Reactions to the arrests of two former Utah Attorney Generals for white collar crimes have been extremely diverse. Utah House Speaker Becky Lockheart considered the events illustrative of “…a positive thing that we hold people accountable for their actions.” However current Governor Gary Herbert disagreed. He expressed that the charges against the pair for public corruption were a “black eye” and marked a “sad day” for the state. Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee seemed to synthesize elements of both the Speaker’s and the Governor’s remarks in stating “No one takes any joy in these arrests today, or these charges. But one thing I take solace in is the fact the system works.”
39-year-old Megan Huntsman appeared in Utah’s 4th District Court earlier this week after being charged with six counts of first degree murder in the deaths of six babies discovered in her Pleasant Grove garage. Despite the preceding coverage and controversy, Huntsman’s appearance on Monday was relatively brief, with her hearing pushed out until October 20th. She has yet to enter a plea, and prosecutors say they have yet to discuss a potential plea deal. Her defense attorney, Anthony Howell, says that a medical expert will be consulted to review evidence in the case this August.
Being charged with a DUI can be an anxiety inducing situation for an individual in any state. However in Utah the charge of DUI can be especially harsh because automatic license suspension can be imposed for even a first DUI offense. The steps you take immediately following your DUI arrest are essential. If you have been charged with a DUI in Utah, don’t delay: Contact an experienced DUI defense attorney today.
In 2012, West Valley City Officer Shaun Cowley fired two shots at 21-year-old Danielle Willard as she sat in her car, ending her life, inciting public outrage, and eventually triggering a wrongful death lawsuit and manslaughter trial in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court. Last month, Salt Lake County D.A. Sim Gill filed manslaughter charges against Cowley, alleging that the former officer acted recklessly and with undue force. Now, one attorney is claiming that another officer with the West Valley City PD may have extorted a bribe after having a sexual relationship with a criminal suspect, and that the entire department has been undermined by corruption.
We’ve written about wrongful murder convictions in the past. These misguided convictions sometimes force innocent “offenders” to pay the ultimate penalty for crimes which were never even committed, because capital punishment — while rare — is still used in Utah today. In other cases still, alleged offenders are simply handed excessive sentences which can extend years beyond what may have been legally appropriate. However, rulings aren’t always permanent. This month, the initial conviction of alleged Salt Lake City murderer Michael Waddell Johnson was overturned by the Utah Court of Appeals due to a jury error.
We’ve written about Danielle Willard in the past. In case you’re unfamiliar with the incident, in 2012 West Valley City detectives Shaun Cowley and Kevin Salmon fired six shots at unarmed 21-year-old Danielle Willard, killing her and triggering mass media coverage and public outrage. The detectives, who were undercover and out of uniform at the time, defended their actions by saying Willard was attempting to hit them with her car. But in the aftermath, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill ruled that the shooting was unjustified. While no charges have been filed against Salmon, Gill has filed manslaughter charges against Cowley — and if Cowley pleads or is found guilty, he could serve more than a decade behind bars. How is manslaughter different from murder, and how do the attorneys involved expect this controversial case to unfold?
Being charged with driving under the influence is already an intimidating experience — and if a recent law enforcement conference is any indication, it’s about to get worse. Last month, a massive state-wide police conference held in West Valley City hosted 240 officers who assembled to discuss tougher and more efficient DUI arrest and investigation tactics. What does this mean for Utah motorists?
The English language is full of euphemisms for those parts of life we consider to be ugly, distasteful, or painful. One of our most heavily-sanitized euphemisms has to be capital punishment: a polite phrase for execution. While the death penalty is a bottomless wellspring of ethical debate, even its most ardent proponents would admit that killing innocent people is a reprehensible act. But sometimes, that is exactly what happens. Just how often are innocent individuals wrongfully put to death? What is the future of capital punishment in Utah?
With their floppy ears and soulful eyes, it’s hard to resent a dog. Dogs offer us unconditional love, ward off trespassers, and can even save our lives when we’re in danger. Nonetheless, man’s best friend can turn into man’s worst enemy when a drug-sniffing dog turns up a false positive under the direction of overzealous police officers. If you suspect you’ve been the victim of a false positive result related to drug charges, is there anything you can do?
Imagine you’ve been accused of committing a serious crime, like murder. If you are convicted, you will lose your freedom, you will be isolated from your family and friends, and the course of your life will be changed forever. With so much at risk, the prospect of being convicted is terrifying enough — there’s absolutely no way you would ever endanger yourself even further by making a false confession. At least, that’s what you probably think when you’re sitting comfortably on your couch with your laptop, safe and relaxed inside the familiar walls of your home. But what if you weren’t curled up on the sofa with background TV noise and a snack on your lap? What if you were in handcuffs, in an alien place, being threatened and manipulated? What if you thought you had to confess?