Wrong Way Driver Charged with Fleeing, Resisting Arrest

wrong way driver resisting arrest

Photo: Lionel Allorge/Wikimedia Commons

A man who was driving the wrong way down a one-way street on Friday, Jan. 30, was arrested and charged after refusing to pull over, then allegedly threatening to shoot the officer, and finally resisting arrest. According to court records, this isn’t the man’s first run-in with the law.

Lots of “Wrong Ways,” Including Resisting Arrest

According to a report from KSL News, the trouble began at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Friday morning. An officer noticed a driver going the wrong way on 500 South, a one-way street. The officer turned on his overhead lights in an attempt to get the driver to turn around and go the correct way, but instead the driver went around the officer.

At this point, the officer added his siren to the mix, but the driver still didn’t stop. Rather than create more danger by starting a wrong-way pursuit, the officer pulled over, called dispatch, and then searched the area, finding the vehicle parked at a residence at 500 South 800 East. According to Salt Lake police detective Dennis McGowan, when the officer approached the vehicle to see if the driver was still inside, he heard something which may have been a threat come from a man on the porch of the residence.

The officer ordered the man, Brent Brown, 43, of Salt Lake City, off the porch and to lie down on the ground. However, a struggle ensued when the officer tried to put on the handcuffs, adding a charge of resisting arrest to Brown’s tally for the morning, including failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.

Detective McGowan said the Brown’s statements were “broken up, disjointed, and unintelligible,” but as of Friday, information hasn’t been released as to whether Brown was intoxicated, although given his lengthy history of DUI and other alcohol related charges and traffic violations, it’s not out of the question.

Resisting Arrest: Class B Misdemeanor

According to Utah Criminal Code 76-8-305, interference with an arresting officer, more commonly known as resisting arrest, occurs when a person “has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention”.

Resisting arrest can happen if the person uses force or any weapon, refuses to perform any act required by lawful order (such as allowing himself to be handcuffed), or refuses to stop doing something that interferes with the arrest of detention. Resisting arrest is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest, don’t leave your defense in the hands of a public defender. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will work on your behalf.

Drastic Increase in Utah Poaching Incidents Past Two Years

Utah poaching incidents increase

Photo: Agricultural Research Service/Wikimedia Commons

According to recent figures from state wildlife officials, poaching incidents in Utah have increased by more than 30 percent over the past two years. However, officials say these numbers may not be representative of what is actually happening and may still increase in the coming days.

Poaching: The Many Factors of an Often Unsolved Crime

Given recent news about a protected gray wolf shot by a hunter who allegedly claims he thought it was a coyote, the issue of poaching and shooting protected animals in general is definitely in the public eye.

According to an Associated Press article, authorities have reported that more than 1,287 animals were killed illegally in 2014, however those numbers may increase as patrolling wildlife officers find more animals. In 2013, the numbers were 958.

Because the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources relies on their officers finding the animals or getting tips on someone poaching wildlife, they estimate that the numbers are much higher if poachers are able to dispose of the body and keep the incident to themselves.

Of the poaching incidents in Utah, the largest numbers of animals are deer, who are sought for their antlers. Box Elder County wildlife officer Mike Kinghorn said the bodies are often found without their heads. Other animals on the 2014 list include elk, moose, buffalo, bears, eagles, a desert tortoise, and even a pelican.

Poaching Penalties in Utah

Poaching occurs under three main circumstances: if the animal is killed out of season, if the hunter doesn’t have a license, or the hunter takes more animals than the state allows.

Per Utah Criminal Code 23-20-4, poaching is considered “wanton destruction of protected wildlife” and ranges from a class B misdemeanor up to a third degree felony. This is determined by the value of the animal as valuated by that particular section (and whether or not the animal is considered a “trophy animal” such as a deer, in which case it is a felony).

In addition to fines and potential jail time imposed as a result of the charge, restitution is generally imposed on the offender based on a list of animals and subsequent restitution charges as found in Utah Criminal Code 23-20-4.5. For example, as a trophy animal, poaching deer would be considered a felony and have an additional minimum of $8,000 in restitution.

