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!

Felony Charges for Aiding and Abetting in Poaching Crime

Helping a couple friends with an illegal activity usually comes at a cost, as one Utah politician learned the hard way as he now faces felony charges for aiding and abetting in a poaching crime.

Permission to hunt on land illegally

Earlier this month, the mayor of Hurricane Utah was arrested for aiding and abetting after he allowed a couple friends to hunt protected mule deer on his land. Although Mayor John Bramall was not stated to be an active participant in the hunt, he knowingly allowed the men to hunt the deer on his land, an act the state of Utah claims to be aiding and abetting in the wonton destruction of protected wildlife.

Aiding and abetting a poaching crime

Utah Code 23-20-23 of the Wildlife Resources Code of Utah states: “It is unlawful for any person to aid or assist any other person to violate any provisions of this code or any rules or regulations promulgated under it. The penalty for violating this section is the same as for the provision or regulation for which aid or assistance is given.” For aiding and abetting with a poaching crime, Mayor Bramall will face the same charges as if he were the one who had pulled the trigger.

Two deer, two charges

Since there were two deer killed unlawfully, there are two different charges for Mayor Bramall to face. The value of the smaller deer was between $250 and $500, which according to Utah Code 23-20-4 would make the poaching of said deer a class A misdemeanor. The larger trophy deer was valued at more than $500, which is punishable as a third degree felony. The mayor of Hurricane, whose term isn’t up until 2018, may face up to five years in jail for essentially looking the other way while a crime was committed on his property.

Sixth Amendment Rights Regarding Criminal Proceedings

The Sixth Amendment entitles defendants to specific rights regarding criminal proceedings which they should be privy to prior to their court hearings.

Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution

Sixth Amendment

Photo by: Phil Roeder

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution is a segment of the Bill of Rights which was presented into the Constitution in 1789 and reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” The Sixth Amendment gives protection to defendants during criminal proceedings and should be understood completely to ensure the rights of the accused are not being violated.

Speedy and public trial

Speedy. Criminal proceedings can often take days and even weeks to conclude; however defendants should not spend an excess amount of time incarcerated prior to these proceedings, especially if they have not been released on bail. This also makes sure the availability of any witnesses for the defense or prosecution.

Public. Defendants have the right to a public trial; No criminal proceedings should be done in secret. This not only protects the defendant from hidden corruption within the system, it allows the public including family and friends of the defendant to observe the trial and observe that it is carried out justly. This likewise permits the media to be present and report on the case as it transpires. The defendant may waive this right if desired or access to the proceedings may be limited by the courts to guard a defendant’s right to a fair trial or to protect a witness from coercion.

Impartial jury

Photo by: J

Photo by: J

All defendants have the right to an impartial jury. This is ensured through the jury selection process. Jury selection is first done randomly from a pool of registered voters in the area. After the original jury pool, the defense and prosecution are able to question possible jury members at which point they have the opportunity to object to any person they feel would not be able to be impartial to the case. Some scenarios in which a jury member would be challenged are: when they have a personal relationship or association with the accused; if they have biases or preconceptions for or against the defendant; if their opinion on the type of crime in question is unwavering; or just for the reason that either the prosecution or defense chooses not to have them on the jury.

Informed on charges

This may seem obvious, but the Sixth Amendments protects the rights of defendants to be informed on the charges that they are facing and “the nature and cause of the accusation”. If a defendant is unaware as to why they were arrested or facing trial, they would be less likely to prepare adequately for their defense.

Confrontation clause

Photo by: Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC)

Photo by: Khmer Rouge Tribunal (ECCC)

The confrontation clause protects the defendant’s right to confront those accusing them of a crime. This allows the accused the opportunity to face and cross examine the witnesses who are making allegations, giving the defendant ample opportunity to debate the accusations against them. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution gave even further rights to the defendant by ensuring that the confrontation clause would be applicable in federal AND state courts. There are some instances when confrontation is not permitted, such as when the witness is a child and their testimony is not recorded in court, but done prior to the proceedings.

Defense counsel and witnesses

The final rights stated in the Sixth Amendment ensure that the accused has the right to obtain witnesses who are “in his favor” as well as an attorney to defend him/her. The compulsory process clause allows the accused the right to have witnesses speak on their behalf to aid in attesting to their innocence or poke holes in the case. These defense witnesses may even be issued a subpoena, ordering them to appear in court. Regarding defense counsel, if the accused is in good mental health they may waive their right to counsel if they choose. All defendants however are allowed to seek a reliable defense attorney of their choosing or have an attorney appointed to them by the court. It is recommended for anyone facing charges to always seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney to guarantee that no constitutional rights are violated and that all the protections of the law are provided.

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.