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    Douglas Anderson Lovell - Utah Death Row


    Joyce Yost




    Summary of Offense:

    Sentenced on August 18, 1993, in Ogden, for killing Joyce Yost, a South Ogden woman, in 1985 to keep her from testifying against him at a trial on charges that he raped her.

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    Utah Supreme Court Tosses Conviction for Douglas Lovell UT DR in 1985 Murder

    The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that death-row inmate Douglas Anderson Lovell can take back his guilty plea to capital murder more than two decades after the crime.

    The decision means that Lovell could plead not guilty and go to trial in the 1985 slaying of Joyce Yost of South Ogden.

    The news was devastating to Yost’s daughter.

    “I just don’t understand how this happens,” said Kim Salazar. “He admitted his guilt. I can’t imagine this starting over.”

    Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said prosecutors will pursue the matter aggressively.

    “We certainly intend to retry the case and we will seek the death penalty,” he said.

    Lovell pleaded guilty in 1993 to kidnapping Yost and strangling her in the mountains east of Ogden to prevent her from testifying that he had raped her. Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty if he led police to Yost’s body.

    Lovell, now 52, was unable to find the grave and was sentenced to death by then-2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor. He immediately tried to withdraw his plea, claiming his lawyer was “adamant” that Taylor would never impose the death sentence and that the judge failed to advise him of all the rights he was giving up.

    His effort failed and the Utah Supreme Court later upheld his death sentence. But in 2005, the justices said they should have made it clearer that they wanted the trial judge to consider a pending motion to withdraw the guilty plea and ordered a hearing on the issue in 2nd District Court.

    After that hearing, Judge Michael Lyon ruled in 2006 that the evidence indicated any errors were insubstantial and harmless to Lovell, who likely would have pleaded guilty anyway.

    The case then returned to the high court, which ruled Tuesday that Lovell should have been “clearly and unequivocally informed of his right to the presumption of innocence and the right to a public trial by an impartial jury.”

    Lovell was charged with raping the 39-year-old Yost in spring 1985. Despite her slaying four months later, he was convicted of the rape based on Yost’s preliminary hearing testimony. He was not charged in the slaying until his ex-wife recorded him during a 1992 prison visit confessing to killing Yost.

    Lovell is serving two prison sentences of 15 years to life in the rape and would remain incarcerated during any trial proceedings.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/49...court.html.csp

    Utah Supreme Court opinion is here:

    http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/sup...ell4072710.pdf

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    State v. Lovell

    The Utah Supreme Court has once again reversed and remanded Lovell's petition to withdraw his guilty plea.

    Opinion Summary:

    Douglas Lovell pleaded guilty to aggravated murder. Lovell subsequently moved to withdraw his plea. The district court initially held that Lovell's motion was untimely, but the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for consideration of the merits of Lovell's motion. In district court, Lovell argued he had good cause to withdraw his plea because the trial court failed to strictly comply with Utah R. Crim. P. 11(e), which sets out the requirements for a lawful guilty plea. The district court held that the trial court complied with rule 11(e) and that, even if it did not, the error did not amount to good cause to allow Lovell to withdraw his plea because Lovell did not show that but for the error he would not have pled guilty. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court failed to strictly comply with rule 11(e) because the record did not contain statements that clearly and unequivocally informed Lovell of his right to be presumed innocent or his right to a public trial by an impartial jury, and (2) under the "good cause" standard, the trial court's error to strictly comply with rule 11(e) was an error that required reversal. Remanded.

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    Lovell defense seeks closed courtroom to ask for expert funds

    Doug Lovell's attorneys want everybody out of the room when plans for the formerly convicted murderer's defense are unveiled.

    The case is an unusual one. Lovell took the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing and openly described how and why he killed Joyce Yost in 1985. He was sentenced to death, a conviction since overturned.

    Lovell's public defenders now seek to close the courtroom when asking for funds to hire experts for Lovell's coming trial. It's the first motion filed by the defense since the Utah Supreme Court voted in July 2010 to allow Lovell to withdraw his guilty plea.

    The motion asks that the coming funding requests be heard by 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon "ex parte, under seal, and in camera." The legalese means, respectively, with only defense attorneys present, documents kept confidential and aired only in the judge's chambers.

