State v. Brickey

In State v. Brickey, 714 P.2d 644 (Utah 1986), the Court determined that State refiling of a dismissed charge is limited by due process protections of the Utah Constitution. See Utah Const. art. I, 7. The Court held that after a magistrate has dismissed a charge for insufficient evidence, state due process forbids refiling the same charge unless the State "can show that new or previously unavailable evidence has surfaced, or that other good cause justifies refiling." Brickey at 647. In Brickey, the Court focused on a balancing of two important interests: (1) a prosecutor's right to freely prosecute, and (2) due process protections of the accused. Id. The Court indicated that Oklahoma's procedural approach best achieved the proper balance among these competing interests. Id. The Court noted that "courts have had occasion to scrutinize the exercise of the broad discretion accorded prosecutors, and that scrutiny has revealed that the prosecutor's good faith is a fragile protection for the accused." Id. To curb the potential for abuse of this discretion, we required prosecutors, "whenever possible, to refile charges before the same magistrate who does not consider the matter de novo, but looks at the facts to determine whether new evidence or changed circumstances are sufficient to require a reexamination." Id. Therefore, the Court adopted the Oklahoma approach that prohibits a "prosecutor from refiling criminal charges earlier dismissed for insufficient evidence unless the prosecutor can show that new or previously unavailable evidence has surfaced or that other good cause justifies refiling. " Id.