Salt Lake Criminal Defense Attorney - Clayton Simms

new_clayton_about A criminal charge, whether it is a felony or misdemeanor, can be a life changing event. Clayton Simms is a fierce advocate for people who have been charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. He represents clients who are facing charges in Salt Lake City and Greater Salt Lake County. In addition, he also represents clients along the Wasatch front. Clayton Simms represents defendants in other crimes Clayton has represented athletes, doctors, lawyers, and other notable people and has been featured on the news. Do you have a legal question? Contact Clayton Simms today!

Revoked Bail or Bond in Utah

Posting bail or bond is not a one way ticket out of jail as there are issues that may arise causing bail or bond to be revoked and the defendant being brought back into custody prior to any court proceedings.

Posting bail

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

When someone is arrested in Utah, they are often given the option to post bail. Bail is financial collateral given to the courts to ensure that the defendant will show up for all required legal proceedings. The defendant can take care of the bail amount on their own or they may pay a nonrefundable percentage of the amount to a surety. A surety is someone such as a bail bond agency who agrees to be responsible for the bail amount on behalf of the defendant. Once bail or a bond from a bail bondsman is posted, the defendant is then allowed the freedom to return home and carry on with their employment and other daily activities while they await their day in court. There are rules pertinent to the bail that must be followed while the person is free and awaiting court however. Failure to follow these rules could result in the bail being revoked.

Failure to appear

There are several reasons why bail could be revoked. The most common cause is the individual not showing up for their court date. This is known as failure to appear or jumping bail. When the person arrested does not comply with the agreement to attend all court dates, their bail is then revoked and a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. Not only will law enforcement officers be on the lookout for bail jumpers, but if a bail bond agency was used, a bondsman will make an effort to personally find and bring a defendant back into custody as well. Once the person is re-arrested, their bail is either set higher or the judge may not let bail be an option at all.

Revoked bail or bond

Photo by: Ken Teegardin

While failure to appear is the most common cause of revoked bail or bond, there are other reasons why bail could be revoked, even if the individual attends all their scheduled court dates. These reasons include:

• Being arrested on another charge. If someone gets caught breaking the law while out on bail, they could then face an entirely separate arrest. Not only may they face more criminal charges and the accompanying fines but their bail from the previous arrest will typically be revoked and those funds could be lost.

• Failure to obey court orders. When a judge issues a bail amount, he or she may also attach stipulations to the bail agreement such as obeying a protective order, not traveling out of state, passing drug tests, or refraining from contacting witnesses. If the individual out on bail fails to obey those orders, the judge may revoke the bond and the person may be brought back to jail.

• Motion to revoke bond. There are times when bail or bond is revoked even though the arrested individual has abided to all the terms of the bail agreement. If new information arises in a case or if the prosecution petitions the courts with a valid issue why the person on bail should be brought back into custody, the judge may then revoke the bail or bond and have the person return to jail.

Consult an attorney

Having bail revoked can result in the complete loss of bail monies, the return to police custody, and even additional criminal charges for failure to appear or going against court orders. For anyone facing a revoked bail or additional charges accrued from bail jumping, it is best they consult with a criminal defense attorney.

Utah Mother Arrested For Felony Child Abandonment

A Utah mother was arrested for felony child abandonment after authorities found her children to be living in deplorable circumstances.

Unsafe living conditions

39 year old Virginia Mary Martinez, a resident of the Shivwits Indian Reservation in Washington County, Utah was arrested after officers responding to a call about a loud verbal fight found Martinez living in a trashed trailer along with two small children. The young children, ages 2 and 3, were dirty and hungry with visible skin ailments due to the living conditions. The home Martinez and the children were living in was falling apart and crawling with bugs. After an investigation into the conditions at the Martinez home, the Division of Child and Family Services removed the toddlers and Martinez was arrested for child abandonment.

