Utah Teen Charged as an Adult for Drug Deal Murder

The trial has been set for a Utah teen charged as an adult for shooting an 18 year old over a drug deal.

Minor drug transaction

Photo by: frankieleon

In February 2017, 17 year old Issac NacDaniel Patton went to the home of 18 year old Tristan Mogedam to purchase marijuana. During the transaction, Patton brandished a firearm and demanded anything else Mogedam had to offer. Patton then fired several shots at Mogedam as the young drug dealer attempted to retreat inside his residence. One of those shots struck Mogedam in the back, piercing his heart. Mogedam was later pronounced dead.

Gang ties

The sale of marijuana between the 17 and 18 year old was a minor transaction, causing authorities to wonder why it escalated to shots being fired. Patton later told police that he was in a gang and thought the young drug dealer was in a rival gang. Since the crime was gang related, charges against Patton were enhanced.

Charged as an adult

Due to the nature of the charges against Patton as a minor, his case was sent to district court and he was officially charged as an adult with his name going public. Utah Code 78A-6-701 states “The district court has exclusive original jurisdiction over all persons 16 years of age or older charged with an offense that would be murder or aggravated murder if committed by an adult.” Patton is also facing other felony charges:

  • aggravated robbery, another first degree felony;
  • second degree felony discharge of a firearm, and
  • third degree possession of a firearm by a restricted person.

Along with the murder charge, Patton’s other first degree felony and second degree felony would also qualify him as a serious youth offender as stated in Section 78A-6-702 meaning he would be charged as an adult. His four day trial in Salt Lake 3rd District Court is set for January 28, 2020.

Adult crimes

Many teens falsely assume their young age grants them immunity against prison time. Any parents with teens who have committed crimes in which they could be charged as an adult should consult immediately with a juvenile defense attorney who preferably handles cases in district court as well.

Salt Lake City Kids Trespassing at School Charged After Being Turned in by Parents

Several Salt Lake City kids trespassing at a school were charged with burglary and fleeing police after being turned in by their parents.

Missing school already

Photo by: haven’t the slightest

A passerby of Edison Elementary School in Salt Lake City alerted police when they observed several kids climbing a ladder to access the roof of the school just before midnight. Police responded and were able to apprehend most of the kids while a few ran off. Soon after the kids who ran came back accompanied by their parents. Authorities discovered the teens had broken a skylight on the roof to access the interior of the building and once inside, had stolen electronic items.The kids who were trespassing at the school after hours and during the off season were charged with burglary. The ones who ran and were caught by the police or their parents were charged with fleeing police.

Trespassing vs burglary

Although the kids had committed trespassing at the school, they were charged instead with burglary.

  • Trespassing – Utah Code 76-2-206 states “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, under circumstances not amounting to burglary . . . the person enters or remains unlawfully on . . . property and intends to cause annoyance or injury to any person or damage to any property, including the use of graffiti .. . [or] intends to commit any crime, other than theft or a felony”. Since the kids did commit a theft, the trespassing charges are enhanced to burglary.
  • Burglary– According to Utah Code 76-6-202,”An actor is guilty of burglary who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or any portion of a building with intent to commit [a crime such as] a felony [or] a theft”.

Trespassing on building other than a dwelling is a class B misdemeanor. If someone trespasses and steals something, that is burglary and is punished as a third degree felony.

Tough lesson

The teens were booked into a juvenile detention center where they await the repercussions of their actions.It is not known if the kids arrested for burglary had a previous criminal history or if this was just a poor decision made from summer boredom mixed with too much freedom and peer pressure. Regardless, they would greatly benefit from being represented by an experienced juvenile defense attorney.

Utah Juvenile Case Goes Public

A Utah juvenile who was charged with choking an elderly woman while she played the organ at church will now have his case be viewed to the public.

The crime

A 71 year old woman was playing the organ at church late one night in November when someone came up behind her, choking her to the point of unconsciousness. Five months later, DNA evidence left at the scene by the suspect was linked to family members through a DNA database. With the linked DNA, investigators were able to track down a 17 year old boy and charge him with multiple felonies, including aggravated assault.

Juvenile cases and the public

When a juvenile commits a crime, the public may hear about the crime through news outlets when the story is deemed “newsworthy” or when reporters are grasping for any story during a dull week. Usually this information only contains the age of the juvenile and the details of the crime committed. Once the case goes to court, those proceedings are typically closed to protect unless the teen is charges as an adult. This protects the juvenile from public scorn and retaliation while increasing the teen’s chances at rehabilitation and turning instead to a crime free life.

