This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah Supreme Court has reinstated the child-kidnapping conviction of a man who tried to snatch a 9-year-old Provo girl as she walked home from her school bus stop in 2004.
In a 5-0 decision issued Thursday, the high court reversed a Utah Court of Appeals ruling that ordered a new trial for Jimmy D. Guard, who was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to a prison term of 10 years to life.
Guard, now 37, grabbed the girl from behind on Nov. 15, 2004, and told her to come with him, according to trial testimony. She fought him off and ran home to her mother, who called police.
The girl, a classmate and two neighbors testified at trial in 4th District Court. Judge Lynn Davis denied a defense motion to put an expert on the stand to testify about factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.
However, the judge who said the defense had failed to establish that such expert testimony was reliable did instruct the jury on possible issues surrounding eyewitness testimony.
Guard appealed his conviction, and the appeals court handed down a ruling in 2013 agreeing that his expert witness should have been allowed to testify.
The state appealed that ruling, leading to the Supreme Court decision that upheld exclusion of the expert testimony.