Criminal Justice | KUER 90.1

Criminal Justice

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Donna Miller was heading to nursing school in August 2018, when she was pulled over by Murray Police Officer Jarom Allred for driving an uninsured car, according to a federal lawsuit Miller filed Monday. 

Miller said she gave Allred her insurance card and he then accused her of driving under the influence of alcohol. She took a breathalyzer test which came back negative, she added. 

Salt Lake City riot police
Brian Albers/ KUER

After weeks of calls to reduce the city’s police department budget, the Salt Lake City Council voted Tuesday night to do just that, though not by nearly as much as what residents have been calling for. 

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Albers / KUER

The state Legislature is taking steps to ban police officers from using chokeholds or kneeling on someone’s neck as a form of restraint. 

Photo of two men behind podiums on a stage
Courtesy of Rick Egan / Salt Lake Tribune

The Democratic nominee for Utah’s race for attorney general is already decided, but two Republican primary candidates will face off for the spot on the November ballot: incumbent Attorney General Sean Reyes and Utah County Attorney David Leavitt.

Photo of a group of protesters facing a line of police.
Elaine Clark / KUER

People flooded the streets of Salt Lake City Saturday to protest the in-custody death of George Floyd. One of them was Shea Freedom, a musician and activist based in Salt Lake City. KUER’s Caroline Ballard caught up with him on Sunday to hear about his experience.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Caroline Ballard: How has your experience influenced how you think about the unique intersection of civil rights & LGBTQ rights?

Photo of fence outside Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

Updated 6:41 p.m. MDT 4/2/2020: This story has been updated to reflect an announcement from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office Thursday. 

Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said Thursday the state’s first inmate has tested positive for COVID-19. The inmate was one of six to have been tested for the virus out of roughly 1,400 countywide and is currently under isolation. 51 other inmates from the same unit have also been moved to medical quarantine cells at Metro Jail from the smaller Oxbow facility. 

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

When architect Kavan Applegate was designing Ravenhall, he made sure to include things like native plants, a playground, meeting rooms with nooks to display local artifacts — even an outdoor fire pit where people could gather on special occasions. The goal, he says, was to help people “feel positive” and “embrace the opportunity for change.” 

But Ravenhall is not a yoga retreat. It’s a prison — Australia’s largest, in fact. And it’s run by the GEO Group, a private prison company based in the U.S.

Support for our series Private Prisons: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a nonprofit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

It was the early 2000s, and the largest prison in Idaho was run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA. The state had also started sending prisoners to a private facility in Texas run by GEO Group.


Photo of Sen. Jake Anderegg.
Cory Dinter for KUER

More information about what goes on in Utah’s jails and prison could become public information, if the state legislature passes a series of transparency bills. 

Image of detention center mockup.
Courtesy CoreCivic

Support for our series Private Prison: Locking Down The Facts came from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting and education around the globe.

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Grimmett / KUER

Conviction Integrity Units have been popping up in prosecutors' offices across the country: California, Texas and Salt Lake County to name a few. The units review convictions for new or non-disclosed evidence and can recommend that prosecutors try to vacate the conviction or modify the sentence. 

Photo of cannabis plants.
pxhere.com

A bill introduced in the State Senate Wednesday is looking to clear criminal records for those who’ve been convicted of offenses related to marijuana possession. 

S.B.121, sponsored by Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, would expunge the records of those who’ve used marijuana medicinally, though would not apply to anyone caught dealing or selling it or those with felony charges. 

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National Park Service

Monday evening, Feb. 3, 2020

Photo of large apartment building under construction in Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers / KUER

Thursday evening, Jan. 30, 2020

Law enforcement stand in front of a home
Courtesy of ACLU of Utah

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has filed a lawsuit against agents from Utah Adult Probation and Parole and it’s director over an August 2018 raid on a Salt Lake City home. 

Photo of the Tooele County District Court building.
Google Street View

Not much is known yet about the motives behind the shooting last weekend in Grantsville. The suspect though is 16-year-old Collin Haynie, accused of killing his mother and three of his siblings in their family home. 

Rep. Craig Hall on the floor of the Utah House of Representatives.
Cory Dinter for KUER

Information from popular at-home DNA test kits are increasingly being used by police to identify suspects as part of an emerging trend in criminal investigations.

Jon Reed / KUER

About a year after major reforms to Utah’s juvenile justice system, early indications show the state is heading in the right direction, detaining fewer kids and reducing staffing inefficiencies. 

Photo of Arches National Park.
iStock

Monday evening, December 2, 2019

Photo of an evidence bag.
Renee Bright / KUER

After Utah lawmakers approved a bill in 2017 that gave more money to the state’s crime lab to process sexual assault kits, the head of that lab estimated it could clear the backlog of untested kits in 2018. Now, the Department of Public Safety said it will take until July 2020 to get caught up.

Photo of the book.
Caroline Ballard / KUER

Convicted murderer Ron Lafferty died Monday after spending 34 years on Utah's Death Row. In 1984, he ordered the killing of his sister-in-law Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica. The case was the subject of the book “Under the Banner of Heaven.” Author Jon Krakauer joined KUER's Caroline Ballard to reflect on Lafferty's death.

Last year, on a warm Saturday evening in Boise, Idaho, Timmy Earl Kinner Jr. walked into the birthday party of a family. In a random attack, he stabbed nine people, including the birthday girl Ruya Kadir. That little girl died at just three years old.


Photo of Ronald Lafferty.
Utah Department of Corrections

After more than three decades on death row, Utah inmate Ron Lafferty died in prison Monday of natural causes.

Photo of fence outside Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah.
Kelsie Moore / KUER

The group, Conservatives Concerned About The Death Penalty, is just what it sounds: conservatives across the country questioning the use of capital punishment. 

The group’s members include hundreds of conservatives from 44 states — including Utah.

Whittney Evans/KUER

Dozens of Utahns lined up outside St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall in Salt Lake City on Thursday to take advantage of "Expungement Day." Salt Lake County’s new initiative helps some low-level offenders clear their criminal records at no cost.

Pool photo/Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he might sign a bill to repeal the death penalty if it passes the legislature-a huge pivot for Herbert, who previously supported capital punishment.

Courtesy of Jared Jensen

The ACLU of Utah will continue to fight for the full release of Utah’s current jail standards. This comes after the state announced a redacted version will be available online.

Courtesy of West Valley City Police Department

A bill that would allow prosecutors to automatically try a 15-year-old as an adult for murdering a police officer narrowly passed a Utah House committee on Tuesday.

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