    The motion makes no mention about what particular experts, plural, will be sought, but details the extensive case law that allows for "safeguarding defense strategy from the government."

    Public defenders here are often in the position of asking prosecutors, the opposition, for fees to cover their cases, as Weber County funds both prosecutors and public defenders locally. The county attorney's office has a role in advising how legal fees are allocated.

    The office maintains a "Chinese wall" policy in that civil attorneys -- nonprosecutors -- are banned from divulging to their prosecutor co-workers any public defender funding requests.

    A privately funded defense never faces that problem, argue Lovell's public defenders, Mike Bouwhuis and Sean Young.

    The court-appointed counsel say extra measures are necessary because of the seriousness of the case against Lovell, which could end in his execution.

    "Time and again the U.S. Supreme Court has condemned procedures in capital cases that might be completely acceptable in an ordinary case," they write.

    While civil attorneys in the Weber County Attorney's Office "may have every intention of ensuring that the Chinese wall functions properly," the motion reads, "a variety of ways exist in which information could be mistakenly provided to the prosecuting attorneys."

    Both the civil attorneys and the prosecuting attorneys are in the same physical space, sharing the same entrances, support staff, computer network, printer, and all files and equipment in the office. The extra steps should be taken to "insure ... this case does not have to be litigated a third time," the motion concludes.

    The case is set for a status conference Jan. 12 before Judge Lyon.

    Lovell is currently serving a sentence of 15 years to life for the 1985 rape of Yost, who disappeared that year. Lovell said in his 1993 sworn testimony he killed her to prevent her from testifying about the rape.

    Lovell, 53, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years there when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.

    The high court ruled that Lovell was not specifically informed of his right to trial before an impartial jury bound by the presumption of innocence. The justices also ruled that new rules of evidence introduced in 2005 that now call such omissions harmless error could not be applied retroactively to Lovell.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2011...k-expert-funds

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    Motion: Free 1 hand during Lovell's death penalty court hearings

    Doug Lovell would like one hand free for the coming hearings on his bid to avoid the death penalty.

    In a motion asking that defendant be unshackled during extended hearings, his public defenders argue Lovells right to effective assistance of counsel includes the clients ability to take notes during hearings to communicate with counsel.

    Lovells case is even more complicated, to a degree, than other death penalty cases because the alleged offense occurred approximately 27 years ago, wrote Mike Bouwhuis, Lovells lead counsel.

    For that reason, he says, the defense needs unfettered ability to consult with Lovell.

    Mr. Lovell is asking that, during extended hearings in which he will be seated at the defense table, his writing hand be unshackled to allow him to take notes, reads the motion, which would override Utah State Prison policy.

    Lovells next hearing is April 13 before 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon for oral arguments on expert witness fees.

    Lovells case is very unusual because he actually took the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing and openly described how and why he killed Joyce Yost in 1985.

    He was sentenced to death, but that was thrown out when his guilty plea to the murder was overturned. He is currently in prison, serving a term of 15 years to life for Yosts rape, for which he was convicted despite her disappearance.

    The unshackling motion notes that Lovell has been transported to 2nd District Court hearings from the prison for 27 years and has never caused a problem. He is strip-searched each time before transport and is never allowed out of sight of the transporting officers.

    He is never transported with another prisoner and is not allowed contact with anyone other than his attorneys and the transporting officers, which usually includes two SWAT officers as well as two prison guards, according to the motion.

    While the prisons policy of keeping prisoners handcuffed and shackled during the entirety of their court trips is justified in general, any security risk Mr. Lovell presents is substantially outweighed by the need for his ability to take notes in court, the motion states.

    Since defendant Doug Lovell faces the possible imposition of the death penalty, exacting standards must be met to assure that the process is fair, reads the motion, which goes on to quote the U.S. Supreme Court: The penalty of death is qualitatively different from a sentence of imprisonment, however long. Death in its finality, differs more from life imprisonment than a 100-year prison term differs from one of only a year or two.

    Because death is different, the United States Constitution requires that extraordinary measures be taken to ensure that defendant is afforded process that will guarantee, as much as is humanly possible, that a sentence of death not be imposed out of whim, passion, prejudice or mistake.

    Lovell, 54, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years there when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.

    The high court ruled that Lovell was not specifically informed of his right to trial before an impartial jury bound by the presumption of innocence.

