Salt Lake County asks Utah Supreme Court to address COVID-19 petition

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. File Photo: Gephardt Daily

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, May 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — An objection has been filed to a motion filed by the ACLU of Utah seeking to dismiss Salt Lake County from a pending case addressing the county’s and Sheriff Rosie Rivera’s multi-faceted approach to addressing COVID-19 in jail facilities.

The objection and opposition was filed Friday evening in response to the motion filed by the ACLU of Utah and others at midnight Wednesday, May 13, said a news release from Salt Lake County.

If the ACLU’s motion is granted, it would effectively deny the county and Sheriff Rivera any chance of a substantive decision by the Supreme Court on the merits of the case.

“This lawsuit caused unnecessary alarm for first responders who work in the jail, incarcerated individuals, family members of all involved, and the community as a whole,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.  “The ACLU wasted county time and taxpayer dollars during a crisis by deciding to sue first and ask questions later. We oppose the idea that the ACLU’s short-sightedness in bringing this lawsuit, as contrasted with the Salt Lake County Sheriffs’ exemplary responses to this pandemic, should be effectively denied Supreme Court review based on a midnight filing by those who might be embarrassed by the result.”

Rivera added: “Our team has worked diligently from the beginning of this pandemic to keep prisoners, employees and our communities safe and we will continue to do so. This lawsuit was not needed due to the fact we were already taking the measures to address the safety issues in our facilities.”

Gill said: “Asking a court to dismiss a case that had no chance of prevailing at the eleventh hour speaks to the faith they had in their own petition. We have never altered our position that this case was without merit, substance, or evidence.”


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