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AG Reyes Congratulates Judge Susan Eisenman on Her Confirmation to Third District Juvenile Court

SALT LAKE CITY June 21, 2017 — The Office of the Attorney General released the following statement congratulating Utah Attorney General Division Director Susan Eisenman on her Utah Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Third District Juvenile Court:

“My congratulations to Director Eisenman on her confirmation. Susan has been an amazing leader for our office and for the state and we are sad to see her leave our office,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “She is no-nonsense but fair and compassionate; meticulous yet remarkably efficient. Susan also possesses the rare combination of a brilliant legal mind, tremendous judgment and creativity in problem-solving and the ability to manage people in a most nurturing and productive way. Her clients, her division and all in the Utah Attorney General’s Office will feel her departure deeply. Nevertheless, we are thrilled by her appointment, and we know that she will serve the people of Utah from the bench with dignity, dedication, and brilliance, as she has throughout her career.”

Chief Civil Deputy Bridget Romano also commented: “I have known Susan Eisenman for several years now. She has been a trusted colleague, and one of my most valuable and creative managers. I cannot begin to fathom the hole that will be left in the office by her absence. The bench gains a tremendous legal mind and advocate for the interests of Utah’s children and the needs of the families. I wish Susan nothing but the best.”


Attorney General Sean Reyes Joins 20-State Coalition Urging EPA to Respect the States in WOTUS Review

SALT LAKE CITY June 20, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes joined a 20-state coalition in requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources.

The coalition filed its letter Monday as part of the EPA’s ongoing review of its Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The attorneys general outlined regulatory overreach present in the existing rule and offered suggestions to better respect the authority of states going forward.

“The WOTUS Rule is unlawful…and significantly impinges upon the States’ traditional role as the primary regulators of land and water resources within their borders,” Attorney General Reyes joined in writing. “We write to suggest how the [EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] can write a rule that respects Congress’s instruction.”

The letter requests a concrete definition of the term “waters of the United States.” In doing so, it suggests the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers should preserve the states’ role in protecting water resources, especially those within the border of individual states.

The attorneys general also suggest any final definition should adopt a framework consistent with Supreme Court precedent. That includes that federal agencies can only assert authority over permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water forming geographic features.

The letter expresses that rather than claiming jurisdiction over vast amounts of water and land, EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways.

The Obama-era regulation, if implemented, would have taken jurisdiction over natural resources from states and put it in the hands of federal agencies. This included almost any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains, and roadside ditches.

Many of these states won a nationwide stay that blocked enforcement of the rule and proved crucial in providing time for a new administration to reconsider the rule.

Utah Attorney General Reyes signed the letter with West Virginia, Wisconsin, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.

Read a copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/2tGljKk.

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Suspect in ATM Robbery Case Pleads Guilty

Could receive life in prison for aggravated robbery charge

WEBER COUNTY, Utah June 12, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General (OAG) announced today that Kacy Peterson, 48, of Ogden, Utah pleaded guilty last week to a First Degree Felony charge of aggravated robbery and a Third Degree Felony for forgery on an insurance fraud case. The ATM case stems from a tip to OAG investigators in late October 2016.

Peterson, with conspirators, decided to use a Taser to attack an ATM worker, steal the ATM worker’s keys, and take the cash held in the machine. However, before the conspirators could execute their plan to attack the ATM worker, OAG investigators obtained warrants and arrested them. 

On the insurance fraud case, Peterson sent fraudulent emails, claiming to be his insurance representative, to a rental car company with the purpose to defraud the company.   

Peterson is scheduled to be sentenced on both cases on July 31, 2017. For the aggravated robbery charge, he faces five years to life in the state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For forgery, Peterson could be sentenced from zero to five years in the state prison and receive a fine of up to $5,000. This case was prosecuted by the Special Prosecution Section and Insurance Fraud Section of the OAG Justice Division.


Attorney General Sean Reyes Statement on Memorial Day

SALT LAKE CITY May 27, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement regarding Memorial Day weekend:

“As we celebrate this Memorial Day weekend and enjoy the privileges of this singular nation, we extend our gratitude to those who have sacrificed their lives to protect our country and to keep it free. May we never forget those that have paid the ultimate price that we may all enjoy the liberty and prosperity with which we have been blessed.

“As we also remember family and loved ones, please be careful and travel safely.”

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Utah Attorney General’s Office Files San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Case

SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah May 12, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General (OAG) announced today that it filed charges against the San Juan County Sheriff and two of his deputies for criminal misconduct involving another person within the San Juan Sheriff’s Office and obstructing the investigation into that misconduct.  The charges come after an investigation by the OAG.

“It is never pleasant to bring charges against a fellow public servant, but when it is necessary, we will diligently do our jobs to assist the Court in holding them accountable,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.

