Six Arrested in West Valley Gang-Related Shooting

Six individuals were arrested in West Valley City, Utah for what is being considered a gang-related shooting that has left a teenager paralyzed from the waist down.

Minors and adults involved

Gang-Related Shooting Investigation

Photo by: Christ Yarzab

The six individuals arrested were either directly involved or involved in incidents that led up to the shooting. The suspects included two teens who were 15 and 16 years old as well as four adults who were all barely legal at only 18 to 19 years old. The gang-related shooting took place after a meet up between two gangs in West Valley City where the use of a firearm was allegedly prearranged. During the incident, multiple shots were fired and a 16 year old victim was rushed to the hospital where it was determined a bullet had struck his spine, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Enhanced penalties for gang-related shooting

When a crime such as a gang-related shooting can be linked to a “criminal street gang” or even a small group of people, the charges can be increased or enhanced. Utah Code 76-3-203.1 states “the enhanced penalty for a:

(a) class B misdemeanor is a class A misdemeanor;

(b) class A misdemeanor is a third degree felony;

(c) third degree felony is a second degree felony;

(d) second degree felony is a first degree felony; “

According to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, those arrested in the gang-related shooting incident were booked under charges including felony discharge of a firearm. Under normal criminal circumstances, discharge of a firearm which results in serious bodily injury of a person is already a first degree felony. According to the above code, the enhanced penalty for a “first degree felony is an indeterminate prison term of not less than five years in addition to the statutory minimum prison term for the offense, and which may be for life.”

“Criminal Street Gang”

Photo by: Alessandro Galantucci

Photo by: Alessandro Galantucci

Utah Code 76-9-802 defines a criminal street gang as “an organization, association in fact, or group of three or more persons, whether operated formally or informally:

(a) that is currently in operation;

(b) that has as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more predicate gang crimes;

(c) that has, as a group, an identifying name or identifying sign or symbol, or both; and

(d) whose members, acting individually or in concert with other members, engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity.

Small group of associates

Utah code 76-3-203.1 augments that enhanced penalties can result for those known to be in criminal street gangs, but also “in concert with two or more persons” which means “the defendant was aided or encouraged by at least two other persons in committing the offense and was aware of this aid or encouragement; and

(ii) each of the other persons:

(A) was physically present; or

(B) participated as a party to any offense listed in Subsection (5).”

(c) “In concert with two or more persons” means, regarding intent:

(i) other persons participating as parties need not have the intent to engage in the same offense or degree of offense as the defendant; and

(ii) a minor is a party if the minor’s actions would cause the minor to be a party if the minor were an adult.”

Attorney needed

Credit photo: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals

Credit photo: Shane T. McCoy / US Marshals

The majority of people are aware of the safety and criminal risks associated with gang involvement, however they may not understand that the penalties for many crimes are increased solely on the fact that there are ties to criminal street gangs. Their surprise is even greater for those facing enhanced charges merely for working with two or more people to commit the crime. Although facing criminal charges without counsel is never recommended, it is particularly important to be represented by a qualified criminal defense attorney if facing enhanced charges due gang-relations or group criminal events.

Criminal Solicitation Charges for Elderly Utah Woman Who Hired a Hit Man

An elderly Utah woman is facing criminal solicitation charges after she hired a hit man to murder her former husband and his wife.

The angry ex-wife

Photo by: Victor

Photo by: Victor

69 year old Linda Gillman of Herriman Utah was arrested for criminal solicitation after police received information from someone stating the elderly Utah woman was trying to hire them to murder her ex-husband and his wife. Authorities then recorded multiple conversations between Gillman and the hired hit man where murder scenarios as well as funding for the hit were discussed. Police determined they had enough evidence to arrest Gillman for criminal solicitation.

Criminal solicitation

Utah Code 76-4-203 states: “An actor commits criminal solicitation if, with the intent that a felony be committed, he solicits, requests, commands, offers to hire, or importunes another person to engage in specific conduct that under the circumstance as the actor believes them to be would be a felony or would cause the other person to be a party to the commission of a felony. An actor may be convicted under this section only if the solicitation is made under circumstances strongly corroborative of the actor’s intent that the offense be committed.”

Penalties

Criminal Solicitation

Photo by: Money

The charges for hiring someone to commit a felony are severe, with penalties usually only one degree below those of the crime that is being contracted out. For instance, if someone hired another to commit a second degree felony, they would face a third degree felony. According to Utah Code 76-4-204, these charges of a lesser degree do not take place when the crime being solicited is murder; rape, object rape or sodomy of a child, or child kidnapping;

Don’t even think about it

Hiring someone else to do a person’s dirty work does not lessen the chance of criminal charges for that person who is soliciting a crime. In fact, an individual can face charges for criminal solicitation even if the crime was never carried out. They can be punished for their part in the hiring, planning, and funding of said crime. For those who have made the grave error to hire someone to commit a felony or for those who have accepted and carried out such felony, an experienced defense attorney is recommended.

Prohibited Merchandise at Flea Markets in Utah

Utah has nearly 30 flea markets and swap meets registered around the state and while most of the vendors obey the laws regarding items they can sell, occasionally prohibited merchandise is put up for sale.

Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act

Flea Markets

Photo by: Joel Kramer

The Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act found in Utah Code Title 13 Chapter 32 defines swap meets and flea markets act as “an event at which personal property is offered for sale or exchange:

(i) by two or more persons and a fee is charged to vendors ( . . . ) or to prospective buyers for admission ( . . . ); or

(ii) if the event is held more than six times in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of [vendors] or the absence of fees.”

If swap meets or flea markets are done to raise money for a fundraiser such as a charity event or if the items sold are new and being sold by a representative of the manufacturer, then these instances would not need to be regulated under the Swap Meets and Flea Markets Act.

Prohibited Merchandise

Flea Markets

Photo by: gastondog

Almost anything can be found at a flea market, however there are three specific types of merchandise that are prohibited:

Baby food. Utah Code 13-32-103 states “food product which is manufactured and packaged specifically for consumption by a child under two years of age” is not to be sold by vendors, unless they are a distributor from the company.

Over the counter drugs. According to 13-32-103, “nonprescription or over-the-counter drug or medications other than herbal products, dietary supplements, botanical extracts, or vitamins” are also prohibited.

Makeup or toiletries that can expire. Upon first glance at the last sentence of the section, a reader might assume they mean makeup or toiletries that are past their expiration. Surprisingly it states any “cosmetic or personal care product that has an expiration date.” If there is a date stamp, it cannot be sold at swap meets.

Caution to vendors

Transaction Receipts

Photo by: Steven Depolo

For those who choose to use flea markets as a business opportunity or a side gig, it is important that they follow the above rules concerning prohibited merchandise as well as the rules in place regarding receipts and transaction records. Failure to follow swap meet and flea market laws can result in an infraction.