Lawsuit: Defendants wait in Utah jails for treatment, trial

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 9, 2015 at 3:41 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A legal rights group says Utah is violating the constitutional rights of criminal defendants who are not competent to stand trial by leaving them waiting in jail for months before they can be treated and ready to face their charges.

The Salt Lake City-based Disability Law Center filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against Utah's Department of Human Services, which oversees both the state mental health division and state hospital.

The Disability Law Center says defendants who have been ruled incompetent are waiting in jail for up to seven months for treatment, even though they're still considered innocent under the law.

Department of Human Services spokeswoman Heather Barnum says the agency continuously reviews the quality of its services and that the Utah attorney general's office is reviewing the lawsuit.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast