State v. Vigil

In State v. Vigil, 842 P.2d 843 (Utah 1992) the Court held that Utah does not recognize attempted second degree murder under the depraved indifference alternative of the murder statute. Using a plain language analysis to determine the meaning of "culpability" and "intent" in the two paragraphs of the attempt statute, we determined that to give the fullest possible effect to the terms of paragraphs (1) and (2), we construe the culpability requirement in paragraph (1) to refer to the attendant circumstances, if any, of the underlying offense and construe the intent language in paragraph (2) to limit the attempt statute to offenses with a mental state of "intent." In other words, attempt can be found for uncompleted offenses that require "intent," even though those offenses have attendant circumstances that require lesser mental states. (Vigil, 842 P.2d at 845-46.) The Court held that "the word 'intent' as used in . . . the attempt statute should be read to mean 'conscious objective or desire.' This meaning of the word 'intent' obviously is distinguishable from knowledge of the proscribed conduct or result, which is the mental state required for depraved indifference homicide." Id. at 847 (quoting Utah Code Ann. 76-2-103(1)). Following this analysis of the language of the attempt statute, the Court held "that to convict a defendant of attempted second degree murder, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had a conscious objective or desire to cause the death of another." Id. at 848.