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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Recognizes World Suicide Prevention Day

SALT LAKE CITY September 10, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following extended statement marking World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, 2017.
 
“I appreciate the efforts of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and all of its partners to educate the world on what is a global health threat. I join many other voices worldwide in support of raising awareness and resources to prevent a growing number of suicides. In the U.S., suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and a recent CDC study showed an increased suicide rate every year from 1999 to 2014 among both women and men and in every age group except those 75 and older. The rates of suicide for teens and Military Veterans are particularly alarming. Sadly, Utah is no exception.
 
“For the last three and a half years, the Office of the Utah Attorney General has led an effort to respond to increased teen suicide, the leading cause of death of Utah children, ages 10-17. We have teamed with legislators, state agencies, mental health clinicians, suicide prevention advocates, the faith community, educators, law enforcement, parents, and teens themselves to address the tragic reality that far too many of our youth feel there is no hope and life is not worth living.
 
“As we have traveled the state over the last several years, visiting with teens in groups or individually, so many of them have expressed feelings of being alone, judged, or without hope. While adolescence is or was a difficult transition time for nearly all of us, the isolation of today’s youth seems more prevalent and more deeply felt. Other factors like depression, being victims of bullying and abuse, eating disorders, drug use and addictions of various kinds, as well as other behavioral health and safety challenges can increase the risk of suicide among teens. 
 
“Because Utah has one of the highest rates of teen suicide in the nation, my office has been leading the School Safety and Crisis Line Commission which last year unveiled the new SafeUT app. It is currently introduced in schools throughout Utah. Those teens in crisis can now access live trained professionals at any time the way they are used to communicating: through a free app on their smart phones available across Android, Apple or other platforms. With the SafeUT app our kids are never alone. 
 
“We have also worked closely with legislators to create a three digit number similar to 911 in Utah for immediate response to mental health and behavioral crises, including thoughts of or attempts at suicide. This statewide effort has led to discussions and proposed legislation at a national level for a similar 911-type number.  
 
“Like teens, the number of Military Veterans losing their lives from suicide across our nation is staggering. Daily, those losses number twenty or more. Utah has lost its fair share of Veterans who were willing to give their lives for their country and instead lost them battling personal demons and enemies seen and unseen that were often related to their service. 
 
“We can all play a part in reversing Utah’s devastating trend of teen and Veteran suicide by having real conversations with friends, family, and neighbors. These may be difficult and uncomfortable discussions but the alternative–not communicating–rarely if ever leads to positive outcomes. I challenge all Utahns to engage daily in a positive way with teens and Veterans. Say hello. Recognize them. Smile. Be a mentor or friend. Find ways to connect and to serve them. While this is not a panacea or cure-all, it can go a long way to lifting someone out of darkness and despair. Truly, one of act of kindness can be the difference between life and death.”
 
 
 
 
 

 
Key Features of SafeUT
The SafeUT program and app help youth stay healthy and safe in schools by providing high-quality, confidential counseling services. The app’s key features include:

  • Anonymous, confidential, and password protected services
  • Real-time, two-way communication with SafeUT crisis counselors available 24/7
  • Tips can be submitted with picture and/or video
  • Mobile app works with Apple & Android devices

 
SafeUT’s Crisis Services
Safe UT answers crisis calls, texts, and chats – about yourself or someone else – 24/7. These services are anonymous and confidential. Our counseling topics include:

  • Suicide
  • Self-harm
  • Emotional crisis
  • Grief and loss
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Mental health
  • Abuse
  • Impact of domestic violence

 

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Former Daggett County Sheriff and Deputies Enter Guilty Pleas

Violations led to the removal of all Utah State inmates from the Daggett County Jail 

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah  September 6, 2017 – The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) announced today that former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen and former Daggett County Sheriff Deputies Benjamin Lail and Joshua Cox entered guilty pleas to charges related to an investigation by the Utah Department of Corrections Law Enforcement Bureau (UDC). Earlier this year, the UDC received allegations of criminal activity at the Daggett County Jail, which houses inmates for the Utah State Prison. Following an investigation, UDC asked the OAG to review the case for possible prosecution. The numerous policy and criminal violations uncovered by UDC led to the removal of all Utah State inmates from the Daggett County Jail and all of the deputies involved were put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. 

