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State v. Isaacson

Court of Appeals of Utah

January 6, 2017

State of Utah, Appellee,
v.
Douglas Ewald Isaacson, Appellant.

         Third District Court, West Jordan Department The Honorable William K. Kendall No. 141400680

          Nathalie S. Skibine and Heather J. Chesnut, Attorneys for Appellant.

          Simarjit S. Gill and Colleen K. Magee, Attorneys for Appellee.

          Judge Michele M. Christiansen authored this Memorandum Decision, in which Judge Gregory K. Orme concurred. Judge J. Frederic Voros Jr. concurred in the result, with opinion.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION

          CHRISTIANSEN, Judge.

         ¶1 Douglas Ewald Isaacson (Defendant) appeals his conviction for one count of carrying a loaded and concealed dangerous weapon, a class A misdemeanor.[1] See Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-504(2) (LexisNexis Supp. 2013). We affirm.

         ¶2 In October 2013, the Draper City police received a tip from a local library that Defendant was carrying a concealed weapon and that the library staff knew he did not have a concealed-carry permit.[2] While en route to the library, the responding officers learned that Defendant had left the library and was likely headed to a nearby senior center. The officers found Defendant in the senior center's cafeteria. Defendant admitted to the officers that he had a gun concealed inside his jacket, and he allowed one of the officers to remove the gun from his jacket. The gun was fully loaded.

         ¶3 At a bench trial, Defendant stipulated that he did not have a concealed-carry permit. According to Defendant, he believed he did not need a concealed-carry permit because he had "a Second Amendment right to bear arms."

         ¶4 Before the first witness was called to testify, Defendant indicated that he planned to call two "reputation or . . . character witnesses." The State objected, observing that the witnesses were not present at the time the offense occurred and that their testimony "would not be relevant to proving the case as far as any of the elements that the State need[ed] to prove since they were not present." Defendant indicated that the witnesses would be testifying as to his reputation for truthfulness and his "comprehension abilities and propensities related to the concealed carry permit law and also relating to carrying a weapon." The trial court reserved ruling on the issue.

         ¶5 One of the responding police officers testified for the State, and a body-camera video was introduced and admitted into evidence. The video showed that Defendant was carrying a concealed gun inside his jacket. Based on this evidence and the testimony presented at trial, the court found that the gun was fully loaded and could be fired "simply by pulling the trigger one time."

         ¶6 Defendant testified that he had taken the concealed-carry class twice but that he had never obtained a concealed-carry permit. He also testified that he did not have a holster to carry his gun. Defendant further testified regarding his limited finances, explaining that he had "economized" to purchase his gun and to pay for the concealed-carry classes.

         ¶7 After Defendant testified, he again asked to call the two witnesses to testify regarding his reputation for truthfulness. The trial court ruled that the witnesses could not testify because "there ha[d] been no attack on [Defendant's] reputation for truthfulness and so pursuant to the rule it would be hearsay to have any witness come in and testify further about [Defendant's] reputation for truthfulness." The court also ruled that further testimony concerning Defendant's "knowledge of needing a concealed weapons permit and his feeling on the law" was neither relevant nor admissible.

         ¶8 Ultimately, the trial court found Defendant guilty of carrying a loaded and concealed dangerous weapon, see Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-504(2) (LexisNexis Supp. 2013), and sentenced him to one year in jail. The court suspended Defendant's sentence, placed him on probation, ordered him to complete twenty-four hours of community service, and ordered him to pay a $100 recoupment fee. Defendant appeals.

         ¶9 On appeal, Defendant contends that "the court erred when it did not allow [him] to call two witnesses who would have testified about [his] character for truthfulness." We review a trial court's evidentiary rulings for an abuse of discretion and its interpretation of evidentiary rules ...


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