    The justices also ruled that new rules of evidence introduced in 2005 that now call such omissions harmless error could not be applied retroactively to Lovell.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012...court-hearings
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Public defenders accuse judge of wanting Lovell dead

    Death row candidate Doug Lovells public defenders are trying to remove the judge in the case, accusing him of bias.

    The lawyers seek to disqualify 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon from sitting for Lovells coming trial for the 27-year-old murder of Joyce Yost, of South Ogden. Lovell was once sentenced to death for her killing after describing how he did it on the stand.

    In a case where the stakes are at their highest, the risk is too great to have the proceedings presided over by a judge who appears to want what the victims want: Lovell dead, reads the motion.

    As per normal policy, Lyon has transferred the motion filed by Michael Bouwhuis and Sean Young to another judge for review, senior 2nd District Judge W. Brent West. The motion canceled a Friday hearing on defense funding requests for the hiring of experts and other issues.

    Lovell, 54, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years there when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea to Yosts murder, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.

    According to the disqualification motion filed this week: In April 2006, as part of an unrelated appeals process, Lovell sought to clarify testimony he had given at a hearing in November 2005. Lovell asked Judge Lyon to let him take the stand again.

    Among issues at the April 2006 hearing was whether it was clear in the record that Lovell did not have his lawyer present with him during each of the numerous visits to Ogden Valley for the five-week search he led officials on in 1993. He sought unsuccessfully to locate the site where he had buried Yost eight years earlier.

    Finding her remains was a condition of his plea bargain for which prosecutors were willing to forego the death penalty. When no sign of Yost was recovered, the Weber County Attorneys Office asked for the death penalty, and Judge Stanton Taylor, since retired, opted for execution instead of life in prison.

    At the April 28, 2006, hearing, Lyon denied Lovell; with his remarks included in a transcript that is part of the disqualification motion:

    And my concern is that Mr. Lovell is sitting in his prison cell, pouring over the transcripts, looking at everything that he could have said or wanted to say, and now he wants to say more. And there, potentially, is no end to any of this.

    I mean this could go on ad infinitum, as he just continues to look for something that he can hang his hat on in this case.

    And I have a responsibility to bring this case to some closure. I dont want to cut off any substantive right, but there is a point where you just say what you need to say and when youre through, you sit down and you let the chips fall where they will.

    A few minutes later in the same hearing, Lyon elaborated in similar remarks, according to the transcript:

    This could go on forever and Im just not going to permit you to clarify your testimony. Im just not. Its over. Ill hear motions that are before the court today. Were just not going to keep dragging this on. There has to be some closure for the victims in this case.

    Such concern for the victims reveals not only a level of frustration on the judges part, but also a desire to bring about the victims familys wishes, claims the motion.

    It argues that the familys desire that Lovell be put to death is well known to the judge from family members remarks in the media over the many years of the case going through the courts.

    It is understandable that the victims surviving family members would have such an emotional investment in the case, reads the motion. It is the courts job, on the other hand, to remain professional and dispassionate.

    The motion argues that judges have an enormous influence on juries during a trial, so it is imperative that judges avoid even the appearance of partiality. ... Even small behavioral clues that are given unintentionally by a judge can easily influence a jury.

    Lovells case is unusual because he actually took the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing and openly described how and why he killed Joyce Yost in 1985.

    He remains in prison for Yosts rape that same year, the murder committed to keep her from testifying at trial about the rape. He is serving a term of 15 years to life for the rape, convicted despite her disappearance.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012...ng-lovell-dead
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Prosecutors fight defense claim of judge bias in Lovell case

    Prosecutors have filed an answer to rebut a defense bid to remove Judge Michael Lyon from the Doug Lovell death penalty case for alleged bias.

    Lovell's public defenders claim some statements by Lyon suggest the judge wants Lovell executed.

    Lyon has forwarded the defense recusal motion to senior Ogden 2nd District Judge W. Brent West for his review. A hearing date has yet to be set.

    Lovell is accused in a 27-year-old murder for which he's already been sentenced to death once. He testified at his 1993 sentencing hearing as to how and why he killed Joyce Yost of South Ogden in 1985.

    Statements in the media by family members of Yost favoring Lovell's execution allegedly impacted Judge Lyon's comments at a 2006 hearing about wanting "closure" for the victims in the Lovell case, the defense argues.

