Summary of EOCJ November Meeting - Gary R. Syphus
Last Updated: November 25, 2014

On Thursday, November 20th, 2014, the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee Committee met at the Matheson Courthouse, heard presentations, and discussed the following agenda items:

  1.  Criminal Surcharge Restricted Account Shortfall/Peace Officers Standards and Training: The Criminal Surcharge account is the fund that receives all surcharge revenue on criminal and civil penalties. Funds within this account are then distributed to various funds/agencies throughout the state including the Peace Officers' Standards and Training (POST) Academy, Utah Prosecution Council, and programs within the state court system. In recent years, the collections within this account dropped significantly, largely as a result of fewer traffic citation collections. The subcommittee heard testimony from the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice on the activity within the account, and from the Department of Public Safety regarding the program adjustments to the POST Academy.
  2. State Crime Lab Update: The State Crime Lab, located within the Department of Public Safety, reported on the status of all DNA evidence processing. The department reported that turnaround time for DNA evidence overall has increased. They also reported on possible changes that will aid in increasing the rate at which they are able to process, including the use of robotics for work currently done by DNA analysts.
  3. Offender Garnishment/Employment Withholdings: The subcommittee heard presentations from the Courts, the Office of State Debt Collection, and the Office of Recovery Services regarding income withholding for released inmates. The subcommittee was informed of all potential financial obligations a released inmate may have including fine/fees, restitution, child support, alimony, taxes, and others.
  4. Statewide Judicial Case Management System/E-file: The Utah Prosecution Council presented information on a budget request for a case management system for local county prosecutors' offices. They discussed the advantages of the system including having a uniform system where information is not compartmentalized and criminal cases can be more appropriately processed.  
  5. Attorney General Budget Items and Reorganization: The Attorney General's Office gave an update on the changes within the office, budget requests, and related issues. Attorney General, Sean Reyes, discussed how the technology within the office is antiquated and ought to be replaced, including a new case management system. He also reported on items funded during the last general session and how that has improved office performance. Mr. Reyes discussed the need for more personnel for certain areas including the increased workload in the area of GRAMA requests from the public/media.
  6. Commerce/Attorney General Lawsuit Settlement: The Attorney General's Office reported on a recent lawsuit awarded to the Department of Commerce that the Attorney General did the legal work for.
  7. Observe/Tour Court Programs: Some members of the subcommittee observed the Early Case Resolution program that allows for expedited court cases, the majority of which are drug offense-related cases
  8. Corrections Budget Reorganization: Staff presented a recommendation to separate Corrections main line item into various line items for improved oversight. This would also allow for a more focused review of Adult Probation and Parole and Programming/Treatment functions.
  9. Off-Budget Funds Review: The Department of Corrections presented additional information on their relevant funds that are outside of the appropriations process. Staff gave a status update on the relevant off-budget funds to the subcommittee, what the remaining recommendations are, and what action is needed to implement the recommendations, including opening bill files for relevant funds.