After chastising the media, a defense attorney and his own clerk, 3rd District Judge Homer Wilkinson has ordered a convicted rapist - free for a month - to return to jail.
The order comes as a relief to the victim and her family, who telephoned a reporter last Friday after observing the rapist "wandering the hallways" of the court building.Wilkinson, in a hearing he called Monday afternoon, ruled that Roy Hall, 27, had not lived up to a presentence release signed by the judge on Oct. 21. Hall was then taken to the Salt Lake County Jail, where he will remain until sentencing, which was postponed from last Friday to Dec. 2.
According to the Oct. 21 order, Hall was supposed to report to in-house treatment at the Indian Alcoholism Counseling and Recovery House program.
However, Hall enrolled in the Salvation Army's residential program.
Defense attorney Nancy Bergeson said Monday that she "mistakenly misnamed" the program during the Oct. 21 hearing. "It always was the Salvation Army program. It never was the Indian Alcoholism Recovery program," Bergeson said.
But upon learning of her error, she immediately went to Wilkinson's clerk, Andy Child, with the correction. Child amended the order to reflect the Salvation Army program.
That infuriated Wilkinson, who had just learned Monday about the mix-up.
"Don't ever, don't ever change one of my orders without going through me," Wilkinson warned the defense attorney and the clerk.
Wilkinson said Bergeson should have contacted him about the change and called her failure to do so "unethical, contemptuous and well below the standard of performance in this courtroom." The judge, however, took no disciplinary action against the defense attorney.
But he took the occasion to characterize weekend newspaper and TV reports about the issue as one-sided, "irresponsible" and "sandbox press." He said those reports had nothing to do with his decision to send the rapist back to jail.
The victim's mother, though, praised the media for bringing the case to light.
"I thank God for the media," said Dixie Hadfield. "Judge Wilkinson was irresponsible for letting (Hall) out of jail in the first place. I'm just glad he's in jail now. So is my daughter. She feels a little more safe and secure."
A jury found Hall guilty Oct. 13 of first-degree felony rape in the March 20 attack on Hadfield's 14-year-old girl, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is able to talk only with the assistance of a mechanical voice box. Sentencing was originally scheduled for last Friday.
Hadfield and her daughter went to the sentencing and were surprised and upset to see Hall "roaming the hallways." Hadfield later talked with the news media to express her outrage.
Eight days after his conviction, Wilkinson released Hall, supposedly to the Indian Alcoholism program. Prosecutors did not object to the release but were surprised later to find out that Hall had been at the Salvation Army program instead.
Bergeson, who tried unsuccessfully to close Monday's hearing to the public and press, maintains that her client has been faithful to the order and has been a "model participant" at the Salvation Army program.
"I strenuously object to the implications . . . that my client has somehow been roaming the streets. That is flatly wrong," Bergeson said angrily.
The defense attorney said Hall, who is slightly mentally retarded, at no time posed a flight risk or a threat to others.
"Your decision to release my client was right . . . There's no reason to revoke a release that was well-reasoned," Bergeson said.