State of Utah v. Fuller

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State of Utah v. Fuller, Case No. 990930-CA, Filed August 9, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellant,


Linda Marjorie Fuller,
Defendant and Appellee.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 990930-CA

August 9, 2001 2001 UT App 240 -----

Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Robert K. Hilder

Mark L. Shurtleff and Jeanne B. Inouye, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Kent R. Hart and Scott C. Williams, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Bench, Billings, and Thorne.

BENCH, Judge:

The State appeals the trial court's order quashing Defendant's bindover. "The determination of whether to bind a criminal defendant over for trial is a question of law. Accordingly, we review that determination without deference to the court below." State v. Clark, 2001 UT 9,¶8, 20 P.3d 300 (internal citation omitted).

The trial court concluded that the State did not "present evidence sufficient for the magistrate to find probable cause that the defendant committed the crime of forgery." Our supreme court recently clarified the probable cause standard required to bind a defendant over for trial in State v. Clark, 2001 UT 9. In Clark the court held that "to prevail at a preliminary hearing, the prosecution must still produce '"believable evidence of all the elements of the crime charged."'" Id. at ¶15 (citations omitted). However, that evidence need not be "capable of supporting a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. The court further held that there is no distinction between the "arrest warrant probable cause standard and the preliminary hearing probable cause standard. . . . Therefore, at both the arrest warrant and the preliminary hearing stages, the prosecution must present sufficient evidence to support a reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it." Id. at ¶16; see also State v. Hawatmeh, 2001 UT 51,¶15, 26 P.3d 223.

The record indicates that the trial court in this case committed the same error as the trial court in Clark, by erroneously applying the directed verdict standard. Therefore, we review the case using the correct probable cause standard.

Under the arrest warrant probable cause standard, the State presented sufficient evidence to support the bindover. The State argues that the trial court erred in that it did not "view all evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution and . . . draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the prosecution." Id. at ¶10 (quotations and citation omitted). We agree. The evidence the State presented that Defendant presented a forged check to the bank is sufficient to infer knowledge of the forgery. See State v. Kihlstrom, 1999 UT App 289,¶13, 988 P.2d 949 ("Under current Utah law, a person who merely utters a forged instrument can be inferred to have had knowledge of the forgery."). Additionally, the State presented evidence through Detective Gruber's testimony that the Defendant could give no information about the person from whom she received the check, had no records of what she claimed was a business transaction, and could not corroborate her story about having an upholstery business. When viewed in a light most favorable to the prosecution, see Clark, 2001 UT 9 at ¶10, this evidence supports a "reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it." Id. at ¶16.

Accordingly, we reverse the order of the trial court quashing the bindover and remand for further proceedings consistent with our decision.

Russell W. Bench, Judge -----


Judith M. Billings, Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge