Certiorari to the Utah Court of Appeals Third District, Salt
Lake The Honorable Ann Boyden No. 101900677
D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Jeanne B. Inouye, Asst. Solic.
Gen., Salt Lake City, for respondent
Pierson, Salt Lake City, for petitioner.
Justice Himonas authored the opinion of the Court, in which
Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice
Pearce, and Judge Johnson joined.
her retirement, Justice Durham did not participate herein;
District Court Judge Christine Johnson sat.
Justice Petersen became a member of the Court on November 17,
2017, after oral argument in this matter and accordingly did
While Mr. Legg's appeal of the revocation of his
probation was in process, he completed the sentence the
revocation required and was released from prison. Despite the
presence of two of its prior decisions with contradictory
holdings, the court of appeals then dismissed Mr. Legg's
case as moot because of his release. This case presents two
issues for our review. First, we must determine whether the
court of appeals acted appropriately when it overturned these
prior decisions. Second, we must decide whether collateral
legal consequences are presumed when an appeal from a
probation revocation has otherwise become moot or whether a
defendant will be required to show actual collateral legal
We conclude that the court of appeals has the same authority
to overturn its own precedent as this court and, moreover,
acted appropriately in overturning its prior precedent in
this case. Additionally, in a well-reasoned and thoughtful
opinion, the court of appeals concluded that collateral legal
consequences won't be presumed when an appeal from a
probation revocation has otherwise become moot. State v.
Legg (Legg II), 2016 UT App 168, ¶ 25, 380
P.3d 360. We agree with the court of appeals on both issues
and therefore affirm their decision to dismiss Mr. Legg's
appeal as moot.
Mr. Legg pled guilty in two separate cases to one count each
of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person
and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, both
third-degree felonies. The district court sentenced Mr. Legg
in both cases to the Utah State Prison for the indeterminate
term of zero to five years. The court then suspended the
prison sentences and placed Mr. Legg on probation for a
period of twenty-four months. The court ordered the prison
commitments and the periods of probation to run concurrently
to one another. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Legg's probation
was revoked in both cases for three probation violations,
requiring him to serve out his prison sentences. Mr. Legg
appealed the district court's decision to revoke his
probation in both cases. The court of appeals upheld the
district court's findings on one of the probation
violations but found that the district court had insufficient
evidence in the record to support the other two findings of
probation violations. The court of appeals then remanded the
cases to the district court to determine if there was
sufficient evidence to support the other two probation
violations and to "reassess whether, under all of the
circumstances, [Mr.] Legg's probation should be
On remand, the state dropped the two probation violations
that the court of appeals said were not yet supported by
sufficient evidence. The district court determined that the
single probation violation upheld by the court of appeals was
sufficient to warrant revoking Mr. Legg's probation. The
district court therefore upheld the probation revocations in
both of Mr. Legg's cases. Mr. Legg then filed an appeal
in one case arguing that the district court erred by
not making evidentiary determinations on the two probation
revocations, as mandated by the court of appeals. During the
pendency of the second appeal, Mr. Legg completed his
sentence and was released from prison.
The court of appeals determined that Mr. Legg's appeal
was moot and dismissed his case. Legg II, 2016 UT
App 168, ¶ 46, 380 P.3d 360. To reach this conclusion,
the court of appeals overturned two of its prior cases
(State v. Warner, 2015 UT App 81, 347 P.3d 846, and
State v. Allen, 2015 UT App 163, 353 P.3d 1266), and
concluded that adverse legal consequences aren't presumed
in probation revocation cases. Legg II, 2016 UT App
168, ¶¶ 41-42. Additionally, the court of appeals
found that Mr. Legg had been unable to set forth any actual
adverse legal consequences he suffers as a result of his
probation revocation. Id. ¶ 46.
Mr. Legg appeals this decision, arguing that the court of
appeals erred in two respects. First, Mr. Legg contends that
the court of appeals was incorrect in overturning its prior
precedent under horizontal stare decisis. Second,
Mr. Legg asserts that the court of appeals was incorrect in
dismissing his case as moot because he was able to assert
both presumed and actual collateral legal consequences. We
have jurisdiction under Utah Code section 78A-3-102(5).
"On certiorari, we review the decision of the court of
appeals for correctness, giving no deference to its
conclusions of law." State v. White, 2011 UT
21, ¶ 14, 251 P.3d 820. "[A]ppellate courts review
the issue of mootness de novo." Cedar Mountain
Envtl., Inc. v. Tooele Cty. ex rel. Tooele Cty.
Comm'n, 2009 UT 48, ¶ 7, 214 P.3d 95
(alteration in original) (citation omitted).
COURT OF APPEALS CAN OVERTURN ITS PRIOR DECISIONS USING THE
In Legg II, 2016 UT App 168, 380 P.3d 360, the court
of appeals overruled two of its prior decisions: State v.
Warner, 2015 UT App 81, 347 P.3d 846, and State v.
Allen, 2015 UT App 163, 353 P.3d 1266. Mr. Legg argues
that the decision to overrule ...