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Sentence Reduction In High Profile Oxycodone Case

After successful plea bargain negotiations Adam Patrick Hemmelgarn, 38 of Hooper was sentenced to 128 months of prison followed by three years’ probation. Prosecutors agreed to drop three other charges. Mr. Hemmelgarn will pay $15,100 in funeral expenses for the man who died after ingesting fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone sold by Mr. Hemmelgarn.

The national media widely reported this and a related oxycodone case after the death of Jaydon Rogers on March 14, 2018. A Weber County Sheriff found Rogers unresponsive in his West Haven home on March 12, 2018, noticing a pill on the floor leading to an overdose investigation. Over the next few months Weber County Detectives and federal agents traced the fentanyl laced pills back to Mr. Hemmelgarn.

Rogers had been a wrestling coach at Freemont High School after college. He was a state wrestling champion in 2014 and won All-American honors at junior college.

Greg Ferbrache with co-council negotiated a plea deal for Mr. Hemmelgarn. Cases with intense media scrutiny, like this case can create pressure on prosecutors to seek harsh sentences. Opioid addiction and overdose is a national epidemic, garnering greater attention to individuals prosecuted for opioid offenses.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction please call: 801-583-2500. The University of Utah offers a program for drug addiction treatment. 

Greg Ferbrache is an experienced defense attorney and former prosecutor. Call him: (801) 440-7476 to ensure your right’s are protected. 

To find out more about this case: “Utah man who sold fake oxycodone that led to a death headed to prison” Desert News article published 9/19/2019

“Utah man who sold fake oxycodone that led to a death headed to prison” KSL.com published 9/19/2019

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Combat Military Veteran Vindicated of all Criminal Charges

A two time combat veteran was arrested after being forced to leave a Mia Love rally. He fought and won.


“An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”


– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Joshua Cameron, a two time U.S. Army war campaign combat veteran, was vindicated after being charged with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct at a political rally for Mia Love, held at Thanksgiving Point. At the Mia Love rally, he was first prohibited from carrying the American Flag and when he sought to have his voice heard while at the Rally, Thanksgiving Point security immediately escorted Mr. Cameron out of the building. Although he complied with each of their demands, Mr. Cameron believes his own congressional representative at the time, Mia Love, had him thrown out and asked that the Lehi City Police Department cite him for criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Knowing the importance of the matter, he hired Ferbrache Law to ensure his best outcome and to secure his constitutional rights at all costs. Zealously advocating for his client, Greg Ferbrache obtained a dismissal on the morning of trial from Lehi City. Mr. Cameron was exonerated.

The cost of Mia Love using the government to impose her will of suppressing one man’s voice because she may have disagreed with his opinion was to expend tax money in the form of law enforcement and prosecution. The cost to Mr. Cameron, who had earned his right to speak as an American, voter, and combat veteran, and was doing so at a political rally within the district he was to vote, were legal fees and the stigma of being treated as a criminal.

Mr. Cameron would like to go on record with the following statement:

“When I was escorted out of a political rally, where my Lt Governor, State Attorney General, Auditor, U.S. Senator and Federal Representative were, they thought they had seen the last of me. They thought they could bulldoze over my rights, which I had fought for in multiple war zones. We live in a time where our government throw babies in cages. Mia Love and the other elected officials may not want to hear the truth, especially during an election, but she shouldn’t be able to hide from the truth by using the government as a tool to suppress the truth. Since I spoke out at the Mia Love Rally on the evening of August 24, 2018, multiple children have died while in immigration custody. Poor people with no money and no power are being locked up on our southern border. The system tried to threaten me with six months in jail, and a criminal record. Because I stood up and had the money to hire a lawyer who would fight for my constitutional rights, the charges were rightfully dismissed. Without financial means, I too could be detained much like those on our Southern border if I had not challenged the system. To allow these people to be detained, thrown in dog kennels and treated with indignity and injustice, allows our very citizens to be treated the same way. To stand up for these people is to stand up for ourselves.”


Joshua Cameron

Despite Mr. Cameron’s constitutional rights disregarded by his own elected delegates that evening, Mr. Cameron will again look toward having his voice heard. He encourages you to do the same.

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When The Victim Is Charged

Victims charged with Domestic Violence Offense

Too often, victims of domestic violence are mistakenly arrested and criminally charged for protecting themselves from the violence committed against them by the perpetrator who has long been the abuser in a relationship. Unfortunately, these victims feel trapped in the abusive relationship are now more restrained within the criminal system. Rather than fight, many choose to accept a plea deal, and not allow the truth to prevail.


In Utah, even accepting a plea in abeyance to a domestic violence offense can have significant ramifications. A plea in abeyance, although not a conviction, requires you to pay a fine, to be supervised by either the court or probation, to undergo domestic violence treatment, and to risk a conviction if you are unable to complete the ordered terms. Also, a plea in abeyance to domestic violence is enhanceable, meaning that if you are accused of committing domestic violence in the next five years, the government can increase the penalty by one degree, which is significant.


