In a deeply split Utah Supreme Court decision, the majority remanded a criminal case to the district court to determine whether the state can show that comments made by court personnel to jurors about a defendant’s alleged guilt during a break in trial were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.

During the lunch break on the second day of trial against Anthony Soto, who was charged with sexual assault, court personnel escorted the jurors to a nonpublic, court-employee elevator. According to members of the jury, a uniformed highway patrolman was present and said something along the lines of “Let me tell you how this ends,” or potentially “just say he’s guilty,” according to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion.

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