State of Utah v. Mattice

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State v. Mattice

2001 UT App 386



State of Utah,
Plaintiff and Appellee,


Mark Mattice,
Defendant and Appellant.

(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 991001-CA

(December 13, 2001)



Third District, Salt Lake Department
The Honorable Timothy R. Hanson

Catherine E. Lilly and Ronald S. Fujino, Salt Lake City, for Appellant
Mark L. Shurtleff and Kenneth A. Bronston, Salt Lake City, for Appellee


Before Judges Jackson, Orme, and Thorne.

ORME, Judge:

"Under current Utah law, a person who merely utters a forged instrument can be inferred to have had knowledge of the forgery." State v. Kihlstrom, 1999 UT App 289,¶13, 988 P.2d 949, cert. denied, 4 P.3d 1289 (Utah 2000). See State v. Williams, 712 P.2d 220, 223 (Utah 1985). Although we expressed concern in Kihlstrom about the propriety of "infer[ring] knowledge that an instrument is forged from its mere possession or uttering," 1999 UT App 289 at ¶13, we recognize that Williams is binding precedent and that we are bound by its holding. See id. at ¶¶11-13; State v. Clark, 2001 UT 9,¶18 n.4, 20 P.3d 300 (declining invitation to reconsider Williams).

Williams and its progeny establish that where a defendant fails to present any "evidence to controvert the logical inferences which could be drawn by the [fact finder], i.e., that without any explanation as to where he got the check or from whom, the defendant knew the check was forged," Williams, 712 P.2d at 223, evidence of an attempt to utter the forged instrument, alone, may be enough to eliminate any reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt. See id.; Kihlstrom, 1999 UT App 289 at ¶¶13-15.

In light of this authority, we cannot say the magistrate erred in relying on the same kind of evidence in concluding that the less stringent "probable cause" standard applicable to preliminary hearings had been satisfied. See Clark, 2001 UT 9 at ¶11 (explaining that "the [preliminary hearing] probable cause standard is . . . 'less than would prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt'") (citation omitted); Evans v. State, 963 P.2d 177, 182 (Utah 1998) (explaining that the evidence required to show probable cause at preliminary hearing stage is "relatively low").


Gregory K. Orme, Judge



Norman H. Jackson, Associate Presiding Judge

William A. Thorne, Jr., Judge