Prosecution Policies Bluffdale City Attorney's Office
In compliance with Section 63M-7-216 of the Utah Code, the Bluffdale City Attorney’s Office Prosecution Policies (“Policies”) set forth below shall be used by the Bluffdale City Prosecutors to guide the exercise of prosecutorial discretion with the objective of achieving the fair, efficient, and effective enforcement of violations of state law and city ordinances within the City.
These policies and internal office procedures followed pursuant to them are intended solely for the guidance of City Prosecutors. They do not create a substantive or procedural right enforceable at law and may not be relied upon by a party for litigation with the City.
A. Screening and Filing Criminal Charges
Pursuant to Article VIII Section 16 of the Utah Constitution, Utah Code Title 67 Chapter 5, Utah Code Title 17 Chapter 18a, and Utah Code Title 10, Chapter 3, Section 928, it is the ultimate responsibility of City Prosecutors to determine when and which criminal charges should be prosecuted and against whom for cases involving Class B misdemeanors, Class C misdemeanors, and infractions. Except for cases authorized to proceed by citation pursuant to Utah Code 77-7-18 to -21, the decision to initiate a criminal prosecution by the filing of an information should be made by the Prosecutor’s office.
City Prosecutors shall carefully evaluate cases prior to making charging decisions, being mindful of their ethical duty to act as ministers of justice. Criminal charges should only be filed and maintained by City Prosecutors if they reasonably believe that: the charges are supported by probable cause; admissible evidence will be sufficient to support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt and there exists a reasonable likelihood of success at trial; and the decision to charge or maintain charges is in the interest of justice. Charges should be filed and maintained in the number and degree that are reasonably necessary to fairly reflect the gravity of the offense(s) and/or to deter similar conduct. If a City Prosecutor learns of previously unknown information that could affect a filing or screening decision previously made, the Prosecutor should reevaluate that earlier decision in light of the new information.
City prosecutors should not file or maintain criminal charges if they reasonably believe the accused is innocent or the necessary evidence to achieve a conviction is inadmissible.
B. Plea Bargains
City Prosecutors are under no obligation to offer plea bargains that have the effect of resolving criminal charges in lieu of trial. Where it appears that a plea bargain is in the public interests, City Prosecutors may engage in negotiations for the purpose of reaching an appropriate plea agreement.
When considering a plea bargain, City Prosecutors consider, among other interests: The nature of the offense(s); the degree of the offense(s) charged; any possible mitigating circumstances; the age, background, and criminal history of the defendant; the expressed remorse
or contrition of the defendant, and his or her willingness to accept responsibility for the crime; the sufficiency of admissible evidence to support a verdict; undue hardship caused to the defendant; possible deterrent value of trial; aid to other prosecution goals through non-prosecution; a history of non-enforcement of the statute violated; the potential effect of legal rulings to be made in the case; the probable sentence if the defendant is convicted; society’s interest in having the case tried in a public forum; the defendant’s willingness to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of others; the likelihood of prosecution in another jurisdiction; the availability of civil avenues of relief for the victim, or restitution through criminal proceedings; the willingness of the defendant to waive his or her right to appeal; the willingness of the defendant to waive his or her right to pursue potential civil causes of action arising from his or her arrest, against the victim, witnesses, law enforcement agencies or personnel, or the prosecutor or his or her staff or agents; issues relating to possible witnesses, including, but not limited to credibility, impairment, availability and willingness to testify, undue hardship to the witness, and the trauma of testifying for victims of crime.
A City Prosecutor must satisfy himself or herself that there is a sound factual basis for all crimes to which the defendant will plead guilty under any proposed plea agreement and should not knowingly make any false or misleading statements of law or fact to the defense during plea negotiations.
C. Sentencing Recommendations
City Prosecutors retain the discretion to negotiate and provide sentencing recommendations following the general standards for plea agreements. City Prosecutors should be familiar with Utah’s sentencing guidelines. The sentencing guidelines are meant to be a guide to prosecutors, defendants, and the court. City Prosecutors should seek to assure that a fair and informed sentencing recommendation is made, considering but not limited to the defendant’s criminal history, restitution, harm to the victim, and the Utah Bail Schedule fine, and to avoid unfair sentences and disparities. When a prosecutor believes that relevant factors justify a departure from the sentencing guidelines, whether upward or downward, the prosecutor should identify and articulate those factors to the court. In all cases where a victim has sustained a loss, it is the responsibility of the City Prosecutor who handles the sentencing hearing to comply with the Utah statutory scheme involving restitution, be familiar with the victim’s restitution request and, within the bounds of applicable legal and ethical standards to request from the sentencing judge restitution on behalf of the victim. If information regarding restitution is not available or is not complete at the time of sentencing, the City Prosecutor may request that restitution be reserved for the period allowed by statute and may file a motion requesting restitution during that time.
