University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul Cassell, a team of advocates and attorneys and several law students hosted a panel on April 3 titled “Protecting Victims from Systemic Under-Prosecution of Sexual Assault Crimes” in conjunction with the 4th Annual Start By Believing Day – a day which aims to change the way society responds to sexual assault.
The Women’s Law Caucus organized the panel, following a press conference featuring a proclamation signing by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and discussion of a newly passed legislation creating an Attorney General review process for reviewing non-prosecution decisions in serious sexual assault and other cases.
Earlier this fall Cassell and the law students filed a petition in the Utah Supreme Court alleging four sexual assault cases in Utah were not prosecuted and should be prosecuted through the appointment of a prosecutor by the Utah Supreme Court.
Cassell along with a team of attorneys filed the petition on behalf of four “Jane Does” who are allegedly victims of sexual assault. The University of Utah Appellate Clinic and law students in Cassell’s Crime Victims’ Rights Seminar and in the Crime Victims’ Rights Clinic helped with the petition.
In the new process unveiled at the press conference on April 3, the four “Jane Does” who have the petition pending before the Utah Supreme Court will transfer their request for appointment of a prosecutor from the Utah Supreme Court to the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Cassell said.
The event garnered news coverage including: The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, KUTV, Fox 13 and ABC4.
Law student Jaime Wiley was featured in a separate ABC4 story.