Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Garcia v. State

Court of Appeals of Utah

June 28, 2018

Mario Y. Garcia, Appellant,
v.
State of Utah, Appellee.

          Third District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Mark S. Kouris No. 150902335

          Mario Y. Garcia, Appellant Pro Se

          Sean D. Reyes and Andrew F. Peterson, Attorneys for Appellee

          Judge David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges Kate A. Toomey and Jill M. Pohlman concurred.

          OPINION

          MORTENSEN, JUDGE

         ¶1 Mario Y. Garcia began sexually abusing Victim when she was seven years old. After many years of repeatedly inflicting abuse upon her, Garcia admitted to his abhorrent acts. He subsequently was charged and pled guilty to his crimes. The district court sentenced Garcia to indeterminate prison terms of fifteen years to life on one charge and three years to life on another charge, to run consecutively. Garcia did not directly appeal the district court's judgment and order, and instead filed a petition for post-conviction relief. In response, the State filed a motion for summary judgment, which the post-conviction court granted, denying Garcia's petition in its entirety. Garcia now appeals the post-conviction court's grant of summary judgment on several bases. We reject his contentions and affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 Throughout her upbringing, Victim, who is now an adult, was sexually assaulted by Garcia. During that time, he forced her to perform sexual acts, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. After many years, Garcia confessed his recurring abuse of Victim to his wife, as well as his ecclesiastical leader. Soon thereafter, he also confessed to his immediate family, extended family, and a clinical psychologist. However, shortly after his admissions, Garcia began to threaten and harass those around him who found out about his sexual abuse of Victim. Garcia also sent Victim multiple text messages telling her that if she put him in prison she would be in trouble and that she "better think about" the fact that if he were to be imprisoned, no one would take care of his family.

         ¶3 Despite Garcia's attempts at intimidation, Victim reported his abuse and the State charged him with two counts of rape of a child, two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, two counts of sodomy on a child, two counts of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, and two counts of sexual abuse. Garcia pled guilty to two counts: rape of a child and attempted rape. He signed a plea affidavit explaining the crimes and acknowledging that his plea amounted to an admission; the court found his plea to be knowing and voluntary.[1]

         ¶4 Notwithstanding his plea, Garcia filed three handwritten, pro se motions in the months before his sentencing in an attempt to, in his words, "reduce" or dismiss his conviction.[2] Garcia filed his first motion with three affidavits[3] and argued that his sentence should be "reduced" or dismissed for six reasons: (1) both the prosecution and the defense overlooked "a significant amount of evidence"; (2) Garcia received excessive bail and an unconstitutionally lengthy pre-trial confinement; (3) the prosecution withheld "exculpatory evidence"; (4) the court lacked jurisdiction due to factual inaccuracies; (5) Garcia's defense counsel was ineffective for not seeking reduction in bail; and (6) Garcia's defense counsel was ineffective for failing to collect evidence. Garcia simultaneously filed his second motion, which reiterated all of these complaints. Four months later, Garcia filed his third motion, which attempted to withdraw his guilty plea based on similar arguments to those previously raised and add two additional claims: failure to procure a voluntary plea and failure to disclose the applicable statute of limitations.

         ¶5 Ultimately, the district court held a sentencing hearing. There, the district court acknowledged Garcia's handwritten, pro se motions and asked Garcia if there was "any other argument [he]'d like to make" on his motions prior to sentencing. Garcia responded, "[S]o just go ahead and sentence me, I mean, on whatever you feel in your heart right now." The district court commented on the enormity of Garcia's crimes and sentenced him to indeterminate prison terms of fifteen years to life on the first charge and three years to life on the second charge, to run consecutively. Garcia did not directly appeal the district court's judgment and order.

         ¶6 Instead, Garcia filed a petition for post-conviction relief. In his petition, he raises several claims, alleging once again that: (1) defense counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a statute of limitations defense; (2) defense counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately investigate-and for not properly preparing a defense-before pressuring Garcia to plead guilty; (3) Garcia's plea was not knowing and voluntary because he "was coerced [for] a number of reasons, including excessive bail, neglect, ineffective assistance of counsel, time coercion, threat[, ] and duress"; (4) "the prosecution failed to disclose to the defendant" the applicable statute of limitations, including "the approximate date of the occurrences of the allege[d] crimes, and the correct age of the allege[d] victim"; and (5) Garcia was denied the right to appeal.

         ¶7 The State countered by moving for summary judgment. The post-conviction court granted the State's motion and denied Garcia's petition in its entirety. The court ruled that claims two, three, and four were procedurally barred because Garcia had already raised them in his pro se motions during the criminal proceedings. It further determined that all five of the claims were meritless. Garcia now ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.