigham City, for Appellant
Jan Graham and Scott Keith Wilson, Salt Lake City, and John D. Sorge, Brigham City, for Appellee


Before Judges Greenwood, Davis, and Jackson.


Spaulding pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a traffic offense. He asserts he was subjected to double jeopardy in violation of Utah Code Ann. § 76-1-402(1) (1999) for being prosecuted separately for possession of methamphetamine. We disagree.

"A defendant may be prosecuted in a single criminal action for all separate offenses arising out of a single criminal episode." Utah Code Ann. § 76-1-402(1) (1999). A "single criminal episode" is defined as "all conduct which is closely related in time and is incident to an attempt or an accomplishment of a single criminal objective." Id. at § 76-1-401 (1999). It is undisputed that the first requirement, "related in time," was met. However, we agree with the trial court that the offenses for which Spaulding pleaded guilty and the one for which he was prosecuted do not satisfy the second prong, "accomplishment of a single criminal objective." In State v. Keppler, 976 P.2d 99 (Utah Ct. App. 1999), involving a fact situation which closely parallels this case, defendant pleaded guilty to possessing paraphernalia and was then charged with possessing methamphetamine. Id. at 99. This court rejected defendant's double jeopardy claim because the legislature made possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine separate offenses and therefore did not establish the "same criminal objective prong." Id. at 100. For the same reason, Spaulding's possession of drug paraphernalia and the traffic offense cannot be considered the "same criminal objective" as his charge for possession of methamphetamine.

Similarly, Spaulding's possession of marijuana and possession of methamphetamine cannot be considered part of the same "criminal objective." Though the offenses are charged under the same general statute, they involve different subsections because they concern different drugs. Proof of Spaulding's possession of marijuana would not sustain a conviction for possession of methamphetamine and vice versa. Furthermore, in Keppler, 976 P.2d at 100, this court cited approvingly to cases from other jurisdictions concluding the statutory prohibition against multiple punishments for the same conduct does not preclude separate conviction for simultaneous possession of certain drugs. See People v. Manarrez, 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 247, 250 (Cal. Ct. App. 1998) (determining defendant was properly charged separately under same code section for simultaneously possessing heroin and cocaine); Cunningham v. State, 567 A.2d 126 (Md. Ct. 1989) (concluding defendant was correctly charged separately under same code section for simultaneously possessing heroin and cocaine); State v. Delfino, 490 N.E.2d 884 (Ohio 1986) (determining defendant was properly charged separately under same code section for simultaneously possessing cocaine and marijuana). Accordingly, Spaulding has not been subjected to double jeopardy.


Pamela T. Greenwood,
Associate Presiding Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge

Norman H. Jackson, Judge