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AG Reyes Statement on the Death of Catholic Bishop George H. Niederauer

SALT LAKE CITY May 2, 2017 – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes issued the following statement on the death of Catholic Bishop George H. Niederauer:

“Today, my wife Saysha and I had the honor and great pleasure to meet with His Excellency Bishop Oscar Azarcon Solis and just an hour later heard of the passing of His Excellency Bishop George H. Niederauer. Utah is incredibly blessed to have over a century and a half of spiritual strength, guidance, and support from Roman Catholic leadership in Utah through the Salt Lake City Diocese.

“As the eighth Bishop of Salt Lake City, Bishop Niederauer shared his exemplary life with our Utah community for nearly a decade (1996-2005) as he built a solid foundation of collaboration and heartfelt love for those of his own and other faiths. I remember his kindness and strength in our personal interactions. He is remembered with fondness and appreciation by many today.

“The Diocese of Salt Lake City, as well as all Utah citizens, are also greatly blessed to have the Most Reverend Bishop Solis appointed by Pope Francis as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City’s Roman Catholic Diocese. Bishop Solis possesses a combination of tremendous spiritual power, dedication, humility, and an amazing sense of humor. In a few short weeks, he has been out among communities of our state getting to know and love Utah and its people. His commitment to visit every school in the state is so impressive. I am proud to share my Filipino-American heritage with His Excellency and look forward to many years of working together to solve community problems and serve our fellowmen.”

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Attorney General’s Office Urges Eligible Utah Residents to Submit Claims for Provigil Settlement

To receive settlement funds, claims must be filed by June 25, 2017 

SALT LAKE CITY May 1, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes urges Utah residents to file claims or make their views known on a $125 million multistate settlement that provides $35 million for distribution to consumers who paid for the brand-name drug Provigil or generic modafinil from June 24, 2006, to March 31, 2012.  The States asked and the court extended the time to file claims or express views on the settlement to June 25, 2017.

Provigil, which includes the active ingredient modafinil, is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve wakefulness in adult patients with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, and shift work disorder.

In August 2016, Utah and 47 other state attorneys general announced the settlement with biopharmaceutical company Cephalon and its affiliated companies, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, and Barr Laboratories, that resolved allegations that the companies engaged in unlawful “pay-for-delay” anticompetitive conduct involving the patent exclusivity for Provigil.

The settlement included $35 million to compensate eligible consumers who may have been harmed by the alleged conduct. While the claims period has been advertised for several months, many consumers may not realize that the claims period will close. Originally, the deadline for consumers to file claims seeking to receive some of that $35 million or object to the settlement was Thursday, April 13, 2017.  The states sought and were granted an extension of the time to claim or object to June 25, 2017.

Eligible consumers are those who reside in the District of Columbia or any state other than California or Louisiana and who paid for brand-name Provigil or generic modafinil from June 24, 2006, to March 31, 2012. The total estimated recovery for Utah under the States’ settlement will be about $1.55 million, including compensation for Provigil purchases by these Utah consumers, and certain Utah government entities, and for the State.

For more information or to obtain a claim form, visit www.StateAGProvigilSettlement.com or call 1-877-236-1413.  

“Pay for delay” conduct occurs when a branded drug company seeks to unlawfully maintain its exclusive rights by paying a would-be generic competitor to delay entry into the market and thus keep prices at artificially high levels.

As the patent for Provigil neared expiration in 2001, the states alleged that Cephalon intentionally misled the United States Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) in order to secure an additional patent for the purpose of preventing competition. By misleading the PTO, Cephalon was able to obtain FDA exclusivity for modafinil until June 2006, and extend patent exclusivity until April 2012. A court subsequently deemed the additional patent invalid and unenforceable, but prior to that ruling, Cephalon was able to delay generic competition for over a decade by filing patent infringement lawsuits against all potential generic competitors.

Cephalon later settled lawsuits with its generic competitors in 2005 and early 2006 by paying them to delay the sale of their generic versions of Provigil until at least April 2012 – six years after expiration of FDA exclusivity but three years before patent expiration. The delayed entry allegedly cost consumers, states, and others hundreds of millions more for Provigil than if generic versions of the drug had launched by early 2006, as expected.