    But Deputy Weber County Attorney Gary Heward responds that the defense doesn't even demonstrate whether Lyon is aware of the family's statements, noting the judge has refused to read several letters to him from the family.

    The judge's statement regarding closure "in no way casts even a colorable question on his impartiality because it did not manifest his personal bias ...

    "Judge Lyon did not indicate what outcome he personally desired or what his personal wishes were," Heward said.

    The comments the defense claims show bias actually support Lyon's decision at the 2006 hearing against Lovell retestifying on some past detail in the case, the motion reads, allowed in rules of evidence permitting a judge to exclude evidence when it is "substantially outweighed ...by considerations of undue delay, waste of time or needless presentation of cumulative evidence."

    In the recusal motion public defenders Mike Bouwhuis and Sean Young argue, "In a case where the stakes are at their highest, the risk is too great to have the proceedings presided over by a judge who appears to want what the victims want: Lovell dead."

    When the judge says, "There has to be some closure for the victims in this case," the defense argues that such concern for victims "reveals not only a level of frustration on the judge's part, but also a desire to bring about the victim's family's wishes."

    Lovell, 54, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years there when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea to Yost's murder, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.

    He remains in prison for Yost's rape the same year as her murder, committed to keep her from testifying at trial about the rape. Lovell is serving a term of 15 years to life for the rape, convicted at trial despite her disappearance.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012...as-lovell-case
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Defense claims judge bias in murder case

    The defense is redoubling its efforts to disqualify a judge from hearing Doug Lovells murder case, claiming bias.

    In new documents filed in 2nd District Court, Lovells public defenders are pressing their request for a hearing to present oral arguments in their bid to have Judge Michael Lyon step down from the case.

    Lovell, 54, is charged in the 27-year-old murder of Joyce Yost of South Ogden, to which he admitted at his sentencing hearing in 1993.

    The case was overturned two years ago by the Utah Supreme Court on a legal technicality that allowed Lovell to withdraw his guilty plea. He faces the death penalty.

    The recusal motion originally filed in April was based on Lyons 2006 in-court statements of concern about the pace of the case delaying closure for the family of the victim of a lingering murder case. The defense equated that to Lyon favoring Lovells execution in wanting to meet the needs of the family.

    Senior 2nd District Judge W. Brent West denied the recusal motion last month, noting no bias in Lyons handling of the case. He emphasized no evidence had been produced to show Lyon was even aware of the familys desire for the death penalty, and Lovell had once before filed to recuse the prior judge in the case.

    Lovells public defenders have raised new arguments to both rulings. Mike Bouwhuis and Sean Young write that a 1996 transcript of a hearing in Lovells case demonstrate that Judge Lyon knew of the familys desire for the execution of Lovell from an in-court discussion of the 1993 plea negotiations in the case.

    Family members then had indicated they would only favor sparing Lovells life if he could lead them to the remains of their mother, reads the motion.

    Lovells unusual plea bargain would have dropped the death penalty if he could locate Yosts grave where he said he buried her in Ogden valley. But five weeks of searching using backhoes and cadaver dogs turned up nothing and prosecutors asked for and received the death penalty.

    Lovell is still in prison on a life sentence for Yosts 1985 rape. He murdered her the same year to keep her from testifying about the rape, all of which Lovell explained on the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing.

    Lovell, with different court-appointed attorneys, in 1995 filed a motion to disqualify Judge Stanton Taylor, now retired, the judge who sentenced him to death two years earlier, from sitting for hearings related to his appeals at the time. Taylor recused himself before the motion was ever ruled on and was replaced by Lyon.

    West said therefore that Lovell has used up his recusal motions, citing U.S. Supreme Court language that reads Otherwise the defendant could file successive motions and affidavits to disqualify each judge designated to try the case and thereby prevent any disposition of his case.

    But the defense attorneys argue that the Supreme Court decision can not be an immovable bar to a second motion to disqualify, citing a hypothetical situation.

    Assume, they wrote, that a judge in open court announces he hates the defendant and that his sole objective is to make sure he dies.

    Principles of due process would demand that the judge be disqualified, despite the fact that a disqualification had already occurred years previously and that a rule appears to prohibit a second attempt at disqualification.

