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H.B. 92





Chief Sponsor: Gage Froerer

Senate Sponsor: Todd Weiler

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Judicial Code regarding postconviction determinations of factual
             10      innocence.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    modifies provisions regarding financial assistance to a person found to have been
             14      wrongfully convicted, to provide that if the person dies, the financial assistance
             15      payment shall be paid to the person's surviving spouse; and
             16          .    provides that if the spouse has caused the death of the person by the commission of
             17      a disqualifying homicide, the survivor forfeits all right to payments.
             18      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             19          None
             20      Other Special Clauses:
             21          None
             22      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             23      AMENDS:
             24          78B-9-402, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2012, Chapter 220
             26      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             27          Section 1. Section 78B-9-402 is amended to read:

             28           78B-9-402. Petition for determination of factual innocence -- Sufficient
             29      allegations -- Notification of victim.
             30          (1) A person who has been convicted of a felony offense may petition the district court
             31      in the county in which the person was convicted for a hearing to establish that the person is
             32      factually innocent of the crime or crimes of which the person was convicted.
             33          (2) (a) The petition shall contain an assertion of factual innocence under oath by the
             34      petitioner[,] and shall aver, with supporting affidavits or other credible documents, that:
             35          (i) newly discovered material evidence exists that, if credible, establishes that the
             36      petitioner is factually innocent;
             37          (ii) the specific evidence identified by the petitioner in the petition establishes
             38      innocence;
             39          (iii) the material evidence is not merely cumulative of evidence that was known;
             40          (iv) the material evidence is not merely impeachment evidence; and
             41          (v) viewed with all the other evidence, the newly discovered evidence demonstrates
             42      that the petitioner is factually innocent.
             43          (b) The court shall review the petition in accordance with the procedures in Subsection
             44      (9)(b), and make a finding that the petition has satisfied the requirements of Subsection (2)(a).
             45      If the court finds the petition does not meet all the requirements of Subsection (2)(a), it shall
             46      dismiss the petition without prejudice and send notice of the dismissal to the petitioner and the
             47      attorney general.
             48          (3) (a) The petition shall also contain an averment that:
             49          (i) neither the petitioner nor the petitioner's counsel knew of the evidence at the time
             50      of trial or sentencing or in time to include the evidence in any previously filed post-trial motion
             51      or postconviction motion, and the evidence could not have been discovered by the petitioner or
             52      the petitioner's counsel through the exercise of reasonable diligence; or
             53          (ii) a court has found ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to exercise reasonable
             54      diligence in uncovering the evidence.
             55          (b) Upon entry of a finding that the petition is sufficient under Subsection (2)(a), the
             56      court shall then review the petition to determine if Subsection (3)(a) has been satisfied. If the
             57      court finds that the requirements of Subsection (3)(a) have not been satisfied, it may dismiss
             58      the petition without prejudice and give notice to the petitioner and the attorney general of the

             59      dismissal, or the court may waive the requirements of Subsection (3)(a) if the court finds the
             60      petition should proceed to hearing based upon the strength of the petition, and that there is
             61      other evidence that could have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence by
             62      the petitioner or the petitioner's counsel at trial, and the other evidence:
             63          (i) was not discovered by the petitioner or the petitioner's counsel;
             64          (ii) is material upon the issue of factual innocence; and
             65          (iii) has never been presented to a court.
             66          (4) If the conviction for which the petitioner asserts factual innocence was based upon
             67      a plea of guilty, the petition shall contain the specific nature and content of the evidence that
             68      establishes factual innocence. The court shall review the evidence and may dismiss the petition
             69      at any time in the course of the proceedings, if the court finds that the evidence of factual
             70      innocence relies solely upon the recantation of testimony or prior statements made by a witness
             71      against the petitioner, and the recantation appears to the court to be equivocal or selfserving.
             72          (5) A person who has already obtained postconviction relief that vacated or reversed
             73      the person's conviction or sentence may also file a petition under this part in the same manner
             74      and form as described above, if no retrial or appeal regarding this offense is pending.
             75          (6) If some or all of the evidence alleged to be exonerating is biological evidence
             76      subject to DNA testing, the petitioner shall seek DNA testing pursuant to Section 78B-9-301 .
             77          (7) Except as provided in Subsection (9), the petition and all subsequent proceedings
             78      shall be in compliance with and governed by Rule 65C, Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, and
             79      shall include the underlying criminal case number.
             80          (8) After a petition is filed under this section, prosecutors, law enforcement officers,
             81      and crime laboratory personnel shall cooperate in preserving evidence and in determining the
             82      sufficiency of the chain of custody of the evidence which is the subject of the petition.
             83          (9) (a) A person who files a petition under this section shall serve notice of the petition
             84      and a copy of the petition upon the office of the prosecutor who obtained the conviction and
             85      upon the Utah attorney general.
             86          (b) The assigned judge shall conduct an initial review of the petition. If it is apparent
             87      to the court that the petitioner is either merely relitigating facts, issues, or evidence presented in
             88      previous proceedings or presenting issues that appear frivolous or speculative on their face, the
             89      court shall dismiss the petition, state the basis for the dismissal, and serve notice of dismissal

