State v. Houston, 2015 UT 40 (March 13, 2015)
Mar 13, 2015
The defendant, who was 17 at the time of the crime, pled guilty to aggravated murder in exchange for the prosecution dropping other charges and agreed to a sentencing hearing by jury to determine his sentence that would range between 20 years and life. The jury returned a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The boy made a number of constitutional challenges to his sentence. The prosecution countered that he failed to preserve those challenges. The court held that Rule 22(e) of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure can be used to challenge the sentence regardless of whether the challenge was properly preserved for appeal, because “an illegal sentence is void and, like issues of jurisdiction [may be raised] at any time.” The court denied his constitutional challenges on other grounds.