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State v. Younge, 2013 UT 71 (November 22, 2013) 

Nov 22, 2013

In 2000, four years after an unsolved sexual assault case, state prosecutors filed information identifying the unknown attacker by his DNA profile only. Two years later, the attacker’s DNA sample was matched with an individual incarcerated in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, the State filed amended information adding that individual’s name. In February 2009, charges pending in Illinois against the defendant were dropped. Utah requested extradition, and he was booked into Salt Lake County jail in March 2009. He was convicted at a jury trial nine months later. On appeal, the defendant challenged his conviction on statute of limitations and speedy trial grounds. First, the Utah Supreme Court determined it did not need to address the statute of limitations issue because the information filed in 2000 was valid and filed within the applicable statute of limitations. The court reasoned that even though the defendant was not identified by name in the initial information, identification by DNA profile was sufficient. Moreover, the court determined the defendant’s due process right to notice was not violated because a statute of limitations is “not a source of constitutional liberties,” id. ¶ 15, and notice is not required before a prosecution is commenced. Second, the court determined the defendant’s right to a speedy trial was not violated. It weighed four factors set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court: “[l]ength of delay, the reason for the delay, the defendant’s assertion of his right, and prejudice to the defendant.” Id. ¶ 17 (alteration in original) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). It concluded that his right to a speedy trial was not violated because even though the length of delay between the filing of the information and trial was “extraordinary,” the remaining factors weighed in the State’s favor.