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AG Reyes Says Goodbye to George H.W. Bush

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2018

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL SEAN D. REYES SAYS GOODBYE TO PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH

Tonight, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes issued the following statement:

I have fond memories of President George H.W. Bush and deep gratitude for his lifetime filled with service to our country. Among many roles, he was a WWII Aviator, Congressman, two-time Ambassador, CIA Director, Vice-President for President Reagan, and the 41st President of the United States. A man of faith, family, and a patriot. A long life and one well lived. My prayers and condolences to the Bush family. 

May his legacy join us as a nation in good will “…like a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky” (George H.W. Bush, Presidential nomination acceptance speech, August 18, 1988).

AG Reyes Honors Officer Romrell

November 25, 2018

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shared the following upon hearing of the tragic loss of Officer David Romrell of the South Salt Lake Police Department: 

All of us in the Utah AG Office express our sorrow and condolences to the family of Officer David Romrell as well as to Chief Jack Carruth and the South Salt Lake Police Department. The loss of any member of our law enforcement family is felt very deeply. It will be heartbreaking to add another hero to the Utah Law Enforcement Memorial. I know our team at the Utah 1033 Foundation will be reaching out to the Romrell family to assist with financial support and other resources. Whether it was in police blues or the uniform of a United States Marine, David Romrell fought valiantly to preserve peace and protect us, our community, and nation. May God now grant peace to his soul and comfort to his family and friends.

Native American Heritage Day

November 23, 2018

On this Native American Heritage Day, we at the Utah Attorney General’s Office honor their gifts as the first Americans which helped craft the history of this nation. We acknowledge a culture steeped in rich language and tradition, with a powerful legacy, and a profound history.

Today we pause to recognize the many contributions Native Americans have made – and are making – to the story of this great country. Though our shared history contains great tragedies and memories of pain, injustice, and discrimination, we are reminded that we are the authors of a future yet written. That belief compels us to renew our commitment to meaningful tribal partnerships so that all of us – of all nations – have futures filled with great opportunities and open doors. 

In the words of the great Lakota leader Sitting Bull:

“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”

 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Utah AG

Today as we gather with our families and reflect on the many blessings in our lives, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shares his well-wishes for Thanksgiving: 

Those who are grateful are the richest people on earth no matter their possessions and regardless of their circumstances!”
  —Norberto “Buddy” Reyes, Award-winning artist & philanthropist 
May the blessings you count be numerous this Thanksgiving! And if you are alone or suffering, let us be thankful that there is a chance to still help you through your pain.
 
On behalf of the Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes and the Office of the Utah Attorney General – Happy Thanksgiving!

2018 Report Card: Utah & child sex trafficking

November 20, 2018

Every year each state in the union gets a grade on their efforts in the fight against human trafficking by Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. Shared Hope does this in a variety of ways, one of which is advocating in each state for stronger legislation that criminalizes the various aspects of human trafficking.

States are graded on the analysis and review of six areas:

  • Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking 
  • Criminal Provisions for Demand (those who buy)
  • Criminal Provisions for Traffickers (those who sell)
  • Criminal Provisions for Facilitators (those who help)
  • Protective Provisions for Child Victims 
  • Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation & Prosecution

Report cards for 2018 were just released and Utah continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking. This is due in large part to Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes who is a strong, international voice who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.

 

Human trafficking is a top priority for the Utah Attorney General’s Office carried out by the Utah SECURE Strike Force and Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force. Due to their action, the state of Utah has made several improvements to their legal code including: 

  • Prohibiting prosecution of children engaged in prostitution and mandating their referral to DCFS for services (2015 amendments)
  • Defining child trafficking as child abuse subject to protections and intervention in juvenile court and through DCFS (2015 amendments)
  • Punishing facilitators/beneficiaries of child trafficking the same as the direct offenders (I’m not sure when this was added)
  • Allowing victims of trafficking to sue their traffickers for civil damages (2017 amendments)

You can read the entire report here: Utah Report Card – Shared Hope 2018

To see how Utah compared to other states, go here: https://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018ProtectedInnocenceChallengeToolkit.pdf.

Photo Courtesy of Shared Hope International

Battling illegal robocalls & spoofing

November 19, 2018

Illegal robocalls and spoofing have cost Americans billions of dollars in fraudulent claims. According to a study by Truecaller, Americans lost $9.5 billion in 2017 to robocall and spoofing scams, and it’s only expected to increase. 

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 34 other state AGs urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules that would require service providers to block illegally spoofed calls or help identify a potential scam for consumers. In the letter, the state AGs reaffirmed their commitment to providing public education, responding to consumer complaints, and taking appropriate action when needed – but it’s not enough. The AGs strongly recommended the FCC explore ways to identify technology that could combat fraudulent calls and utilize every tool available to help protect Americans. 

You can read the letter from the AGs here: A Letter to the FCC About Robocalls.

Deputy Attorney General David Sonnenreich had the opportunity to visit with Lori Prichard of KSL-TV on behalf of the Office of the Utah Attorney General to discuss robocalls, steps federal and state leaders are taking, and what you can do in the meantime to protect yourself. 

