Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Judicial Counsel is scheduled to roll out the controversial Laura & John Arnold Foundation pretrial “risk assessment tool” on November 13, 2017 – but many legislators are questioning the reliability of the tool.
The tool claims to make “proven evidenced based” pretrial release decisions regarding those criminally charged.
Today, the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Legislative Committee met to hear testimony regarding the details of the rollout and how the tool may adversely impact public safety.
The tool, used heavily in New Jersey, New Mexico, and many other jurisdictions is being called into question around the country regarding the tools well documented careless and reckless pretrial release recommendations.
Backlash regarding the use of the tool are evidenced in a pending product liability lawsuit in New Jersey and in open protests against judges using the tool in New Mexico.
Jeff Clayton, Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition, testified before the committee warning Utah legislators of the “black box” proprietary tool’s impact on public safety. During his testimony, Clayton said that implementation of the tool would turn “Operation Rio Grande” into “Operation Futility.” “Operation Rio Grande” is a “collaborative three-phase plan to restore public safety in the Rio Grande district of Salt Lake City.”
At the end of the hearing, a motion by Representative Paul Ray was made before the committee to demand that the committee strongly recommend that the Utah Judicial Council delay implementation of the Arnold tool.
The motion passed.
The November 13 state wide rollout remains in question as more hearings are expected in the coming weeks.