Prosecutors, defense attorneys condemn bill to repeal bail reform

SALT LAKE CITY – A legislative effort to repeal bail reform last year would leave Utah vulnerable to costly legal challenges and undo advances that have made the state safer, top prosecutors and defense lawyers from Utah’s three most populous counties said Monday.

District attorneys and defense attorneys from Salt Lake, Davis, and Utah counties denounced a so-called “ill will” to reverse the law that now keeps suspects in jail, largely because of the risks they pose, not whether they are can afford a deposit.

Your announcement will be made in the last week of the 2021 legislative period, which is adjourned to Friday.

“There’s been a lot of work going on in the past week,” Salt Lake County attorney Sim Gill said in a press conference Monday at his Salt Lake City office. “And if we didn’t feel the existential danger of going backwards and losing the profits we made – which would lead to unfair results – we wouldn’t be here.”

The law orders judges to release individuals charged with low-level crimes under the least restrictive of conditions, such as ankle monitors. When setting bail, judges must consider a person’s solvency.

The changes were passed last year with widespread support from sheriffs, prosecutors, public defenders, and others. But the Utah Sheriff’s Association has spoken out in favor of repealing it, saying the moves have enabled dangerous criminals to be released.

Gill and colleagues say these examples cannot be traced back to the law. They are joining a victim rights attorney to support another move that they say would improve certain shortcomings of the 2020 law, which went into effect in October.

This story will be updated.

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