State v. Mohi

901 P.2d 991 (1995)

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State v. Mohi

Utah Supreme Court
901 P.2d 991 (1995)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Asipeli Mohi, Phillip Lundquist, and Daniel Chaides (defendants) were all under the age of 18 when they allegedly committed specified felony crimes, such as causing death with a firearm or aggravated burglary. The state prosecutor (plaintiff) chose to file criminal charges directly in adult court rather than file civil petitions in juvenile court pursuant to Utah’s direct-file statute (§ 78-3a-25). The minors would otherwise qualify for juvenile jurisdiction. The direct-file statute contained no guidance to inform prosecutorial discretion as to when similarly situated minors should be charged as adults. Without direct filing, juvenile courts had the ability to transfer or “certify” a minor into the adult system, considering 13 statutory factors. Through motion practice, Mohi, Lundquist, and Chaides argued that § 78-3a-25 violated a section of Utah’s constitution entitled “uniform operation of laws” (the uniform-operation provision). Under the uniform-operation provision, laws of a general nature were to operate in a uniform fashion as to different classes of persons. The minors’ motions were denied, and appeals followed. The appeals were consolidated for review by the Utah Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Durham, J.)

Dissent (Russon, J.)

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