State of Utah, in the interest of J.F.,

Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest of J.F., a person under eighteen years of age., Case No. 20000925-CA, Filed March 8, 2001 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS


State of Utah, in the interest of J.F.,
a person under eighteen years of age.

State of Utah,



(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 20000925-CA

March 8, 2001 2001 UT App 77 -----

Eighth District Juvenile, Duchesne Department
The Honorable Larry A. Steele

J.F., Roosevelt, Appellant Pro Se
Mark L. Shurtleff and Laura B. Dupaix, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Jackson, Bench, and Davis.


J.F. appeals the juvenile court's ruling finding him guilty of Impersonating a Public Officer, in violation of Utah Code Ann. § 78-8-512 (1999). This case is before the court on a sua sponte motion for summary disposition.

J.F. claims he was denied the right to a full and fair adjudication because the court omitted or excluded entry of relevant evidence. The record and trial transcript contain no ruling excluding evidence, and J.F. identifies no specific item of evidence that he alleges was excluded. In fact, J.F. called no witnesses, offered no evidence, and chose not to testify. Accordingly, we conclude there is no record support for a claim that the trial court excluded relevant evidence.

The only evidence before the trial court was the unrebutted testimony of Officer Hansen. The evidence demonstrated that J.F. stopped vehicles at Union High School in Roosevelt, claimed to be a Bureau of Indian Affairs security officer, asked for driver's licenses, wrote down license numbers, and gave verbal warnings. The only defense theory alluded to during cross-examination and argument was a claim that J.F. was an officer in the Ute Tribe Search and Rescue and should not be cited for "impersonating" an officer. However, questions and argument are not evidence.(1) Nevertheless, the trial court specifically ruled that J.F. exceeded any authority he possessed as a search and rescue officer by stopping vehicles to exercise a traffic control function. This ruling was supported by evidence that (1) the Ute Tribe Search and Rescue has no law enforcement authority within Roosevelt City; (2) J.F. had no authority from the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Ute Tribe to conduct the traffic patrol; (3) J.F. was authorized by the Ute Tribe only to observe outside the building to look for fights or disturbances and to report them to a tribal security officer in the building, who would communicate with Roosevelt Police; and (4) the identification used by J.F. was not issued by the Ute Tribe. Under the circumstances, the ruling that J.F. impersonated a public officer is not "clearly erroneous." See Utah R. Civ. P. 52(a) (stating a trial court's findings of fact will not be set aside unless "clearly erroneous"); see also State v. Walker, 743 P.2d 191, 193 (Utah 1987) (stating findings will be set aside only if "against the clear weight of the evidence, or if the appellate court otherwise reaches a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made").

We affirm the judgment.

Norman H. Jackson,
Associate Presiding Judge

Russell W. Bench, Judge

James Z. Davis, Judge

1. Statements after the close of evidence by an unidentified speaker who claimed to be the commander of the Ute Tribe Search and Rescue were also not evidence because this speaker was not called as a witness and his testimony was not offered by J.F. The court's admonition to that speaker was not a ruling excluding evidence.