             90      upon the petitioner and the attorney general. If, upon completion of the initial review, the court
             91      does not dismiss the petition, it shall order the attorney general to file a response to the petition.
             92      The attorney general shall, within 30 days after receipt of the court's order, or within any
             93      additional period of time the court allows, answer or otherwise respond to all proceedings
             94      initiated under this part.
             95          (c) After the time for response by the attorney general under Subsection (9)(b) has
             96      passed, the court shall order a hearing if it finds the petition meets the requirements of
             97      Subsections (2) and (3) and finds there is a bona fide and compelling issue of factual innocence
             98      regarding the charges of which the petitioner was convicted. No bona fide and compelling
             99      issue of factual innocence exists if the petitioner is merely relitigating facts, issues, or evidence
             100      presented in a previous proceeding or if the petitioner is unable to identify with sufficient
             101      specificity the nature and reliability of the newly discovered evidence that establishes the
             102      petitioner's factual innocence.
             103          (d) If the parties stipulate that the evidence establishes that the petitioner is factually
             104      innocent, the court may find the petitioner is factually innocent without holding a hearing. If
             105      the state will not stipulate that the evidence establishes that the petitioner is factually innocent,
             106      no determination of factual innocence may be made by the court without first holding a hearing
             107      under this part.
             108          (10) The court may not grant a petition for a hearing under this part during the period
             109      in which criminal proceedings in the matter are pending before any trial or appellate court,
             110      unless stipulated to by the parties.
             111          (11) Any victim of a crime that is the subject of a petition under this part, and who has
             112      elected to receive notice under Section 77-38-3 , shall be notified by the state's attorney of any
             113      hearing regarding the petition.
             114          (12) A petition to determine factual innocence under this part, or Part 3, Postconviction
             115      Testing of DNA, shall be filed separately from any petition for postconviction relief under Part
             116      1, General Provisions. Separate petitions may be filed simultaneously in the same court.
             117          (13) The procedures governing the filing and adjudication of a petition to determine
             118      factual innocence apply to all petitions currently filed or pending in the district court and any
             119      new petitions filed on or after June 1, 2012.
             120          (14) (a) As used in this Subsection (14), "spouse" means the legal relationship:

             121          (i) established between a man and a woman as recognized by the laws of this state; and
             122          (ii) existing at the time of the petitioner's death.
             123          (b) A claim for determination of factual innocence under this part is not extinguished
             124      upon the death of the petitioner. [The assistance payment provisions of Section 78B-9-405
             125      may not apply, and financial payments may not be made, if]
             126          (c) If any payments are already being made to the petitioner under this part at the time
             127      of the death of the petitioner, or if the finding of factual innocence occurs after the death of the
             128      petitioner[. In addition, any payments already being made under Section 78B-9-405 shall cease
             129      upon the death of the petitioner.], the payments due under Section 78B-9-405 shall be paid
             130      according to the schedule under Section 78B-9-405 to the petitioner's surviving spouse.
             131      Payments cease upon the death of the spouse.
             132          (15) The spouse under Subsection (14) forfeits all rights to receive any payment under
             133      this part if the spouse is charged with a homicide established by a preponderance of the
             134      evidence that meets the elements of any felony homicide offense in Title 76, Chapter 5,
             135      Offenses Against the Person, except automobile homicide, applying the same principles of
             136      culpability and defenses as in Title 76, Utah Criminal Code, including Title 76, Chapter 2,
             137      Principles of Criminal Responsibility.

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-25-13 4:28 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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