The UDC investigation found that Cox had brought a stolen Taser into a secure area of the prison and used it on five inmates after promising them a soda if they could endure the Taser for at least five seconds. On another occasion, Cox used the Taser on inmates who wanted to earn outside work privileges.  Lail used the Taser to intimidate and threaten an employee at the jail during a training, pointing the Taser at the employee’s feet.

Jorgensen failed to investigate these allegations or discipline or otherwise supervise the deputies under his control.  After charges against Cox, Jorgensen, Lail, and two other former deputies were filed in Daggett County, a motion for a change of venue was granted to move all five cases to Summit County.

Prosecution of the five deputies was spearheaded by the Special Prosecutions Section of the OAG, led by Assistant Attorney General Steven Wuthrich.  Two remaining co-defendants have cases in Summit County Justice Court. 

“We don’t enjoy prosecuting members of law enforcement, but when it is required we will do our job to hold accountable those who violate the law and erode public confidence,” said Dan Burton, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office. “The actions of those prosecuted here do not represent the vast majority of those in law enforcement or in the Department of Corrections, who have our full confidence.”

Cox pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree felony aggravated assault, a third-degree felony for transporting a weapon into a secure facility, and a class A misdemeanor theft.  The court ordered a pre-sentence report on Cox and scheduled his sentencing for November 6, 2017.  As part of the plea agreement, Cox agreed to surrender his Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification for life.

Jorgensen pleaded guilty to a class B misdemeanor official misconduct, held in abeyance for 6 months, and was ordered to pay a $500 fine or complete 50 hours community service.  Lail pleaded guilty to class A misdemeanor reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 365 days jail.  The jail time was suspended and Lail was ordered to complete 12 months  of probation and pay a $2,500 fine.  Jorgensen and Lail were ordered to surrender their POST certification. 

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AG Reyes Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

SALT LAKE CITY September 4, 2017 – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes issued the following statement regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, following reports that the President would be ending the program:

“DACA is a creation of executive order that can be undone by executive order. It is why for years many leaders at the state level, including myself, have advocated for immigration reform by Congress that would have greater permanence and legal legitimacy.

“If President Trump rescinds the DACA executive order, which I believe he has every right to do, I strongly encourage him to allow enough time for Congress to pass legislation providing a path for Dreamers that takes into account the values they have exemplified to this point. It is incumbent on Congress to take up with urgency an issue it should have acted upon a long time ago.

“In my view, it would be inhumane if Congress fails to find a solution for those who may have come unlawfully as children but who are otherwise law abiding, productive, and committed to defending America. There are several proposed bills already being discussed to that end. At the same time, it would be irresponsible for Congress not to tackle at least some of the other pressing immigration issues facing our nation as part of such a solution.

“We must find a way to make sure that we are not in the exact same position ten or twenty years from now. This will only come with increased control of our borders, a more sensible approach to immigration policy, and a much more disciplined and consistent enforcement of that policy.

“It is unconscionable to deport a young person who came to this country as a child or even infant without any choice of their own. These kids are our kids too. They grew up next door to you and me, played on the little league teams we coached, went to school with our children, worked in local businesses, and by and large, they are leading productive lives contributing to our economy and the strength of America.

“These children grew up believing they are American and so many of them have lived lives of which America can be proud. Rather than deporting those in whom America has already invested many resources, I urge Congress to pass legislation that provides a workable path forward so these young people can prove their ongoing commitment to this country and benefit all of us with their talents and skills. This can be done as we strengthen borders, security, and the economic viability of America.”