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Utah Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs on April 29

 

At No Cost to Utah, AG Office Provides Breakthrough Technology to Reclaim Prescription Drug Pills in an Environmentally Friendly Manner

 

SALT LAKE CITY April 28, 2017 – The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) encourages Utahns to participate in the Utah Take Back on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations statewide. Utahns can prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Find a take-back site at www.utahtakeback.org. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Additionally, eco-friendly reclamation bags donated at no cost to the state will be available for distribution from take-back locations.

“Prescription drug abuse, particularly for painkillers, has risen to epidemic levels nationwide, and Utah is no exception,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “Prescription drugs, when administered and taken responsibly, can be a productive tool for pain management. But far too often, what begins innocently can lead to dependence and devastation.

“In addition to overprescription, unauthorized access to even properly prescribed painkillers is one of the biggest drivers toward addiction. Many users of street drugs like heroin start by abusing their own painkillers, then move to finding other people’s prescription drugs. Addicts may be soccer moms or executives. They can be our kids, grandkids, kids from the block, good students or bad students included.

“No community is immune. Addiction touches rural and urban areas, uptown or downtown neighborhoods alike. And whether we realize it or not, our medicine cabinets may be where they are looking next or where they may have already been.  By teaming up on Take Back Day with partners like the DEA, AARP, and businesses and citizens across our state, we will recover hundreds, if not thousands of pounds of prescription drugs.”

Improper disposal of unused and expired medications leads to damage of our environment. In the fight against opioid addiction, the AGO is grateful for eco-friendly reclamation bags donated at no cost to the state by private companies like Deterra and Mallinckrodt to thousands of Utah Take Back locations around the state. The bags can be filled with any pills, which they will dissolve and neutralize.  Measurable amounts of antibiotics, antidepressants, and medications have all been found in U.S. lakes and rivers. The eco-friendly, medication disposal system produced and donated for the Utah Take Back is highly effective in absorbing and firmly binding pharmaceuticals, rendering chemical compounds safe for landfills and reducing watershed contamination.

Utahns can prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Drop off unused, unneeded, and expired drugs is tomorrow, Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at locations statewide, in addition to year-round locations. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. For more information about the April 29th Take-Bake and to find a collection site near you, visit www.utahtakeback.org.

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AGO Executes Search Warrants in Major Statewide Gambling-Device Enterprise

SALT LAKE CITY March 2, 2017 – The Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced today that AGO investigators, in a joint operation with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, executed warrants to seize evidence of an alleged statewide enterprise related to illegal gambling machines. The operation identified over an estimated 500 machines or more at over 130 locations across the state.  Tips about illegal gambling devices were reported by citizens to legislators, Utah Senator Curt Bramble, Utah Representative Justin Fawson, and Utah Representative Norm Thurston, as well as from other sources. The investigation is ongoing.

“The Attorney General’s Office has focused its operation today on a large number of gambling devices that we allege are illegal under Utah statute,” said Utah Attorney General’s Office Investigations Chief Leo Lucey. “Because these devices are out in the open and are available to anyone, they present an especially dangerous threat to youth.”

“I appreciate the Attorney General’s office and the work they’ve done to address concerns that local law enforcement agencies brought to the attention of Representative Thurston and myself,” said Rep. Justin Fawson, District 7. “This was a coordinated effort between local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s office that resulted in bringing down an enterprise that was attempting to skirt the Utah gambling laws.”

“A question was raised whether coin pushers in local convenience stores were legal,” said Rep. Norm Thurston, District 64. “After learning the about the problems these machines create, it was made clear that statewide approach would be necessary to address this issue. Rep. Fawson and I appreciate the cooperation, hard work and response of the Attorney General’s office, investigators and agencies across the state to help resolve this issue.”

Utah law requires prosecutors and law enforcement to prosecute illegal gambling in Utah where ever it may be found. The Utah AGO takes this legislative mandate seriously and appreciates all of the various law enforcement agencies who have collaborated in this case. 

The following link contains clips that the media may use for purposes of their stories, if helpful. Click here for video. Click here for photography.

