State auditor finds Utah Courts have inadequate evidence management practices

Aug 28, 2019, 8:20 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The office of the State Auditor released a report on Wednesday that was critical of Utah District and Juvenile Courts.

Specifically, the audit found the courts are practicing inadequate evidence management, control, and disposal.

Additionally, the audit found a lack of training and weak policies and procedures.

State Auditor John Dougall said in a statement, “The Court System’s current tools and evidence management practices are not adequate to implement the needed level of evidence security.”

In response, the state courts are acknowledging a need for better training, but are pushing back on the idea that their practices are faulty.

“We’ve never received any reports that evidence has been missing in a particular case that has caused any sort of trouble in hearing a case or any sort of evidence that’s needed for trial,” explains Geoffrey Fattah, State Courts PIO.

They also want to reassure the states populace, especially those currently involved in an ongoing court procedure, that evidence isn’t being compromised in any manner.

“We want the public to know that we do maintain evidence, we do keep it in a secure place,” says Fattah. “We do have clerks that manage and handle the evidence day to day.”

He says one of the more difficult components pertaining to evidence management is the disposal process.

Rules about safeguarding and handling are less than crystal clear, leaving room for error.

“We could do a better job of tracking that evidence and making sure that evidence returns to the parties or dispose of that evidence,” he explains.

Taking the “constructive criticism” in stride, Fattah adds that the courts appreciate the findings and they plan on ramping up their training protocol.

“We want to make sure that we do better and we want to make sure that evidence is taken care of properly,” he says.

The audit report can be found here.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
22 hours ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
22 hours ago
Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
2 days ago
Britt Johnson

Utah County men facing charges for defrauding the United States

The claims state that Zachary Bassett and Mason Warr used a fraudulent tax scheme to receive COVID-19-related relief funds.
2 days ago
Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...
Katie McKellar, Deseret News

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Rep. Kera Birkeland says her bill focuses on rape victim services and holding rapists accountable. But her sister, a rape survivor, says it strips away choices.
2 days ago
On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered se...
Elizabeth Weiler

Missing girl from Arizona found in West Valley basement

On Jan. 31, 2023, a missing Arizona girl was found and rescued from the basement of a registered sex offender. 
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
State auditor finds Utah Courts have inadequate evidence management practices