Child abandonment

Utah Code 76-5-109 regarding child abuse states: “Child abandonment’ means that a parent or legal guardian of a child;
• . . . Intentionally fails to make reasonable arrangements for the safety, care, and physical custody of the child; and
• . . . intentionally fails to provide the child with food, shelter, or clothing . . .
A person who commits child abandonment . . . [is] guilty of a felony of the third degree”.

Rehabilitation

Martinez is reported by a family member to have a possible drug problem and had admitted to not being able to obtain food for her children as she had no means of transportation. Now that Martinez has lost her children for an undetermined period and is behind bars, let this be an opportunity for her to obtain treatment for her addictions and hopefully be healthy enough to be reunited with her children later on. For more information on drug treatment options for those who are trying to raise children while fighting addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. For legal counsel contact a criminal defense attorney.

Lying to Police Results in Felony Obstruction of Justice Charges

A Utah woman arrested for felony obstruction of justice for initially lying to police about teens’ deaths in Utah.

Lying to police

Photo by: Carmello Fernando

34 year old Morgan Reannon Henderson of Mammoth, Utah was arrested on felony charges of obstruction of justice after she finally released information regarding two Utah teens who had been missing for nearly three months. Henderson was questioned twice early on in the investigation of the teen’s disappearance but was dishonest in her response to investigators. It wasn’t until Henderson was arrested for drugs and weapon charges that she told the truth about the night the teens went missing. The whereabouts of 17 year old “Breezy” Otteson and 18 year old Riley Powell remained unknown to the teens’ families or authorities until Henderson eventually told police her live in boyfriend, Jerrod William Baum was responsible for the death of both teens. She then led them to the location of the bodies and Baum was arrested for aggravated murder.

Obstruction of Justice

Henderson admitted to police that the teens had been at her when Baum became upset at the visitors and tied them up. She saw Baum kill the teens before dumping their bodies in an abandoned mine. She then assisted Baum in hiding their vehicle while he also stashed their personal belongings. Utah Code 76-8-306 states: “An actor commits obstruction of justice if the actor, with intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person regarding conduct that constitutes a criminal offense:

(a)provides any person with a weapon;
(b) prevents by force, intimidation, or deception, any person from performing any act that might aid in the discovery, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person;
(c) alters, destroys, conceals, or removes any item or other thing;
(d) makes, presents, or uses any item or thing known by the actor to be false;
(e) harbors or conceals a person;
(f) provides a person with transportation, disguise, or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension;
(g) warns any person of impending discovery or apprehension;
(h) warns any person of an order authorizing the interception of wire communications or of a pending application for an order authorizing the interception of wire communications;
(i) conceals information that is not privileged and that concerns the offense, after a judge or magistrate has ordered the actor to provide the information; or
(j) provides false information regarding a suspect, a witness, the conduct constituting an offense, or any other material aspect of the investigation.”

Since Henderson helped dispose of evidence and withheld information that would have led to the arrest of her boyfriend and recovery of the two teens, she was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice. Section 76-8-306 goes on to note that “Obstruction of justice is a second degree felony if the conduct which constitutes an offense would be a capital felony or first degree felony [such as murder]”. Each second degree felony is punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

A fearful choice?

Photo by: cvmz22

Although Henderson should have been upfront with authorities during her initial questioning, there is a possibility she chose to lie out of fear for her own safety. Baum had allegedly killed the teens to punish Henderson for allowing another male in the house while Baum was gone. If Baum was capable of such a heinous act, it would be reasonable to assume Henderson may be terrified to speak out against him. The fact that he threatened her life would have cemented that fear of telling the truth. It wasn’t until she was safe behind bars for another crime that she might have felt safe enough to share the truth. For that reason, lying to police or otherwise obstructing justice would have seemed the only choice to guarantee she was protected from harm. For those who are facing charges stemming from fear of domestic violence, contact a reputable criminal defense attorney. Those living in a situation where they are fearful for their safety or the safety of their family members are encouraged to call The National Domestic Violence at 1-800-799-7233.