Juvenile case goes public

The judge over the 17 year old boy’s aggravated assault case has decided to let the case go public. What this means:

  • News reporters will be allowed to view and document the public hearing; and
  • Witness testimonies will become public knowledge;

Since it is still in juvenile courts:

  • The teen’s name will still be withheld in an attempt to protect the court proceedings; and
  • No pictures will be taken of the juvenile defendant.

Pros and cons

When a juvenile case goes public, there is always the worry that the public proceedings will have a detrimental effect on the youth. On the contrary, having the case publicized could stop false accusations from surfacing from a public who are drawing their own conclusions while in the dark. Teens facing charges should consult with their attorney about the pros and cons of having a case go public, while knowing their legal counsel will do everything in their power to protect the teens still growing reputation and future.

Teenage Girl Charged With Arson and Damage Of Utah Churches

An 18 year old teenage girl has been charged with arson for arson and damage to multiple churches in Orem, Utah.

Arson and damage to churches

Photo by: Joe Lodge

Two churches in Orem, Utah were damaged by an individual who broke doors and wrote satanic messages in permanent marker. Additionally, someone had poured gasoline in or near both of the churches yet only one had been set on fire. Police were able to quickly extinguish the small fires found within the single church. While attempting to locate the individual responsible, police located 18 year old Jillian Robinson of Lindon, Utah who was in possession of a permanent marker, burglary tools, gasoline, and a lighter. Police determined Robinson to be the one responsible after her possessions matched those possibly used to damage and commit arson to the churches. While originally denying her involvement, Robinson later admitted to police that she was angry and did not target the church specifically.

Arson and other charges

Robinson was booked into the Utah County jail on charges of arson, burglary, possessing burglary tools as well as criminal mischief. Utah Code 76-6-102 states “A person is guilty of arson if, under the circumstances not amounting to aggravated arson, the person by means of fire or explosives unlawfully and intentionally damages . . . the property of another.” Arson is a second degree felony if the damages of the event exceeds $5,000 in value. The damage caused by Robinson is said to be estimated around $600,000. Beyond the second degree arson charge, the 18 year old Robinson is also facing a third degree felony burglary charge as well as additional charges for possessing the burglary tools and criminal mischief.

Dealing with police

Photo by: Scott Davidson

Robinson has already admitted to her crimes and will need a good criminal defense lawyer as she prepares to have her case heard before a judge. Teens and young adults such as Robinson should be educated of their options prior to and following an arrest to avoid unnecessarily incriminating themselves. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • The released information about Robinson’s case does not include whether she consented to a search of her backpack containing the incriminating items or if officers claimed there was reasonable suspicion to suspect her of a crime. Teens should know when they are dealing with police that they have the right to state their lack of consent to a search without getting in the way of police who will search anyway.
  • Records indicated that Robinson agreed to make an incriminating statement to police about her involvement in the arson. It doesn’t state whether or not she agreed to the statement on her own or while accompanied by an attorney. Many young adults and especially teens do not realize that they have the right to request an attorney before they talk to police. Being represented by an attorney will help teens ensure they are being treated fairly and not admitting to more than they should.

Parents of teens and young adults are encouraged to educate their youth on their rights when dealing with police. Being prepared with this knowledge could help teens if they ever should face charges.

Expungement of Juvenile Records in Utah

The past can’t be changed, however it need not be revealed with expungement of juvenile records in Utah. Juvenile court records can be sealed, without ever having to be mentioned again. The crime is not cleared, but repercussions do not need to follow the youth into adulthood.

Juvenile crimes

Photo by: Flazingo Photos

There it is – that “yes/no” box on college applications and job applications following the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor?” or “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Older teens and young adults trying to get a job or get into college may wonder when the mistake they made when they were younger will ever be resolved. For anyone still marking “yes” for a crime that happened when they were a juvenile, there is a way to change the “yes” to a “no”.

Expungement of records

Expunging is the same as sealing the record. The court clerk places the records in an envelope, seals it, and writes “do not open unless ordered by a court”. Only the person that committed the crime can have the court order the envelope to be opened. The court looks on the expunged juvenile record as never having occurred.

Requirements for expungement

According to Utah Courts, In order for records to be expunged, the courts must be petitioned. The petitioner must be at least 18 years old, and fulfilled their sentence at least one year prior. The petitioner must not have been charged as an adult nor involved in any moral turpitude. All restitution must have been made. In addition the petitioner has to exhibit rehabilitation. If the expungement is ordered by the court, it is the petitioner’s duty to file with all pertinent agencies.

Time to move on with life

After having the records expunged, that pesky “yes/no” box asking if an older teen has committed a crime will no longer hold them back unless they commit another crime. A good defense lawyer can help open the doors to a different life for a teen with criminal regrets – One where the “yes/no” box can be marked no and the childhood mistake need not be a detriment any longer.