    No hearing dates are currently set on the motions.

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012...as-murder-case
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    Former death row inmate withdraws plea, new trial date set

    Former death row inmate Douglas Lovell, who was given the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea, has a new trial date set for 2014.

    Lovell, 54, pleaded guilty in 1993 to aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of Joyce Yost. Lovell was accused of killing Yost in 1985 before she could testify against him in a kidnapping and rape trial.

    Lovell admitted in a prison conversation with his ex-wife, who was wearing a recording device for law enforcement officials, to kidnapping and raping Yost and later killing her to prevent her from testifying against him. Lovell has said he left her body in a mountainous area east of Ogden.

    At the advice of his lawyer at the time, the late John Caine, who was a veteran of many capital murder cases, Lovell pleaded guilty and let 2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor decide his fate, rather than a jury.

    The prosecutor at the time had worked out a plea bargain in which the death penalty would be taken off the table if Lovell would help police find Yost's remains so her family could hold a funeral and gain some closure, but despite repeated visits to the area he had described, her body was never recovered.

    The judge sentenced Lovell to die. Caine testified at a 2005 evidentiary hearing that, contrary to Lovell's contention, he never promised Lovell that the judge wouldn't impose the death penalty.

    Lovell took his case to the Utah Supreme Court in 2009 and said his constitutional rights were violated because the court didn't inform him of all of his rights at the time he entered the guilty plea. The high court agreed in a 2010 ruling, determining the plea could be withdrawn and sending the case back to district court.

    Second District Judge Michael Lyon scheduled a new trial for Lovell to begin Feb. 3, 2014. It is set to run through Feb. 26.

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=21637100
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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    A judge has rejected former death row inmate Doug Lovells request for new lead counsel in the run-up to his coming trial.

    The motion ruling on Lovells request to replace public defender Mike Bouwhuis is sealed, but 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon, through a spokeswoman, said Wednesday he had denied the motion from Lovell, finding no good cause to remove Bouwhuis from the defense team.

    Lovells case is unique in that he formally took the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing to explain how and why he killed 39-year-old Joyce Yost, of South Ogden. He was then sentenced to death.

    Lovell, 54, got off death row in July 2010 after almost 17 years there, when the Utah Supreme Court ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea to the murder. The justices cited technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.

    Lovell has been writing letters to the court since August, raising his concerns about Bouwhuis. Most of the letters have been sealed, because they detail trial strategy prosecutors are not entitled to see.

    For that reason, Lyon in September directed that Lovells letters on the disagreements with Bouwhuis, as well as Bouwhuis responses, be sealed.

    Lovell then wrote letters to Lyon on Oct. 1, Oct. 19, Oct. 22 and Nov. 7, according to court records. Bouwhuis responded on Oct. 10, including an affidavit, and Oct. 29.

    In his three letters in August and September before the seal was ordered, Lovell talked simply of his relationship with Bouwhuis deteriorating and contacts between him and his lead counsel becoming fewer.

    He said he had no complaints about co-counsel Sean Young.

    In the past, Bouwhuis has declined to comment on Lovells concerns and letters, citing, ironically, attorney-client privilege as keeping him from remarking.

    He did not immediately return calls on Lyons denial this week of Lovells motion to remove him.

    Lovells trial is set for 15 days, spread across the month of February 2014. A status conference is expected in January to set schedules for the anticipated defense motions common to death penalty cases.

    One motion Bouwhuis and Young have said is in the works is a bid to suppress Doug Lovells sworn, open-court confession from the stand at his 1993 sentencing hearing.

    Also in 1993, Lovell spent five weeks trying to lead authorities to where he said he buried Yost in Ogden Valley, a search that included backhoes and a cadaver dog.

    Prosecutors were willing to forgo execution if Lovell could lead them to her remains.

    When nothing was found, deputy Weber County attorneys Gary Heward and Bill Daines asked for and received the death penalty for Lovell from the late 2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor. Heward and Daines are prosecuting the case again.

    Lovell is still serving a 15-years-to-life term for the 1985 rape of Yost. She disappeared that year, strangled by Lovell to prevent her from testifying about the rape. Lovell wasnt charged with her murder until 1992.
    An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    "Y'all be makin shit up" ~ Markeith Loyd

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