The attorney general's decision to subpoena Deseret News reporter Pat Reavy in connection with the Jan. 5 shooting death of Millard County Sheriff's Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox is a case of misplaced frustration, according to an attorney seeking to quash the subpoena on behalf of the Deseret News , The Salt Lake Tribune and other news media.
At issue is a Jan. 20 story Reavy wrote after obtaining a search warrant issued to Salt Lake City police in their efforts to locate two suspects in the shooting after they fled Millard County.
Police released the search warrant -- which revealed new information about the man suspected in the shooting, Roberto Miramontes Roman -- after Reavy filed a Government Records Access Management Act request.
Now prosecutors want to question Reavy about "his decision to publish the contents of our sealed search warrant ..." according to a March 17 e-mail from Assistant Utah Attorney General Pat Nolan to media attorney Jeffrey Hunt.
Hunt implied prosecutors appeared to have a problem with the police, not Reavy. "It is not appropriate for the state to take out its frustration on Mr. Reavy for simply writing a news story about a search warrant that the state wishes the Salt Lake PD had not released," Hunt wrote.
Furthermore, court records in the Roman case show that prosecutors did not request to seal nine search warrants issued in the case until two days after Reavy's story was published.
Reavy was ordered to appear Wednesday before 4th District Judge Donald Eyre. But attorneys agreed Monday his presence will not be required that day. Instead, the judge will hear arguments regarding the media's request to unseal the eight other search warrants, as well as other court documents.
No other date for Reavy to appear has been specified.
Roman, 37, is charged with capital murder. Co-defendant Ruben Chavez-Reyes, 36, is charged with six felonies for allegedly helping Roman elude police for 30 hours.
Fox, 37, was shot during a traffic stop outside of Delta at 1 a.m. on Jan. 5.
Later that morning, police zeroed in on the Salt Lake City home of Roman's cousin. Police obtained a search warrant for the house, in part by claiming Roman's uncle told them the fugitive was inside -- a claim the man later denied. After firing 10 tear gas canisters into the home, police found no one there.
On Jan. 20, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, in an apparent effort to justify the controversial entry of the home, held a news conference and released the search warrant to other news media. The search warrant states Roman is believed to be heavily armed and had made threats to kill police.
It was later learned the fugitives were actually at the nearby home of an acquaintance, and were evacuated by police along with other residents that morning. They were found sleeping in a shed in Beaver the next morning.