District Court, Salt Lake Department The Honorable Royal I.
Hansen No. 061903216
Taliaferro, Attorney for Appellant.
D. Reyes and Erin Riley, Attorneys for Appellee.
Michele M. Christiansen Forster authored this Opinion, in
which Judges David N. Mortensen and Diana Hagen concurred.
CHRISTIANSEN FORSTER, JUDGE.
Eugene Steven McNair pleaded guilty to rape, was sentenced to
prison, and did not appeal his conviction or sentence. Nearly
a decade later, McNair filed a motion to have the time to
file his direct appeal reinstated. The district court
concluded that McNair failed to establish that he was
prevented in any meaningful way from commencing a timely
appeal after he was sentenced. He appeals that decision, and
In 2006, the State charged McNair with rape, forcible sodomy,
and forcible sexual abuse. In November of that year, shortly
before trial was scheduled to begin, McNair and the State
entered into a plea agreement. That is, McNair agreed to
plead guilty to rape and, in exchange, the State agreed to
dismiss the two remaining charges.
In support of the plea agreement, McNair signed a plea
statement indicating he understood and acknowledged having
been advised of the facts and the rights set forth in that
statement. In the signed document, McNair admitted to having
sex with the victim without the victim's consent and that
his actions constituted rape. McNair accepted that, by
pleading guilty, his right to a direct appeal would be
limited and that he understood that an appeal of the sentence
needed to be filed within thirty days after entry of his
sentence. Further, McNair stated that he entered the plea
voluntarily and "of [his] own free will and
At the change-of-plea hearing, the district court asked
McNair's defense counsel if he had "discussed [the
change of plea]" and "gone over the statement of
defendant" with McNair. Defense counsel responded that
he had done both. Counsel also stated, "McNair does not
read, but I did read the document to him. We covered it
twice, once . . . yesterday and once today." Defense
counsel then affirmed that he was satisfied that McNair
understood the meaning and effect of the guilty plea.
The court asked McNair directly whether he understood
"what is being proposed here," and McNair
responded, "Yes." McNair further affirmed that he
discussed the plea agreement with his counsel and that
defense counsel had gone over the written plea statement with
him. Finally, McNair acknowledged that defense counsel had
read the written plea statement to him and that McNair
understood its terms. The court accepted McNair's guilty
plea to rape, finding that he entered the plea knowingly,
voluntarily, and of his own free will.
In January 2007, the court sentenced McNair to five years to
life in prison. After imposing the sentence, the court did
not again advise McNair of his right to appeal or the time
limit in which to file such an appeal. See Utah R.
Crim. P. 22(c)(1).
In 2016, McNair filed a motion requesting reinstatement of
his time to file a direct appeal. The district court ...