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Utah Attorney General

AG Reyes Joins with 39 Other State Attorneys General as Plaintiff in Federal Generic Drug Antitrust Lawsuit

States file amended complaint in lawsuit against six generic drug companies, now alleging new violations of state antitrust and consumer protection laws

SALT LAKE CITY March 2, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes announced today that Utah has joined a federal antitrust lawsuit alleging that six generic drug-makers entered into illegal conspiracies in order to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two generic drugs.

An amended complaint filed in with the federal court increases from 20 to 40 the number of plaintiff states in the lawsuit, which was initially filed in December 2016. The amended complaint also adds claims of alleged violations of state antitrust laws – in addition to the alleged violations of federal antitrust laws – in each of the 40 states, as well as state consumer protection laws in most of the states, against the defendant generic companies Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Connecticut is leading the multistate group of plaintiff states, which now also includes Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“Along with 39 other states, we have laid out a strong and compelling case. In our amended complaint, we allege that these drug companies engaged in anti-competitive behavior, driving drug prices artificially high for certain generic drugs to the serious detriment of consumers,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “With the filing of this amended complaint, my office hopes to send a message of zero tolerance for trade practices we believe harm Americans and particularly those that hurt residents of Utah.      

“I appreciate the hard work of my Anti-Trust team, including Section Director Ronald Ockey, former Division Director David Sonnenreich, Assistant Attorney General Eddie Vasquez, and their stellar paralegal, Brian Blake, who have worked diligently with Connecticut and the other plaintiff states to bring this case forward.  The Utah AG’s office is dedicated to protecting consumers and companies from unlawful business practices such as those alleged in this case.”

In July 2014, the state of Connecticut initiated an investigation of the reasons behind suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies, and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication.

The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences, and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system, the states allege.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Portions of the complaint are redacted in order to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.

See below to view a copy of the redacted amended complaint. 

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Attorney General’s Office Announces Human Trafficking Arrests by ICAC and SECURE Strike Force

SALT LAKE CITY February 23, 2017 – In cooperation with local and national law enforcement agencies today, the Utah Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced in a press conference the arrests of a number of individuals on human trafficking and child sex exploitation charges. The following contains information on the arrests, as well as cases studies and follow-up information on questions asked during the conference. The arrests are related to cases where victims of human trafficking were trafficked inside Utah. Some cases involved minors and some crossed state lines. As a result of the multi-agency action, involving 25 agencies, there were 16 arrests including two prior sex offenders and one parolee, and three children were rescued.

The Utah Attorney General’s office does not handle every case where a child is alleged to have been involved in sex trafficking. Cases are investigated and referred to other prosecutor’s offices throughout the state in the jurisdictions where the case arose. For various reasons, the Utah AGO cannot give the number of investigations, prosecutions, or convictions that would accurately convey the breadth of this crime throughout the state.

The Utah AGO office possesses the specific training, expertise, and resources needed for addressing human trafficking that allows the AGO to devote the time and attention needed to build these complicated cases. For this reason, many but not all of these cases are referred to the AGO for help. Some of the Sexual Exploitation of Minor cases involved the manufacturing of child pornography. Several of the suspects traveled across the state and state line to sexually abuse children.

Some of the Sexual Exploitation of Minor cases involved the manufacturing of child pornography. Several of the suspects traveled across the state and state line to sexually abuse children.

Charges filed include:

  • Rape of a Child (1st Degree Felony)
  • Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (2nd Degree Felony)
  • Enticing a Minor over the Internet (2nd Degree Felony)
  • Dealing in Harmful Material to a Child (3rd Degree Felony)
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (3rd Degree Felony)
  • Criminal Charges (cont.)
  • Criminal Conspiracy (3rd Degree Felony)
  • Possession of Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute (2rd
  • Degree Felony)
  • Multiple other A and B Misdemeanors

Most cases had multiple counts of the same charge.

