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"It becomes an argument that’s available to defense counsel," he said. "He’d really like to be home for the holidays. You see those arguments more during the holidays."
Gill said that in some cases that argument is a tough sell for judges and prosecutors, but "everybody’s human."
"For those real close cases, does the good will bounce their way? In some cases it does," he said.
Utah courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer said, anecdotally, Utah judges don’t see much different behavior this time of year.
"[Suspects] always want to get out [regardless] of the season; they implore [with] a little more intensity during the holidays," she said.
Before 2000, some jail inmates could count on the "Christmas kickout." County jail inmates who had served most of their minor sentences would get an early Christmas present from the Utah courts — an earlier than expected release date that would often arrive the day before Christmas.
But that amnesty program vanished "quite awhile in the past," Church said.
"Even then it wasn’t a huge number," Church said. "It was a couple of handfuls at most."
Everyone else remaining behind bars is monitored closely because depression and attempted suicide cases typically rise this time of year, Church said.
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