SALT LAKE CITY July 5, 2017 – Attorney General Sean Reyes announces that Chief Federal Deputy and General Counsel Parker Douglas has been named the 2017-2018 Fellow assigned to the Supreme Court of the United States, where he will serve in the Office of the Counselor to the Chief Justice.
“We congratulate Parker Douglas on this amazing opportunity to serve as a Fellow at the United States Supreme Court. It is a highly competitive process to be even considered for such a position and only the truly brightest and best of the legal community are accepted. Due to his past Ph.D. work in academia, his Supreme Court experience as a lawyer and the many successful cases he has litigated around the country, Parker has been chosen for this prestigious role. It is quite an honor for Utah to be represented at the High Court with someone in that role.
“From the very beginning of my administration, Parker has been an invaluable member of our executive team. He has demonstrated tremendous skill, creativity, and success in litigating seminal cases for our office. All the while, he has exhibited compassion for citizens, a love for the law and a deep commitment to public service. Before he came to our office, Parker was a Federal Public Defender who handled high-profile matters like the Elizabeth Smart case, wherein he defended her abductor Brian David Mitchell.
“In him, the Supreme Court Fellow Program gains a rigorous intellectual who is above all a wonderful human being. Though our office will feel the loss, I wish Parker and his family the best as he takes on this new challenge. Following his fellowship, he will join former Michigan Solicitor General, John Bursch, in forming a new law firm focused on constitutional litigation and appeals work.“
The Supreme Court Fellows Program offers mid-career professionals, recent law school graduates, and doctoral degree holders from the law and political science fields an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the judicial system through exposure to federal court administration.
Douglas’ last day with the Utah Attorney General’s Office was June 30, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY June 21, 2016 – In a statement today, the Office of the Attorney General responded to a complaint announced by the ACLU of Utah in conjunction with the law firm of Holland & Hart, LLP. The complaint alleges the State of Utah has failed to meet its obligation under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to provide defense for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer.
“The Sixth Amendment right to counsel for all persons, particularly those who cannot afford a lawyer, is a fundamental right held by all Americans and is crucial to ensuring justice in our legal system,” said Parker Douglas, Chief Federal Deputy and General Counsel of the Office of the Attorney General. “We are reviewing the complaint and will respond as appropriate.”
“The timing of this lawsuit is particularly unfortunate,” said Douglas. “Over the last year, the Judicial Committee, of which I am a member, has worked to assure that Utah appropriately responds to the needs of the indigent accused. The Committee’s work led to the 2016 passage of S.B. 155, sponsored by Senator Todd Weiler and Representative Dan McCay. After going into effect on May 10, the bill created a commission to ensure proper indigent defense and ways to fund those services. The bill was the result of an extraordinary effort by the Utah Judiciary, the Utah Legislature, members of the county attorneys, and many other state officials, as well as leaders of state and county criminal defense groups. To ask a judge to review these measures now, before any opportunity to see the results of that effort, is premature, and will require a single judge to review the collective efforts of the many interested stakeholders who have spent thousands of hours addressing the same issues.
“On a personal note: I spent seven years of my career and life defending those who could not afford an attorney. I am both cognizant of and sympathetic to the concerns that brought about this lawsuit. However, I think we should see if Utah’s recent efforts will alleviate the strains on the indigent defense system before embarking on costly and potentially counter-productive litigation.”
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