You can find more information on the FCC’s push to combat robocalls and spoofing and tips to protect yourself here

Photo by rawpixel

Utah AG’s Office arrests suspected human trafficker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2018

 

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE ARRESTS SUSPECTED HUMAN TRAFFICKER
Women share stories of assault, abuse, and forced prostitution

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Utah Attorney General’s Office arrested James Savage Brown for multiple felony charges, including human trafficking, against two women. Charges against James Savage Brown consist of five first-degree felonies, including sexual exploitation and assault, and two second-degree felonies of aggravated exploitation of prostitution.
 
AG Special Agents learned of Brown’s activity earlier this year from one of the victims after she was released from the Salt Lake County Detention Center. While there, the victim encountered another woman who had suffered similarly at the hands of Brown. Both women told stories of sexual assault, physical abuse, and repeated forced prostitution.

James Savage Brown has a lengthy criminal history, both in Utah and California. In addition to the charges already filed, agents found stolen credit cards, marijuana, and a distributable amount of meth in his possession at the time of his arrest earlier today. The Utah Attorney General’s Office requested that James Savage Brown’s bail be denied as he poses a risk of danger to the community. 

The two victims are receiving treatment by a partner agency of the Attorney General’s Utah Trafficking in Person’s Task Force.

“The accused is entitled to a presumption of innocence. So we won’t make any more statements about him while the case is being prosecuted,” said Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes. “But we can express how relieved we are that the alleged victims are safe and receiving the best resources we have at our disposal. We are grateful our agents and everyone else involved in the investigation and arrest are all safe. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that we in the Utah AGO are deeply committed to combat with aggressive investigations and prosecutions.”

The Attorney General’s SECURE Strike force executed the investigation and arrest. SECURE is tasked by the Utah Legislature with investigating and prosecuting large-scale criminal operations, including human trafficking.

Human trafficking tips should be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.

# # #

NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the charging documents and probable cause statement here:  https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/James-Brown-Savage.pdf.
  2.  Read more about the AG’s SECURE Strike Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/secure-task-force/.
  3. You can find more information on the Utah Trafficking in Persons (UTIP) Task Force here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/initiatives/human-trafficking/.

Rapid DNA a game changer in fighting crime

November 14, 2018

The Utah Attorney General’s office can now help Utah law enforcement agencies catch criminals faster than ever.

How? With Rapid DNA testing.

Rapid DNA testing is a new technology that allows law enforcement to analyze evidence on the crime scene and deliver results within a couple of hours. This timing is significantly shorter than the typical turnaround time often needed for DNA analysis.

The AG’s Office has been testing and analyzing the reliability of Rapid DNA for the last two months. The testing has found the new technology to be effective, efficient, and even able to test DNA from a gun.

KUTV: New technology could catch criminals before crime scene tape comes down

Rapid DNA is a game changer in the fight against crime. Often, agencies have had to release suspects back into the community as they wait for the evidence they need to press charges. With Rapid DNA, those suspects are usually already in custody and give officials a greater ability to know what next steps can be taken in the pursuit of justice.

KUTV: Utah one of first with new tech to analyze criminal DNA in less than 2 hours

In fact, one week after Rapid DNA was given the green light, law enforcement solved its first case utilizing the new technology.

Attorneygeneral.gov: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/rapid-dna-first-case/

The AG’s Office currently owns and operates two Rapid DNA analyzers. This technology is available to any law enforcement agency in the state at no cost to their local taxpayers. Below is Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to law enforcement agencies explaining the process and inviting agencies to reach out if they are in need of assistance. 

To utilize Rapid DNA in your agency, please call our AG Investigations Division at 801-281-1200. 

Photo by Louis Reed

Honoring Utah political giant Dan Jones

November 7, 2018

Utah said goodbye to Dan Jones, a well-known professor and trusted pollster, over the weekend. 

A fixture in the world of Utah politics, Dan Jones worked to keep Utah honest throughout his years as the most trusted pollster in Utah. His influence on Utah politics and politicians was significant and helped shape the current political community we enjoy today.

Dan was the type of political force that we leaders in public service strive to be – honest, full of integrity, and passionate about creating a better Utah for everyone. He was a truly great man and he will be missed by us all.

The passing of Dan Jones evoked thoughts from leaders, friends, and his former students across the state of Utah. You can read more tributes to him below.

KSL.com: Utah leaders, former students mourn passing of political icon Dan Jones

Salt Lake Tribune: Legendary Utah political pollster Dan Jones has died

Deseret News: Utah leaders, former students mourn passing of political icon Dan Jones

Opioids & Rural America

November 1, 2018

While Utah has experienced a drop in opioid-related overdose deaths, the rate of overdose deaths across America continues to rise. 

What may be surprising is where in America those rates occur. Long perceived as an urban issue, rural communities are now experiencing overdose deaths at a higher rate than their urban neighbors.*

Civil Eats, a daily news source for critical thought about the American food systems, addresses the farm communities that are especially hard hit by the opioid addiction. In their recent article, Reckoning with Opioids in Farm Country, Randy Parker, Utah State Director for USDA Rural Development is featured for his work on tackling the opioid issue in rural Utah. Attorney General Sean Reyes is also highlighted for his work in the creation of a rural opioid task force, which Parker chairs, to focus efforts on providing prevention, treatment, and recovery for those who live in rural areas. 

Here’s a look at a couple opioid roundtables in rural Utah.

You can learn more about opioid misuse in Rural America here and see how the USDA is responding in the following video (courtesy of USDA.gov)

 

*CDC Reports Rising Rates of Drug Overdose Deaths in Rural Areas

Photo by Timothy Eberly

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