JUDGES TO DETERMINE NEED FOR GRAND JURY – Vernal
Vernal, UT— A panel of judges is scheduled to meet on May 8, 2020, to hear testimony to determine whether good cause exists to call a grand jury. The meeting will take place at 920 West Hwy 40, Vernal, Utah 84078.
Those wanting to testify before the panel of judges should contact Michael C. Drechsel, Assistant State Court Administrator, Administrative Office of the Courts, at (801) 578-3821 by Tuesday, April 28, 2020, at noon, to schedule an appointment and receive further specific instructions. If no appointments are scheduled by that time, the meeting will be canceled without further notice.
Due to significant public health concerns regarding COVID-19, and consistent with the directives of state officials, the members of the panel of judges will appear at the meeting remotely using video conferencing software. Those wishing to testify will appear for individual appointments at the Vernal courthouse where a single panel staff member will be present to operate the video conferencing software and facilitate the individual’s testimony to the panel of judges. As pandemic conditions continue to evolve, all hearings that are scheduled may be canceled up to the last minute to ensure compliance with any public health directive.
Utah’s grand jury statute requires a panel of judges selected from throughout the state to hold a hearing in each judicial district every three years. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether a grand jury should be summoned based upon evidence of criminal activity. The panel of judges will hear, in secret, all persons claiming information that justifies calling a grand jury. An individual who testifies must be prepared to provide evidence to support a claim that justifies calling a grand jury. The Attorney General, a county attorney, district attorney, or special prosecutor appointed under U.C.A. section 77-10a-1 can also present evidence of criminal activity. Controversies between individual parties, civil matters, and matters that are subject to criminal appeal will not be considered. Any individual who appears before the panel of judges will be placed under oath. Individuals who need special accommodation during the hearing must notify Mr. Drechsel at least three business days prior to the hearing.
The members of the grand jury panel of judges are: Supervising Judge W. Brent West, 2nd District Court; Judge Lynn W. Davis, 4th District Court; Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills, 3rd District Court; Judge Eric A. Ludlow, 5th District Court; and Judge Kara Pettit, 3rd District Court. Additional information regarding the grand jury panel of judges is available at the Utah Court’s website or in the Utah Code.