D. Discovery Practices
City Prosecutors will comply with the discovery obligations outlined in Rule 16 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure. This Office recognizes its duty to provide all “Brady” (Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963)) and “Giglio” (Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972)) material. Notwithstanding the timelines dictated in Utah Rule of Criminal Procedure 16, City Prosecutors should provide all discoverable materials in the Prosecutor’s possession or control as soon as reasonably possible. City Prosecutors should carry out discovery obligations in good faith
and in a manner that furthers the goals of discovery, namely, to minimize surprise, afford the opportunity for effective cross-examination, expedite trials, and meet the requirements of due process. If at any point in the pretrial or trial proceedings a City Prosecutor discovers additional witnesses, information, or other material previously requested or ordered which is subject to disclosure and was not provided, the City Prosecutor should promptly notify defense counsel and provide the required information.
This Office maintains a general “open file” policy for criminal cases but does not waive its right to protect its prosecutor work product and information protected by statute. Prior to providing discovery, City Prosecutors may redact from materials provided as discovery all information reasonably necessary to protect the safety and privacy of a victim or witness. When portions of materials are discoverable and other portions are not, a City Prosecutor should make good faith efforts to redact the non-discoverable portions in a way that does not cause confusion or prejudice to the accused. If counsel for the accused requests information previously redacted, the City Prosecutor should provide the information when it is relevant to the accused’s criminal case and the City Prosecutor can implement reasonable measures for the protection of the victim, witness, or any personal identifying information. If redacted or restricted material is ordered by a court to be produced or disclosed, a Prosecutor should seek protective orders as necessary to control the dissemination of that material.
Pursuant to Rule 16, in order to minimize surprise, afford the opportunity for effective cross-examination, expedite trials, and protect the rights of crime victims, City Prosecutors will request that the defense timely provide reciprocal discovery to the City.
E. Prosecution of Juveniles
Pursuant to Utah Code Annotated 78A-7-106, Justice Courts have original jurisdiction over class B and C misdemeanors, violations of ordinances, and infractions for all individuals who are 18 years of age or older, and original jurisdiction over statutorily enumerated violations committed by individuals who are 16 and 17 years old. City Prosecutors will manage those cases consistent with the provisions set forth in these Policies. Any other cases involving a juvenile, including those in which the juvenile or district courts have exclusive jurisdiction, which are erroneously sent to the City Attorney’s office for prosecution shall be referred to the appropriate prosecuting entity.
F. Collection of Fines and Fees
The Bluffdale City Attorney’s Office does not maintain policies regarding the collection of fines and fees associated with criminal cases.
G. Criminal and Civil Asset Forfeiture Practices
The Bluffdale City Attorney’s Office may assist law enforcement agencies in securing ownership of lost or misplaced property according to state law. City Prosecutors may also assist law enforcement agencies in seeking forfeiture of property where appropriate and authorized by state statute or city ordinances.
H. Services Available to Victims of Crime
The City Attorney’s Office does not have an “in-house” victim services program. However, when appropriate, City Prosecutors will make regular referrals to the Bluffdale City Police Department’s Crime Victim Advocate Program or other available community resources as needed.
I. Diversion Programs
The decision to divert cases from the criminal justice system should be the responsibility of City Prosecutors. A City Prosecutor should, within the exercise of his or her discretion, determine whether an alternative to criminal charges best serves the interests of justice and is permitted by statute.
J. Restorative Justice Programs
The Bluffdale City Attorney’s Office does not participate in any restorative justice program.
Bluffdale Justice CourtPhysical Address
2222 West 14400 South
Bluffdale, UT 84065
Phone: (801) 849-9417Fax: (801) 446-5662
Judge MickelsenJudge Scott J. Mickelsen
Emeline TafunaCourt Clerk
Samantha SmithAssistant City AttorneyPhone: (801) 254-2200 ext.422