Simply put, the abuser can use protections meant for victims as a sword against the victim and not as a shield as it was intended.


More importantly, the abuser can use the allegation against the victim in many ways. Knowing that a violation of the agreement will result in conviction, the abuser gains even more power and control over the victim. The abuser can also use the allegation to bolster a Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) action, gaining the upper hand for custody in a divorce proceeding, and to obtain a protective order against the victim. Simply put, the abuser can now use the protections that were meant for victims as a sword against the victim and not as a shield as it was intended.


All hope is not lost. Having a defense attorney experienced in the dynamics of domestic violence will provide you the ability to tell your side of the story. Greg Ferbrache has over 14 years as a prosecutor working with victims of domestic violence and other serious victim crimes, and has been recognized for his work in the domestic violence field. As a criminal defense attorney, Greg has successfully obtained justice for victims who have been mistakenly charged. If you have been falsely accused of a crime you did not commit, give Ferbrache Law a call
(801) 440-7476.

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A court’s secrecy order blocks access to the investigation into a BYU police lieutenant who shared info with the Honor Code office

-Jessica Miller Salt Lake Tribune Originally published Friday, March 8, 2019

A lieutenant with Brigham Young University’s police department took information
from private records created by other Utah County law enforcement agencies and
passed it on to university officials investigating students for breaking school rules.
His actions sparked a criminal investigation that lasted more than two years and has
been done for months.
So, how many records involving how many students did Lt. Aaron Rhoades access?
That information is not public.
Neither are the answers to questions like these: At whose direction did he look at the
nonpublic police databases? What kind of information did he share? How did the
university use that information?

Greg Ferbrache — a former prosecutor with the attorney general’s office who is now in private practice — said the secrecy orders are not intended to keep the public from knowing about what happened. He said it is most often used to protect the constitutional rights of those who are accused.
“Its purpose is not to keep an investigation under secrecy forever,” he said.
But in the investigation into BYU police, it’s not clear why the records would remain under seal.

When will Utahns get to know these answers? Possibly never.
Since authorities began investigating BYU police in 2016, the state Department of
Public Safety and the Utah attorney general’s office have remained tight-lipped, and
have blocked The Salt Lake Tribune’s records requests seeking that information.
Officials publicly acknowledged for the first time this week their reason why: A Utah
judge issued a secrecy order in the investigation nearly three years ago at the request
of prosecutors — an order that remains in place to this day.
What judge is keeping the investigation behind closed doors?
That, too, is a secret.
“This cannot stand,” said Tribune Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce. “This investigation
was conducted by the state of Utah and should be available to the public.”
She said the newspaper is exploring its options, including possible legal action, to get
access to records it has been fighting for since 2016.
“While we’re happy to finally know why they haven’t turned over their findings to us,”
she said, “we’re very concerned to learn that a secrecy order is in place.”
The Tribune on Wednesday received a response to a records request in which the
attorney general’s office explained why it can’t release information on the completed
investigation.
“Beginning in July 2016, secrecy orders have been entered at the request of the state
of Utah,” the denial reads. “These secrecy orders entered at the request of the state of
Utah remain in place.”
The Tribune asked BYU for comment and a spokeswoman said all they could do is
A report released last week gave a hint at the scope of the investigation — that state
authorities believe Rhoades accessed private police reports from Orem police, the
Utah County Sheriff’s Office and Provo police over a two-year period. He took
information from those reports and shared them with BYU’s Dean of Students Office,
the Title IX office and the Honor Code Office.
State prosecutors could not speak about the court action, citing the secrecy order. But
Criminal Deputy Craig Barlow, with the attorney general’s office, explained the
process generally, saying a prosecutor’s request for secrecy is not all that unusual. He
estimated that investigators make dozens of these secrecy requests every year —
usually to not alert a potential suspect to the police’s efforts.
Secrecy orders are also often used in financial crimes, Barlow explained, where
investigators may want a bank to hand over records without telling a suspect. They
are also frequently used in investigating drug-trafficking operations.
There are no expiration dates on these orders.
This means some investigations could remain under seal indefinitely, though Barlow
said investigations are most often made public if prosecutors decide to file charges.
The law “is almost silent about what happens when you get to the end,” Barlow said.
“There really is no guidance about how to go about an exit strategy.”

Greg Ferbrache — a former prosecutor with the attorney general’s office who is now in private practice — said the secrecy orders are not intended to keep the public from knowing about what happened. He said it is most often used to protect the constitutional rights of those who are accused.
“Its purpose is not to keep an investigation under secrecy forever,” he said.
But in the investigation into BYU police, it’s not clear why the records would remain
under seal.

