DAVE & DUJANOVIC

“I’m no progressive,” says Utah County Attorney David Leavitt

Jun 9, 2022, 4:18 PM | Updated: 8:24 pm
Leavitt cannibalism criminal justice reform...
FILE -- Utah County Attorney David Leavitt speaks during a press conference at the Utah County Commission Chambers in Provo Wednesday January 23, 2019. Photo credit: Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is defending himself and his career after he was compared by a Utah defense attorney to San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. 

Boudin was subject to a recall vote this week. On Tuesday, 60% of the voters chose to replace Boudin — who is described as a progressive district attorney.

Boudin was targeted for a recall after he quit prosecuting juveniles as adults, lowered prisoner numbers during COVID-19, and ended cash bail.

“We have two cities. We have two systems of justice,” Boudin is quoted as saying.

“We have one for the wealthy and the well-connected and a different one for everybody else. And that’s exactly what we are fighting to change,” he said as reported by CBS News.

Recently, residents in San Francisco have seen a rise in burglaries, car thefts, and hate crimes against Asian-Americans, according to CNN.

Skordas: Utah County attorney ‘a progressive prosecutor’

Greg Skordas, defense attorney and former prosecutor, joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic to discuss the recall of San Francisco’s district attorney, where he said that there is a possible parallel in Utah County.

“So District Attorney Chesa Boudin who was recalled last night in San Francisco. We don’t have a Chesa Boudin here along the Wasatch Front or do we?” Debbie asked.

“We kind of . . . I think we kind of do. I mean, we have a prosecutor — and I liked Dave Leavitt. I really liked him a lot,” Skordas said.

“But when I look at some of the things that this prosecutor in San Francisco was weighing in on. For example, ending the use of cash bail, stopping the prosecution of minors as adults, lowering jail population. Those are some of the same lines that are being given by him (Leavitt), and he’s a progressive prosecutor. He’s a good prosecutor. He’s in for a real dog fight in his own party down in Utah County — but those are some of the same phrases that he’s using.”

Utah County Attorney candidate Jeff Gray will face Leavitt in the Republican primary on June 28.

Plea bargains are the problem, David Leavitt responded

“We thought it was only fair to bring you on to respond. Do you view yourself as a progressive prosecutor and does this recall in California send a message that maybe we’ve taken a step too far?” Dave asked.

“To your question, no, I am not a progressive prosecutor. I would not couch myself as a legal reformer,” Leavitt said.

“I would couch myself as a legal restorer. And there’s a big difference.”

He added that Chesa Boudin, the district attorney in San Francisco, deserved to lose his job because he wasn’t charging defendants with the crimes they were accused of committing. And that, he said, is lawlessness.

Leavitt has said in the past that his prosecutorial preference is to take a suspect to court.

“Let’s take these guys to trial. Let’s prove it to a jury. When the judge hears the evidence, there’s not a way in the world that the judge is going to give a light sentence to a violent guy if he or she has heard the evidence. So there’s a vast difference between me as a as a criminal-justice restorer and a guy like the guy in San Francisco who frankly should have lost his job,” Leavitt stressed.

“We give plea bargains, and what’s the result of plea bargains. What occurs when you give a plea bargain is the violent and dangerous people get lighter sentences.”

Related:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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“I’m no progressive,” says Utah County Attorney David Leavitt