The OAG Justice Division’s Special Prosecutions Section charged San Juan County Sheriff Richard A. Eldredge with one felony and three misdemeanor counts, including Retaliation against a Witness or Victim, Reckless Endangerment, Obstruction of Justice, and Official Misconduct.  Chief Deputy Sheriff Alan P. Freestone is charged with one felony and two misdemeanors, including Retaliation against a Witness or Victim, Obstruction of Justice, and Official Misconduct. Deputy Robert J. Wilcox is charged with three misdemeanors, including Reckless Endangerment, Obstruction of Justice, and Official Misconduct.

If convicted, the felony charges carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5000.00.  The misdemeanor charges carry a maximum jail sentence of one year for a Class A Misdemeanor and six months for a Class B Misdemeanor.  Each Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless convicted in accordance with the law.

 

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Utah AG Announces Sentencing of Emilio Daniel Chavez

Sentenced to 2-30 years for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

WEST JORDAN, Utah May 12, 2017 –   The Utah Attorney General’s Office announced that earlier this week 26-year-old Emilio Daniel Chavez, was sentenced to 2-30 years in the Utah State Prison. Chavez was sentenced by Judge William K. Kendall based on the Chavez’ conviction for four counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (i.e. possessing, viewing, distributing images of child pornography) following a three-day jury trial.

“Like all those in my office who work on these disturbing cases, I am sickened by the crimes against children perpetrated by individuals like Mr. Chavez,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “I hope victims, whether from this case or others, feel some justice has occurred with his conviction but I understand that they can be dealing with the aftermath of their exploitation for a lifetime.

“My congratulations to Special Agent Bret Richmond, Investigator for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), Det. Jeff Wabel of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Det. Sgt. Ronald C. Bridge of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Poulson and Assistant Attorney General Kent Burggraaf for their hard work in investigating and prosecuting this heinous crime. We cannot say enough about the importance of the fight against pedophiles who create, sell, trade and view child pornography.”

ICAC agent Det. Sgt. Ronald C. Bridge stated, “This is a gruesome crime that goes on behind closed doors, in front of a computer screen, ICAC will continue to work tirelessly to bring these kinds of perpetrators to justice.”

The investigation into the Chavez’s criminal activities began in December of 2012.  Then Special Agent, Bret Richmond, Investigator for the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), began investigating Chavez’s Internet activities after a lead from ICAC affiliate Utah County Sheriff’s Office Det. Jeff Wabel, specifically focusing on video Chavez was suspected of sharing and distributing over the Internet.  

After several months of attempting to locate him, Chavez was interviewed in November 2013.  His laptop computer was seized for further forensic examination after ICAC agents located several images of child pornography.  Forensic examiner Matthew Anderson of the Intermountain West Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory conducted a full forensic examination and located 1384 images of suspected child pornography and child erotica.  ICAC Agent Det. Sgt. Ronald C. Bridge of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office submitted the images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program located at least four known identified victims.  

Upon completion of the investigation and computer forensic examination, Assistant Attorney General Cynthia A. Poulson filed four counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor against Chavez.  The Attorney General’s Office obtained and filed a victim impact statement from one of the victims with the court.  

At sentencing, Judge Kendall stated, “the jury did not find your testimony credible and neither did I.”  Judge Kendall told Chavez the interests of justice were served by imposing a prison sentence.  

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AG Reyes Congratulates AAG Susan Eisenman on Appointment to Third District Juvenile Court

SALT LAKE CITY May 11, 2017 – The Office of the Attorney General released the following statement congratulating Utah Attorney General Division Director Susan Eisenman for her appointment by Governor Gary Herbert to the Third District Juvenile Court:

“Susan has been an amazing leader for our office and for the state and we are sad to see her leave,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “She is no-nonsense but fair and compassionate; meticulous yet remarkably efficient. Susan also possesses the rare combination of a brilliant legal mind, tremendous judgment and creativity in problem-solving and the ability to manage people in a most nurturing and productive way. Her clients, her division and all in the Utah Attorney General’s Office will feel her departure deeply. Nevertheless, we are thrilled by her appointment, and we know that she will serve the people of Utah from the bench with dignity, dedication, and brilliance, as she has throughout her career.”

Chief Civil Deputy Bridget Romano also commented: “I have known Susan Eisenman for several years now. She has been a trusted colleague, and one of my most valuable and creative managers. I cannot begin to fathom the hole that will be left in the office by her absence. The bench gains a tremendous legal mind and advocate for the interests of Utah’s children and the needs of the families. I wish Susan nothing but the best.”

