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Prosecutor: No more plea deals in gun-violence cases

October 21, 2021 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The top prosecutor in Utah’s most populous county says he will no longer offer plea deals to defendants accused of gun-related crimes in an effort to combat gun violence.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Wednesday he was putting people “on notice” that his office will “throw the book at you.”

He cited the recently released 2020 Crime in Utah Report, which showed an increase in homicides from 2019 to 2020. Two-thirds of those homicides involved firearms, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The change means that gun offenders will have to plead guilty to more serious crimes or go to trial, likely resulting in longer sentences behind bars.

There would be exception if “evidentiary issues, legal or ethical prohibitions” prevent a conviction, Gill said.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown and Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera said they hope the new policy will send a message to prospective criminals and will help halt the “revolving door” of individuals who are repeat offenders.