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Office of the Attorney General Statement on DEA’s Access to the Prescription Drug Database

SALT LAKE CITY August 14, 2017 – After consultation with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his agencies, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will not appeal the decision of US District of Utah Judge David Nuffer’s to allow the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) access to the state’s Controlled Substance Database to obtain prescription drug records for an investigation.

While the decision is limited to the DEA’s exercise of administrative subpoena power for its investigation, Utah law continues to require other non-federal law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to gaining access to the database. However, after consultation with the Governor’s Office, the DEA, and Legislative leadership, the Attorney General’s Office will pursue legislation that will introduce additional safeguards, protections, and limitations on who can access the prescription drug database. While it is important that law enforcement have access to necessary tools to fight the illicit use of prescription drugs in the fight against the opioid epidemic, it is critical that individuals privacy and constitutional rights be protected from violation or abuse.


AG Reyes Condemns Acts of Hate and Violence in Charlottesville

SALT LAKE CITY August 14, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement regarding events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend:

“The cowardly acts of hate and violence perpetrated in Charlottesville on Saturday were abhorrent. Sadly, they are indicative of racial and religious bigotry not only tolerated but advocated by too many in our nation. As the son of minority parents, I have seen them endure discrimination, abuse, and persecution due to the color of their skin. Threats to our own family have come because of our heritage. So I am deeply and personally familiar with the feelings of exclusion and dread that come when we allow such bigotry to exist. I applaud all those who have raised their voices to denounce it.

“While I fight to uphold First Amendment freedoms, I condemn those who violate such precious rights for such vile purposes; namely, to preach hate and harm toward fellow Americans. No matter what rights are being exercised, hate is never right! Hate is not American! And we are Americans and human beings first and foremost. Our collective resolve to stand up toward hatred and bigotry must continue today and every day. And over time, only love can ultimately bend us toward justice and acceptance.”


AG Statement on the Passing of Assistant Attorney General Wade Farraway

SALT LAKE CITY  July 13, 2017 — Attorney General Sean Reyes released the following statement on the passing of Assistant Attorney General Wade Farraway today: 

Wade Farraway

“It is with deep sadness and extreme regret that we observe the passing of our office’s one and only Wade Farraway. Wade leaves tremendous holes in our hearts and in the office as he had an extremely rare ability to understand not only the layers of government but also the diverse personalities of those who make decisions impacting all of us in the Attorney General’s Office. Wade was a true friend with exceptional talents as a creative thinker and intense listener. He was willing to sit down with anyone and listen to their needs and then offer possible solutions. Wade’s huge heart and love for all of his family, friends, and associates will be sorely missed.”

At the time of his passing, Wade was Director of Government Relations for the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

After working as a prosecutor in Washington County, Wade joined the Utah Attorney General’s Office Criminal Division in 1999 and over the years has served in various areas of the office and in several leadership positions, including as Section Chief of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In 2011, he joined a new position in Consumer Enforcement to lead efforts against unlawful foreclosures. In 2016, with his natural skills working with government, legislators, and constituents, AG Reyes asked him to be the Director of Government Relations.  

He died of natural causes at his home in Layton.  This post will be updated with additional information as it becomes available. 


Attorney General Sean Reyes’ 2017 Independence Day Message

Attorney General Sean Reyes

“Each year, I look forward to Independence Day and am reminded of our nation’s humble, spiritual roots. Our Republic’s founders came from diverse backgrounds and origins. And despite their differences, they united to build a legacy of liberty and freedom that has stood the test of time. As we celebrate Independence Day—with fireworks, parades, and backyard barbeques—I pray we will appreciate the God-given blessings of liberty and opportunity that have made America a shining city on a hill; a light to inspire the oppressed and attract immigrants who have in turn enriched our culture and our country.  

“May we also honor those who have sacrificed and served, and those who continue to serve at home and abroad, to preserve our liberty and prosperity. This includes our men and women of the military along with law enforcement and first responders. We always owe a debt to those who confront danger to allow us to live in peace and security.

“As we celebrate on this extended weekend, please be careful, responsible and patient, particularly on the roads. 

“God bless America.” 


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.”


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.


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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