Evidence Preservation in Utah
State statute requires the automatic preservation of biological evidence related to all violent felony crimes. The evidence must be preserved for the length of time that person and any of their co-defendants remain imprisoned, civilly committed, on parole or probation, or required to register on a sex/kidnapping registry. In the case of an unsolved violent felony, the evidence must be preserved for the length of the statute of limitations. If biological evidence is not preserved in accordance with the statute, a convicted person can seek judicial relief. If a convicted person’s appeal has not concluded, or they receive a new trial, the court may impose any sanctions or remedies it deems fit if it finds that evidence that reasonably could have been found to be exculpatory. If a convicted person’s appeal has concluded or the time for appeal has expired, the person may seek relief under Utah’s Post Convictions Remedies Act, which allows the court to vacate or modify the conviction or sentence if the evidence was not previously tested or if the evidence was previously tested but there has been a material change in circumstance that could have produced a more favorable outcome. Effective: 2022.
Utah’s statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.