A federal judge has ruled that police officers must ensure arrested individuals appear before a judge within 72 hours of incarceration. The ruling by U.S. District Judge David Sam reaffirms the practices of most Salt Lake County agencies.

Winder ruled in a 1986 Salt Lake County sheriff's case that a man arrested and accused of beating up his girlfriend was detained unconstitutionally for five days.After arrest, an individual must have the charges read to him in court. Prosecutors and police must show there is probable cause that a crime occurred and there is reason to believe the arrested person would flee the area.

Winder ruled that by arresting and jailing Scot Provstgaard, the deputy assumed a duty - which he failed to carry out - to ensure the defendant was arraigned and that probable cause was shown for keeping him in custody.

The ruling catches up with what officers and police agencies have done for several years - making sure offenders are charged within three days, including weekends.

Now, instead of the county attorney telling officers to get the people before judges, the law says it, said Salt Lake police Lt. Col. Ed Johnson.

"If he arrests someone on Thursday he should take care of it on Friday," said Johnson.

The county attorney's office would make sure officers brought those arrested before a judge within the 72-hour limit or the individual would be released from jail and the case refiled.

"So we had to get a lot of kick outs and refiles," said Johnson.

In Murray, "We book them in the jail and actually see them in court," said Chief Ken Killian.

"I have a man assigned each day and he swears to the complaint," said Killian. "He has the written report of the officer" detailing the incident.

But the policy "was something we addressed five years ago when we had a similar situation" as with the suit filed over Salt Lake County.

"I think the sheriff's office does that now - I think this case just fell through the cracks," said Killian.