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State v. Burr

Supreme Court of Utah

December 21, 2018

State of Utah and Utah County, Appellees,
v.
Isaac Burr Appellant.

          On Direct Appeal Fourth District, Provo The Honorable Lynn W. Davis No. 141402499

          Neil Skousen, Orem, for appellant

          Sean D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Jeanne B. Inouye, Asst. Solic. Gen., William M. Hains, Asst. Solic. Gen., Salt Lake City, for appellee State of Utah

          M. Cort Griffin, Provo, for appellee Utah County

          Associate Chief Justice Lee authored the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Durrant, Justice Himonas, Justice Pearce, and Justice Petersen joined.

          OPINION

          LEE, ASSOCIATE CHIEF JUSTICE

         ¶1 After Isaac Burr was released from jail on misdemeanor charges he received an invoice from Utah County seeking reimbursement for the costs of his incarceration. By then Burr's criminal case had been closed. But he sought to file a motion in the closed criminal action. His motion asked the judge in the criminal case to "vacate" the county's invoice. The judge denied the motion and Burr filed this appeal.

          ¶2 We vacate and dismiss on jurisdictional grounds. We hold, for reasons explained below, that the district court lacked jurisdiction to entertain Burr's motion because he failed to identify any basis for reopening the final judgment entered in the criminal case (or for vacating an invoice issued by a nonparty to the criminal proceedings). And we vacate the district court's decision and dismiss the appeal on this basis.

         I

         ¶3 The original charges against Burr included one count of dealing in materials harmful to a minor and three counts of stalking. These charges were set forth in an information filed in August of 2014. In October of 2014 Burr pled guilty to two reduced misdemeanor counts-one count of attempted dealing in materials harmful to a minor and one count of stalking. He also waived the statutory time for sentencing and signed onto a joint sentencing recommendation.

         ¶4 The court sentenced Burr to 365 days in jail on each of these two counts but suspended the jail time. It also imposed a fine of $5, 000 (which was also suspended), put him on probation for 24 months, and ordered that he be released from custody after 30 days. Neither the State nor Burr sought a restitution order in the criminal proceedings-and no such order was entered.

         ¶5 Burr was released from jail on November 7, 2014. A few days later the Utah County Sheriff's Office sent him an invoice for $3, 171.58-the claimed cost of his stay in the Utah County Jail. About a month later Burr filed a motion in the district court under the case number for his criminal case. He styled the motion as one seeking to "vacate" the county's invoice. And he argued, in support of the motion, that the invoice was invalid in the absence of a court order of restitution, that the amount of the invoice should be reduced under factors set forth in the Crime Victims Restitution Act (CVRA), and that the denial of his right to assert those factors violated his due process and other constitutional rights. The district court denied the motion.

         ¶6 In so doing the district court held that jurisdiction "remain[ed]" because Burr "brought the motion pursuant to Utah Code § 76-3-201(6)."[1] And it denied Burr's motion on the merits. The court first concluded that the pay-to-stay statute was self-executing-that Utah County was entitled to bill Burr for the costs of his incarceration even absent a restitution order on the matter. It also concluded that the amount of the invoice could not be reduced on the basis of the factors set forth in the CVRA. And it declined to reach Burr's constitutional arguments, concluding that any constitutional challenge was "premature" because no attempt had yet been made to collect on the invoice.

         ¶7 Burr seeks to challenge these determinations on this appeal. He raises both statutory and constitutional objections to the district court's conclusions. First he challenges the district court's determination that the "pay-to-stay" statute, Utah Code section 76-3-201(6)(a), is self-executing. Burr views this provision as requiring a court order-as in a restitution proceeding-to provide a legal basis for the county to impose the pay-to-stay ...


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