Poaching is a serious crime just to have a trophy on your wall. If you or someone you know has been accused of poaching, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will look out for your best interests.

Kansas, U.S. Sixth Circuit Delay Same-Sex Marriage Progress

Sixth Circuit delays same-sex marriage progress

Photo: Jeff Belmonte/Wikimedia Commons

A little over a month ago, in a move that seemed to be opening the floodgates for legal same-sex marriages nationwide, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the State of Utah and four other states regarding their bans on same-sex marriage after those bans were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Supreme Court declined without comment, but it was generally understood that they declined to hear the case because at that time, there was consensus among the federal appeals circuits.

However, a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to uphold bans in four states and an application to the Supreme Court from the State of Kansas to delay the issuance of licenses for same-sex marriage may just force the Supreme Court’s hand to finally weigh in on the issue. While many members of the LGBT community celebrated the rulings against bans on same-sex marriages, many are also in agreement with the opposition that the only way to truly settle this issue is for the nation’s highest court to address it.

Same-sex Marriage in Utah

While the ABA Journal is calling the Kansas case “one of the fastest same-sex marriage cases to develop,” here in Utah, it has been a 10 year battle. In 2004, voters in Utah approved Amendment 3 to the Utah State Constitution. This amendment defined marriage and its subsequent benefits as strictly between a man and a woman. The constitutionality of Amendment 3 was challenged based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and ultimately on Dec. 20, 2013, U.S. Fifth District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Amendment 3 unconstitutional.

During a 17-day period between Shelby’s ruling and the State of Utah issuing an appeal to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals resulting in a stay, approximately 1,300 same-sex marriage licenses were issued. In June 2014, in a three-judge panel review, the Court of Appeals upheld Shelby’s ruling.

The State took their appeal to the U.S. Supreme on two issues: whether states should have the ultimate right to make decisions regarding issues of marriage, and if an actual right existed in the U.S. Constitution protecting same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case upheld the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional.

How Kansas Believes They are an Exception

Kansas also falls into the 10th Circuit, which means the same ruling would apply to them. Federal courts in Kansas are bound by the ruling. After a federal judge in Kansas struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, state officials cancelled their plans to hold a hearing regarding marriage licensing and instead put a temporary hold on all marriage licenses via the Kansas Supreme Court while they could call for new briefs on the issue.

The Kansas federal judge’s striking down of the ban on same-sex marriage was supposed to go into effect on Tuesday, Nov. 11, but on Monday, the state filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court for a delay in same-sex marriages. Kansas stated they are different than the other cases which the Supreme Court refused to hear because they believe the move by the federal judge interfered with the state supreme court’s review of the matter which was already underway.

The application was filed with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who also handles emergency legal matters for the 10th Circuit, and on Monday, Sotomayor granted the request to delay issuing same-sex marriage licenses while the state appealed to the 10th Circuit.

How the 6th Circuit Decision Delays Same-Sex Marriage Progress/h3>

When submitting their application to Sotomayor, the state of Kansas relied heavily on the decision on Nov. 6, 2014 by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage in four states: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Previous to this decision, the cause of same-sex marriage was moving forward without many hitches. In the past month, the freedom to marry was awarded to same-sex couples in 16 different states. The decision by the Supreme Court to refuse to hear the appeal case paved the way for same-sex marriage in the 10th and 4th Circuits. On October 7, one day after the Supreme Court decision, the 9th Circuit affirmed the freedom to marry via cases from Idaho and Nevada, setting the stage for same-sex marriage in that district as well. Previous to the 6th Circuit ruling, only 15 states remained that didn’t have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

According to the Kansas application, with the 6th Circuit ruling, there is now “irreconcilable conflict” among the appeals courts, so “the final resolution of these important constitutional questions by [the U.S. Supreme Court] will certainly be required.”

Speculation puts this action by the Supreme Court as early as before the end of their term in June 2015, however, it is also likely that it will be pushed to the beginning of their next term in October. Regardless, both sides of the issue believe they have a right to be heard. For supporters of same-sex marriage, they believe their freedom to marry should still be protected by the 14th Amendment. Meanwhile, opponents maintain their argument that ultimately this is a state’s rights issue and that the Supreme Court should step out of the way.