Partner agencies in the arrests include:

  • Adult Probation and Parole
  • Bountiful Police Department
  • Clearfield Police Department
  • Davis County Sheriff’s Office
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Enforcement and Removal Operations
  • Heber City Police Department
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • Ogden Police Department
  • Orem City Police Department
  • Park City Police Department
  • Pleasant Grove Police Department
  • Provo City Police Department
  • Sevier County Sheriff’s Office
  • South Salt Lake City Police Department
  • Summit County Sheriff’s Office
  • Syracuse Police Department
  • Tooele City Police Department
  • Unified Police Department
  • United States Marshal’s Office
  • Utah County Attorney’s Office
  • Utah County Sheriff’s Office
  • Vernal Police Department
  • Weber County Sheriff’s Office

The prosecuting agencies were the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah County Attorney’s Office.

Cases where trafficking of a child may not result in charges for human trafficking

There are a few reasons why cases where children were trafficked for sex may not result in charges for human trafficking of a child:

  • Human Trafficking of a Child is a new area of criminal justice. It was only added to the Utah criminal code in 2015. In the old model of viewing these cases, many times the child being sex trafficked was arrested for prostitution and adjudicated delinquent in the juvenile justice system. Only in the last year did Utah pass a “safe harbor” provision for children engaged in the sex trade that clarifies they should be treated as victims and referred to services.
  • While the safe harbor provision has helped protect child victims of sex trafficking from improper criminal charges, the criminal justice field at large still has a long way to go in shifting from viewing this crime into a human trafficking lens. In some jurisdictions, these cases are still investigated through the lens of prostitution and not human trafficking. Sometimes suspects are charged with exploiting prostitution even in cases where children were sex trafficked.
  • Another component of the safe harbor philosophy is that we should avoid re-victimizing those preyed on by sex traffickers by pressuring them to participate in the criminal justice process. In our office, we often prosecute defendants who we have reason to believe are traffickers with other related offenses, either because the victim does not want to participate in our criminal case or to protect them from having to do so if we can secure justice through other charges.

Case studies and updates on previous human trafficking arrests

Among the cases reported on today is the AGO’s prosecution of William Piol Makuei: Mauei was charged with three counts of 1st Degree Felony Rape of a Child after his DNA was found to match the newborn child of a girl who was impregnated before she turned 14. He later admitted to having sex with the child victim. This case arose from a human trafficking tip and ensuing investigation

The following two cases were not included in today’s briefing, but are provided here as updates to arrests previous reported.

  • Charles Daryl Kelley:  Kelley was convicted in July 2016 of Attempted Human Trafficking of a Child, after he attempted to recruit a 15-year-old girl into a commercial sex operation he was running out of a motel in Midvale. 
  • Quinlen Nathaniel Atkinson: Last April, Mr. Atkinson was charged with 1st Degree Felony Human Trafficking of a Child, 1st Degree Felony Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution Involving a Child, and several other felony charges based on allegations that he was running a commercial sex operation from Ogden to Idaho and Southern Utah. Both girls he is accused of manipulating into joining his operation were high school students. At the time of the known offenses, one of the girls had recently turned 18 and the other was 17 years old. This case is awaiting trial in Weber County.

Tip Line Numbers

Individuals with tips are encouraged to contact the Utah Attorney General’s tip lines:

The PowerPoint Presentation utilized at the press conference is embedded below.

 


Utah Attorney General’s Office Announces Guilty Plea in Bountiful Human Trafficking Case

Davis County, Utah  February 18, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General announced today the guilty plea on Thursday of Todd Jeremy Rettenberger to charges relating to human trafficking and related crimes.  Rettenberger was sentenced to one to fifteen years in prison for second-degree felony human trafficking and zero to five years for third-degree felony exploitation of prostitution. The sentences will run concurrently.

“The victims of this trafficker were girls, barely older than teens, forced into prostitution against their will and compelled to stay in “the life” by threats against their well-being and against their families. I am thrilled they will not have to endure a trial and be forced to relive the atrocities perpetrated upon them.  It is imperative that we now keep these survivors safe, avoid revictimizing them, empower them with resources and do everything we can to help them heal and reclaim their lives,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “Importantly, this case demonstrates that human trafficking is real. It exists in Utah as it does across the nation and around the world. It takes many forms and can happen anywhere.

