FARMINGTON - District Court Judge Michael Allphin has ordered that the taking of funds from accounts of inmates at the Davis County Jail cease immediately.
In a decision issued April 9 and obtained by The Davis Clipper, Allphin said the order affects all criminal cases over which he presides.
The order says that the sheriff’s office, Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson, and Davis County Sheriff’s Office Business Manager Keith Major “shall immediately cease the taking of funds” from such inmates.
“Where appropriate, a hearing may be requested in individual cases to address the issue of restitution to Davis County within one year of the defendant’s sentencing,” Allphin said.
The procedure for Davis County to be entitled to restitution for the costs of incarceration and medical care provided to these defendants “has not been followed,” the order said.
“Neither the prosecuting entities nor Davis County has made request for the court to order this restitution,” the order said. “Moreover, the presentence investigation reports prepared for these defendants made no reference to any claim for restitution to Davis County.
Allphin’s order also states “The court has made no determination that Davis County is entitled to restitution for the costs of incarceration and medical care provided to these defendants and has entered no orders that these defendants pay restitution to Davis County for these costs.”
The order noted that the court has received “numerous letters from defendants that it has sentenced to serve jail time indicating the funds in their inmate accounts are being taken by the Sheriff’s Office for restitution owed to Davis County.
“The court finds in the absence of any request for restitution, any determination that it is appropriate for a given defendant to pay restitution and a determination as to the amount of restitution, and the entry of a restitution order, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office lacks legal authority to continue this practice.”
The practice was not ordered and “further violates the rights of crime victims and other third parties entitled to restitution.”
“By taking funds from inmate accounts for restitution, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office bypasses the state legislature’s policy determination in establishing a restitution payment priority,” the order said.
“Our office feels Judge Allphin’s order is an accurate statement of the law, as we have maintained for months,” County Attorney Troy Rawlings said.
“I appreciate the Sheriff’s willingness to listen, despite erroneous and strong opposition within his own office.”