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Prosecutors wary of Utah law allowing subpoenas with no court control

Most Utah prosecutors rarely use subpoenas without a judge approval, say they are concerned about privacy.



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Changing the law » "First question is, is it really a problem?" asked Paul Boyden, executive director of the Statewide Association of Prosecutors. "We’re skeptical that there is a constitutional problem with them but that is an issue to look at."

At a glance

Top five Utah administrative subpoena users

1,060 > > Utah attorney general’s office

64 > > Weber County attorney

34 > > Salt Lake County district attorney

27 > > Washington County attorney

11 > > Layton City attorney

Source > > Utah attorney general, issued since 2009

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Boyden said one thing lawmakers looking at the issue need to decide is "how sweeping would they want to be in any changes that are made? Do they just want to deal with this one statute, do they want to deal with a whole bunch of different statutes?"

Investigative subpoenas require a judge’s signature before investigators can get personal information from phone, Internet and other companies.

Utah has judges on call around the clock to review and sign subpoenas.

Davis County’s Rawlings said it’s his policy not to investigate without a judge involved, saying "it doesn’t take that much longer to get an investigative subpoena."

"I told our [employees] ... if it truly is really possible that half an hour, 40 minutes is going to make a difference in somebody’s life, OK do it," Rawlings said. "But then we’re going to keep records and make it transparent."

Tanderson@sltrib.com

Twitter: TaylorWAnderson


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