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Utah Attorney General’s Office Files Daggett County Jail Case

Charged include former Daggett County Sheriff and Deputies

DAGGETT COUNTY, Utah May 5, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General (OAG) announced today that it filed charges against the former Daggett County Sheriff, Jerry Jorgensen, and several of his deputies for criminal misconduct involving inmates at the Daggett County Jail.  The charges come after an investigation by the Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) Law Enforcement Bureau. The UDC received allegations of criminal activity being perpetrated by deputies at the Daggett County Jail which houses inmates for the Utah State Prison. After completion of its investigation, the UDC requested that the OAG review the findings of the investigation.

“The alleged actions of at least one defendant constitute unbelievably inhumane conduct and a reprehensible miscarriage of justice and the actions of all the defendants are inexcusable,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.

The OAG Special Prosecutions Section charged former Daggett County Sheriff Deputy Joshua Cox with nine felony and two misdemeanor counts, including for Aggravated Assault, Transporting a Dangerous Weapon into the Secure Area of a Correctional Facility, Theft, and Reckless Endangerment. Former Daggett County Sheriff Deputy Ben Lail was charged with one felony for Aggravated Assault.  Misdemeanor charges were also filed against former Daggett County Sheriff Deputies Rodrigo Toledo and Logan Walker for Official Misconduct. Last, former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen was charged with Misdemeanor charges for  Misdemeanor, Failure of Sheriff to Safely Keep Inmates, Obstruction of Justice, and Official Misconduct.

The numerous alleged policy and criminal violations uncovered throughout the investigation by UDC led to the removal of all Utah State inmates from the Daggett County Jail.  Jerry Jorgensen has resigned as Sheriff and a number of the deputies have been terminated by Daggett County.

Probable cause statements are attached below.

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AG Reyes Statement on Utah Law Enforcement Memorial

SALT LAKE CITY May 4, 2017 – Attorney General Reyes released the following statement today on the addition of two individuals to the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial.

“As I have stated often, our men and women in blue are some of the greatest public servants we have. For their contributions to our state and communities, they deserve the highest respect and appreciation we can impart. It is an honor for me and my team to oversee such deeply-experienced and exceptionally trained law enforcement agents and prosecutors in the Utah Attorney General’s Office who bring tremendous expertise to handle some of the most complex investigations in Utah. It is equally a privilege for our office to work on task forces and in the field with federal, state, county, city, and tribal officers who all make up our law enforcement family.  As we celebrate together the contributions of the officers who make up the ‘thin blue line,’ our hope is that law enforcement and the communities they protect may come together to rebuild trust and strengthen ties.

“Today we honor the service, memory, and families of Trooper Eric Ellsworth and Officer Cody Brotherson, each who paid the ultimate price. We will always be grateful for their sacrifice. Let us never forget in our prayers those who rush selflessly into harm’s way to protect and rescue those in danger.”

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Former Kane County Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Misuse of Public Money

KANE COUNTY, Utah May 4, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General (OAG) announced the guilty plea of Georgia Baca today for charges related to the misuse of public money in her capacity as treasurer in Kane County, Utah. Baca resigned as Kane County Treasurer in March of 2016 after the Utah State Auditor’s Office released a report alleging that Baca had been stealing money for personal use for three years.

“I hope this brings some measure of closure to Kane County residents,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “As an elected official, the defendant held a fiduciary position with the citizens of her county.  Sadly, she breached this trust. While it is never pleasant to bring charges against a fellow public servant, when it is necessary we will diligently do our jobs to assist the Court in holding them accountable.

“My thanks and congratulations to the entire investigation and prosecution team, including Special Prosecutions Director Janise Macanas, Paralegal Rosie McDonough, Special Agent Christopher Walden, and Special Agent Aaron Jones.  We are also grateful to Kane County, and Utah State Auditor John Dougall and his office for their dedicated work throughout this process.”

“We appreciate the hard work of the Office of the Attorney General in prosecuting this important case,” said Utah State Auditor John Dougall. “Kane County Commission Chairman Clayson and other Kane County officials were very cooperative during our audit. This effort was the result of a conscientious individual noticing a suspicious transaction and raising that concern. The Office of the State Auditor is actively engaged in holding government officials accountable and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse within government.”

“This has been a difficult case, and I am grateful to see justice served for the people of our county,” said Representative Mike Noel. “I am grateful to both the prosecutors of the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah State Auditor, as well as to our own Kane County Attorney, Rob Van Dyke, for their professional handling of this case.”

Baca pleaded guilty to one count of Third Degree Felony Misuse of Public Money before the Honorable Judge Marvin D. Bagley in the Sixth Judicial District Court in Kanab, Utah.  The Court sentenced Baca to serve 30 days in jail.  Baca’s Utah State Prison sentence of between zero and five years was suspended, and she was placed on a 36-month probation. Baca was also ordered to pay $35,613 in restitution to Kane County.

 

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