District Court, Cedar City Department The Honorable Keith C.
Barnes No. 141500275
W. Sessions, Attorney for Appellant
D. Reyes and Jeffrey D. Mann, Attorneys for Appellee
Michele M. Christiansen authored this Opinion, in which
Judges Jill M. Pohlman and Diana Hagen concurred.
During an interview with police, Defendant Christopher Young
confessed to sexually abusing Victim. The State charged
Defendant with three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a
child, three counts of sodomy on a child, and one count of
rape of a child, all first degree felonies. Before trial,
Defendant filed a motion to suppress his confession, which
the trial court denied.
A jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court
sentenced him to fifteen years to life on each of the three
aggravated sexual abuse of a child counts, twenty-five years
to life on each of the three sodomy on a child counts, and
twenty-five years to life on the rape count. The court
ordered that the sexual abuse sentences run concurrent with
each other, that the sodomy sentences run concurrent with
each other but consecutively to the sexual abuse sentences,
and that the rape sentence run consecutively to the sexual
abuse and sodomy sentences. Defendant contends that the trial
court erred in denying his motion to suppress and abused its
discretion in sentencing him to consecutive sentences. We
In April 2014, officers with the Cedar City Police Department
transported Defendant to the police station, where a
detective interviewed Defendant regarding allegations that he
had sexually abused Victim over the course of several years.
According to Defendant, when he was initially approached by
the police officers, they told him that "there was
something wrong with [his] family and to come with
The interview began at 9:26 a.m. and was recorded by audio
and video. The detective began the interview by assuring
Defendant that his family was safe. The detective told
Defendant, "First of all, [the officer] said you were
worried. So I want to let you know, your family is
safe." Defendant replied, "Okay." The
detective repeated that Defendant's family was
"okay" and told Defendant that he could
"relax, [and] put [his] mind at ease in that
The detective then gave Defendant a written waiver of rights
form, which set forth Defendant's Miranda
rights. See generally Miranda v.
Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). The detective asked
Defendant to look over the form, and Defendant read and
signed the form. The detective asked Defendant, "You
understand each of those parts of that, fully?"
Defendant replied, "Yes."
The detective began his questioning by asking Defendant about
his family and work situation. When talking about his work,
Defendant mentioned that he had worked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
the previous night, and he once stated that he was
"[v]ery tired." Approximately twenty minutes into
the interview, Defendant confessed to lying naked in bed with
Victim, and he thereafter confessed to several other
instances of sexual abuse. The interview lasted approximately
two hours and included several breaks.
¶7 The State charged Defendant with three counts of
aggravated sexual abuse of a child, three counts of sodomy on
a child, and one count of rape of a child, all first degree
felonies. Before trial, Defendant moved to suppress his
confession on the ground that it was involuntary, and he
requested an evidentiary hearing. The parties stipulated to
allow the trial court to review the video recording of
Defendant's interview before the hearing.
Both the detective and Defendant testified at the hearing.
Following the hearing, Defendant filed a memorandum in
support of his motion. Defendant set forth six facts and
cited several cases discussing the voluntariness of
confessions; however, he failed to explain with any
specificity why his confession was involuntary. The trial
court concluded that Defendant's confession had been
voluntarily made and denied Defendant's motion to
suppress. The court determined that Defendant had
voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waived his
Miranda rights, that the detective had "clearly
explained that [Defendant's] family was safe and okay
prior to the conversation concerning the waiver of
[Defendant's] rights, " and that "[t]he facts
do not support [the detective] using deception, physical
abuse, threats, promises, or deprivation of food, medical
treatment, or sleep to coerce [Defendant's]
A jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court
ordered Defendant to cooperate with Adult Probation and
Parole in completing a presentence investigation report (the
PSI Report). The PSI Report contained information about
Defendant, such as his life history, criminal history,
rehabilitative needs, education, and employment. The PSI
Report recommended that Defendant be sentenced to a term of
twenty-five years to life for each of the three sodomy on a
child counts and for the rape of a child count, and fifteen
years to life for each of the three sexual abuse of a child
counts. It did not include a recommendation regarding whether
Defendant's sentences should run concurrently or
consecutively. The PSI Report also recommended that Defendant
be ordered to pay a $10, 000 fine for each of the sodomy and
sexual abuse counts and $2, 139.49 of restitution to Victim
for her treatment costs.
At sentencing, Victim's mother read a letter from Victim
and also addressed the court herself. The State briefly
discussed the negative impact Defendant's actions had had
on Victim and requested that the court "run at least two
of those charges consecutively with one . . . another."
Defendant's trial counsel discussed Defendant's
"lack of criminal history" and the fact that,
before Defendant was arrested, he was "hard-working and
helped support his family." Trial counsel asked
"that the Court run these matters concurrently . . .
with each other." Defendant also addressed the court,
expressing remorse for his actions.
The trial court sentenced Defendant to fifteen years to life
on each of the three aggravated sexual abuse of a child
counts, twenty-five years to life on each of the three sodomy
on a child counts, and twenty-five years to life on the rape
count. The court ordered that the sexual abuse sentences run
concurrent with each other, that the sodomy sentences run
concurrent with each other but consecutively to the sexual
abuse sentences, and that the rape sentence run consecutively
to the sexual abuse and sodomy sentences. In ...