“I offer my sincerest thanks and congratulations to Assistant Attorney General Dan Strong who brought the charges and to our elite investigative unit, the Utah SECURE Strikeforce, for their work on this case. I also want to thank and acknowledge Detective Aric Barker of the Bountiful City Police Department, his agency, and his chief, for their efforts to bring this human trafficker to justice and protect these victims.  Lastly, I reiterate my deep appreciation to each federal, state, county and city law enforcement agency that works side-by-side with the Utah AGO every day to disrupt human trafficking and related crimes in all their insidious forms.”

Rettenberger was charged in April of 2016 after police received reports that he was running a commercial sex operation out of Bountiful, along the Wasatch Front, and into other states. The Utah Attorney General’s Office’s SECURE Strike Force in conjunction with the Bountiful City Police Department investigated the allegations and found two women who were victimized by Rettenberger as part of this operation.  The women alleged that Rettenberger used forceful and coercive tactics, including threats of violence, physical violence, exploitation of their drug dependencies, and financial coercion.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office administers and coordinates the SECURE Strike Force partnership with the Utah Department of Public Safety and county, federal and city law enforcement agencies to combat violent and other major felony crimes associated with illegal immigration and human trafficking.

The mission of the Utah Attorney General SECURE Strike Force is to carefully target major fraud, organized gun, drug and human trafficking, detect creation of fraudulent government identification and other documents, and prosecute these crimes with specialized investigators and resources and a dedicated Assistant Attorney General prosecutor. The SECURE Strike Force works closely with the Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force. Learn more about the SECURE Strike Force here

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Utah Attorney General

Attorney General Reyes Testifies in Support of HB199

Proposed law would fight the trafficking of adopted children

SALT LAKE CITY February 16, 2017 – A bill before the Utah legislature would implement safeguards to protect adopted children from “rehoming,” the illegal practice of adoptive parents giving away their adopted children away to strangers without the usual home study or background checks performed to protect children. At the invitation of the US Department of State, the Utah Attorney General’s Office joined national a committee two years ago tasked with addressing the illegal phenomenon and exploring model legislation for other states around the country. The bill, HB 199, was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee with a favorable recommendation.

“Getting the bill out of committee is a positive step in the right direction,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “This bill isn’t designed to be overly punitive towards adoptive parents.  We know the vast majority of adoptive parents have only the most noble of intentions when bringing adopted children into their families. But the reality is that many adopted kids coming from overseas environments have been victims of terrible abuse in war-torn countries or experienced severe trauma from the horrors of torture, famine, abuse or other atrocities.  Some adoptive parents who become overwhelmed by the cultural, emotional and psychological challenges of highly traumatized children, panic and end up desperate.  In too many situations, parents have literally given away their children to strangers like they might with old furniture, beginning with an online communication or transaction.

“This bill provides these adoptive parents more resources to face such challenges or find another adoptive family through legal processes rather than simply giving away, selling or abandoning their adopted child.  Without a law at the federal and state level prohibiting this kind of transfer of custody, thousands of kids will continue to be placed into the hands of human traffickers, pimps, rapists and other predators. In short, this bill is absolutely necessary to protect children and assist adoptive families. It allows the state to better educate and inform adoptive parents going into an adoption, empowering them to be more informed and prepared. And it more effectively keeps children out of the hands of potential abusers and predators.”

The practice of rehoming, facilitated by websites that connect overwhelmed adoptive parents with strangers, was discovered by journalists. The Utah Attorney General’s Office has supported the effort to combat this form of human trafficking along with other members of the State Department committee, including the U.S. Department of Justice; the U.S. Department of Human Services, Children’s Bureau; and the administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. By passing this HB199, the Utah Legislature will close the legal loopholes that have allowed the practice of rehoming to flourish.

Representative Merrill Nelson’s bill, with the support of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, takes a largely non-punitive approach to the problem of rehoming. The bill assures that, before committing to the adoption, prospective adoptive parents get accurate information about the specific child’s history and training about the challenging kinds of behavior adopted children can exhibit. The new law would make clear that sending an adoptive child to live permanently with a stranger outside the legal system is prohibited. Further, Utah Child Protective Services would have the authority to investigate the living situation of a child who has been sent to live with strangers without a legal transfer of custody.

