District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Todd M.
Shaughnessy No. 150903620
Michael P. Studebaker, Attorney for Appellant.
D. Reyes and Stanford E. Purser, Attorneys for Appellee.
Judges Stephen L. Roth, Michele M. Christiansen, and Jill M.
Larry Harmon appeals from the district court's order
dismissing his petition for extraordinary relief. We affirm.
When reviewing an appeal from an order dismissing a petition
for extraordinary relief, we accord no deference to the lower
court's conclusions of law but instead review them for
correctness. See Monson v. Carver, 928 P.2d 1017,
1022-23 (Utah 1996). However, generally decisions of the
Board of Pardons and Parole regarding paroles "are final
and are not subject to judicial review." Utah Code Ann.
§ 77-27-5(3) (Lexis Nexis Supp. 2016). Judicial review
is limited only to "the fairness of the process by which
the Board undertakes its sentencing function, " and does
not include review of the result. Lancaster v. Board of
Pardons, 869 P.2d 945, 947 (Utah 1994) (emphasis
Harmon initially argues that the rationale sheet used by the
Board of Pardons and Parole (Board) to memorialize its
decision concerning when to schedule Harmon's parole
review date was insufficient. Specifically, he seems to argue
that the preprinted rationale sheets, on which the Board
checks off the "mitigating" and
"aggravating" factors it deems relevant in making
the parole determination, did not provide a sufficiently
detailed explanation of the Board's actions to satisfy
due process. However, the Utah Supreme Court has previously
determined that the rationale sheets used by the Board to
explain its decisions are adequate and satisfy due process.
See Monson, 928 P.2d at 1031 ("While perhaps
not a perfect explanation of the Board's rationale, this
document [i.e., a rationale sheet] nonetheless satisfies the
Board's own requirement that it provide a written
explanation of the reasons for its decision."). To the
extent that Harmon complains that the Board failed to
"check-off" all of the mitigating factors he
believed were applicable, such an argument is not reviewable
because it pertains the substance of the Board's decision
as opposed to the "fairness of the process."
See Padilla v. Board of Pardons and Parole, 947 P.2d
664, 667 (Utah 1997).
Harmon next makes several arguments that are inadequately
briefed. "Since an appeal is a resort to a superior
court to review the decision of a lower court, Utah appellate
rules require the appellant to address reasons why the
district court's dismissal of his petition should be
overturned." Allen v. Friel, 2008 UT 56, ¶
14, 194 P.3d 903. "A brief is inadequate when it merely
contains bald citation[s] to authority [without] development
of that authority and reasoned analysis based on that
authority. As we have repeatedly noted, we are not a
depository in which [a party] may dump the burden of argument
and research." Smith v. Four Corners Mental
Health Center, Inc., 2003 UT 23, ¶ 46, 70
P.3d 904 (alterations in original) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). "An inadequately briefed claim
is by definition insufficient to discharge an appellant's
burden to demonstrate trial court error." Simmons
Media Group, LLC v. Waykar, LLC, 2014 UT App 145, ¶
37, 335 P.3d 885
Harmon has raised several arguments for which he fails to set
forth any legal reasoning or analysis to support the issues
raised. He argues that the district court applied the wrong
legal standard in analyzing the Board's motion to
dismiss. However, Harmon makes no effort to explain why the
standard set forth in the district court's analysis was
incorrect or how the district court incorrectly applied the
standard to the facts of the case. In so doing, Harmon has
failed to demonstrate any error on the part of the district
court. Similarly, Harmon argues that he should have been
advised that he had a right to seek private counsel to assist
him at his hearing before the Board. However, after
acknowledging that there is no right to appointed counsel at
a parole hearing, see Neel v. Holden, 886 P.2d 1097,
1103-04 (Utah 1994), Harmon fails to set forth any analysis
or legal citations to support his claim. Finally, Harmon
claims that the "Board acted in an arbitrary and
capricious manner as it relates to Mr. Harmon's continued
imprisonment." However, once again Harmon presents no
legal argument or analysis to support the contention.
Instead, he offers only broad conclusions in a single
four-sentence paragraph. By failing to adequately brief these
issues, Harmon has attempted to "dump ...