SALT LAKE CITY — The attorney for a man recently released from jail has some strong words for the the Fraternal Order of Police, Utah State Lodge.
On Monday, the FOP issued a news release denouncing 3rd District Judge William Barret's decision to lower bail for Randy Fetch Jeffs from $1 million to $25,000. Jeffs was later released to pretrial services.
Prosecutors say Jeffs fired at West Valley police from an upstairs window of his home, near 6500 West and 3820 South, as officers were responding to a domestic dispute May 12, 2008. Police returned fire, wounding Jeffs.
After he was released from the hospital, Jeffs was sent to the Salt Lake County Jail, where he remained until a couple of weeks ago, when Barrett agreed to reduce his bail. The decision came following a Feb. 18 hearing based partly on testimony that Jeffs' actions were the result of him taking the antidepressant Zoloft.
On Monday, FOP President Chad Soffe said, "We totally disagree with the decision. We're concerned any time someone shoots at a police officer, whether they're on a legal prescription or illegal drugs. We don't believe they should be released back in to the system, especially before trial."
Jeffs' attorney, David Drake, said Tuesday he was angered by the FOP's release.
"I think it's absolutely irresponsible for the FOP, who were not there at the hearing, to criticize this judge. That's as irresponsible as anything I see," he said.
Drake said if the FOP was so concerned about his client being released, they should have been at the court hearing to present their own evidence.
"If they were so ... concerned about the safety of their officers, why ... didn't they put on their own expert?" he questioned.
According to Drake, the police were never in jeopardy in this case. Jeffs was shot twice and his house shot up, and then they tried to cover up what they did, he said. Drake said his client does not have a criminal history and has been a model inmate and that his behavior only changed when he started taking those drugs.
"I am so angered by the FOP, who wasn't even there, who didn't hear the evidence, to criticize a judge for failure to put their own evidence on," he said.
Barrett said he could not comment on a case that was still active.
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