The bill language was developed in cooperation with the Utah Adoption Council, which also voted unanimously to support the bill.

“The Utah Adoption Council supports the efforts of the Attorney General to address the phenomenon of rehoming,” said Larry Jenkins, Standards and Practice Chair at the Utah Adoption Council. “Families with high needs children need to know what options are available to them, and this bill is a model for other states and a giant step forward towards helping these families.”

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Attorney General Sean Reyes, 20-State Coalition Urges Senate Confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to Supreme Court

SALT LAKE CITY February 2, 2017  — Attorney General Sean Reyes joined a 20-state coalition in urging Senate leaders to confirm the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The coalition expressed its support in a Wednesday afternoon letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Patrick Leahy.

The letter urges the Senate, including Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Mike Lee, to confirm Judge Gorsuch without delay.

“I applaud President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch, a committed textualist and fellow westerner, to the Supreme Court of the United States,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “By any objective measure, Judge Gorsuch is a sterling, eminently qualified nominee in the mainstream of American jurists. His decade-long record on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals—where he was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate—shows that if he is confirmed, Judge Gorsuch will bring to the nation’s highest Court a keen intellect, a vibrant pen, and a healthy respect for the judiciary’s proper role in our constitutional system. I urge the Senate to give Judge Gorsuch the up-or-down vote he deserves—and to confirm him as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.”

President Trump, in nominating Judge Gorsuch, fulfilled a promise to nominate a jurist who shared the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s commitment to interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written.

The coalition believes Judge Gorsuch is particularly well-suited to enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal overreach and protect the role of individual states. Federal agencies have consistently overstepped the bounds of their authority under the Constitution, to the detriment of the states, during the past eight years.

Judge Gorsuch offers a positive change. He respects the role of state governments and has consistently defended the constitutional rights to freedom of speech, religion and the right to bear arms.

The Senate previously confirmed Judge Gorsuch with broad, bipartisan support to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The coalition’s letter finds no reason why a jurist of such immense qualifications should not receive prompt confirmation once again.

Those signing the letter were state attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Read a full copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/2jDSp8j.

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Utah Attorney General's Office

McFarland Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Aggravated Murder

Sentenced to life without parole

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah  January 25, 2017 – The Office of the Utah Attorney General and the Sanpete County Attorney’s Office today announced the guilty plea and sentence of Logan Welles McFarland for the two charges of aggravated murder in relation to the December 30, 2011, robbery and murder of Leroy and Dorotha Ann Fullwood in their Mt. Pleasant home.  McFarland pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated murder. For each count, Judge Marvin D. Bagley of the Sixth District Court sentenced McFarland to life without parole with the sentences to run consecutively.

“This is a great day for the victim’s family, the Sanpete community, and the state of Utah,” said Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel. “Justice was served.”

Late on the evening of December 29, 2011, McFarland was in Mt. Pleasant with a plan to commit robbery to get money for drugs.  He had already stolen items from one home in Mt. Pleasant the day before and decided to come back a second time. McFarland was dropped off, armed with a .22 magnum caliber gun, at a church parking lot near the Fullwood home.  Removing a screen, McFarland entered the house through an unlocked window leading to a bedroom inside the Fullwood residence.

Once inside, McFarland shot the Fullwoods multiple times, killing both. The morning after the robbery and murders, McFarland visited his brother at his trailer in Moroni where he told his brother he had “dispatched lives in Sanpete County” and that a “mission had gone south.”  McFarland also told his brother he was leaving the area and wanted to say goodbye.  McFarland fled to Nevada and was eventually apprehended and arrested in the Nevada desert.  

Prosecuted by the Sanpete County Attorney’s Office and Utah Attorney General’s Office, the prosecution included Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel and Deputy County Attorney Kevin Daniels; Utah Attorney General’s Office Division Director Greg  Ferbrache, Criminal Deputy Craig Barlow,  Special Prosecutions Director Janise Macanas, and Special Prosecutions Paralegal Rosie McDonough. The case was investigated in cooperation with multiple Sanpete jurisdictions, including the Sanpete Sheriff’s Office, and a special thanks are extended to Nevada for cooperation in the case.

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