There is no pending investigation, and the attorney general’s office announced in
October that prosecutors had decided months earlier to not file criminal charges
against Rhoades. A panel of prosecutors had decided the case against him “lacks a
reasonable likelihood of conviction,” the office said.
The Tribune obtained BYU documents in 2016 that showed Rhoades accessed a
countywide database to collect information from another police department for an
Honor Code investigation of an alleged sexual assault victim.
The documents show an Honor Code investigator contacted Rhoades in 2015 asking
him for information in the rape case. The lieutenant looked at the records that same
day, and relayed intimate details back to the investigator.
The Honor Code at BYU — which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints — is a set of administrative rules that forbids alcohol and coffee, restricts
contact between male and female students, imposes a strict dress code, and bans
expressions of romantic affection between people of the same gender.
Rhoades retired from the BYU police department last fall, according to his attorney,
and later gave up his police certification after the state’s Peace Officer Standards and
Training (POST) began its own investigation. He had been a police officer in Utah for
34 years, according to POST records.
The criminal investigation is at the heart of why BYU may lost its police force entirely,
after it was announced last week that state officials are seeking a historic
decertification.
In a letter to BYU, state officials say they want the university to lose its policing
powers because the department did not conduct an internal investigation into
allegations of misconduct by a specific BYU police officer during a two-year period
ending in April 2018. The letter doesn’t name the officer or the specific misconduct
allegations, but the timeframe covers the same period DPS was investigating
Rhoades.
DPS officials also say that BYU police failed to respond to a subpoena that was issued
as state regulators were investigating an officer for misconduct. A December letter to
BYU police instructed the agency to allow DPS access to all “records, personnel and
electronic data” so investigators could assess how its officers use a police records
database, the command structure at BYUPD and “the powers, authority and
limitations” of BYU police officers.
BYU has said it plans to appeal the state’s decision to decertify its police force, which
would take effect Sept. 1.
An issue also at play is the ongoing debate about whether BYU police should be
subject to Utah’s record laws like every other police department in the state. The
Tribune has sued to force BYU police to abide by the Utah Government Records
Access and Management Act, or GRAMA. The newspaper received a favorable ruling
from a state district judge, but BYU has appealed to the Utah Supreme Court. A
hearing has not been scheduled.
Attorneys for the campus argue in court papers that as a private institution, BYU
should not be subject to records laws meant for government agencies.
But BYU officials have supported legislation that would require its police
departments to be subject to open records laws. That bill, if passed, would not be
retroactive and wouldn’t necessarily settle the ongoing litigation.

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Four women seek special prosecutor after DA declines to file sexual assault charges

Originally published at American Bar Association

Four women are asking the Utah Supreme Court to appoint a special prosecutor to pursue their sexual assault allegations after the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office declined to bring charges.

The women are basing their request on a state constitutional provision that authorizes the appointment of a special prosecutor when a county attorney fails to prosecute “according to law,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“The plight of these victims is hardly unique,” their Oct. 16 petition says. “In this country today, an intense debate is raging about how women who have been raped or sexually assaulted can make themselves believed by a criminal justice system that all too often seems ready to ignore their pleas.”

One woman said she was 17 years old when she was assaulted by a classmate while at his home to work on a school project, the petition says. She has a form of muscular dystrophy that affects her strength and balance, and she relies on a German shepherd to walk.

The woman says she allowed the classmate to kiss her, but then he became aggressive and raped her. She says she became scared and froze during the assault, and her physical limitations made her unable to resist. The prosecutor who evaluated the case said in a letter that he and four other prosecutors didn’t think they could prove a rape case because she “failed to say or physically manifest any lack of consent.”

A second woman who had cerebral policy said she met her attacker, a convicted rapist, on the way to a medical appointment. She says the man sexually assaulted her multiple times at his home on two occasions. The first time she accompanied him to his home, and when he began making demands she felt she had to comply. The second time, she says, she went to his home because he threatened her. The man’s DNA was found in the woman’s vagina, but prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute.

A third woman says she was assaulted by her massage therapist. A fourth says she was 24 years old when she was raped by “a prominent law enforcement officer” when she was volunteering with a citizens advisory board. The Salt Lake Tribune identifies the man as a former police chief who was forced out of a police department in Maryland after a sexual assault allegation. She was among five women who obtained a settlement based on sexual assault allegations against the man when he worked in Utah.

The women are represented by several lawyers, including University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell, a former federal judge.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill defended the decisions not to file charges in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune. He said his office has filed charges in about 39.5 to 45.5 percent of the sexual assault cases presented to his office over the past two years, about the same as state and federal averages.

His office has an ethical obligation not to prosecute when the evidence is insufficient, Gill said.

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Protecting Right of Assembly and Free Speech

Ferbrache Law is fighting for your right to assemble. My client, Josh Cameron, a combat veteran, citizen of the State of Utah, and spokesperson for Our Voice USA was arrested at a Mia Love event on August 24, 2018. He was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct despite his lawful presence at ‘Mia Runs With Mitt,’ despite having a ticket for the venue at Thanksgiving Point.

During the rally, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox said Mia Love indicated they are here to save babies. From the crowd, Mr. Cameron responded by yelling out to “Abolish ICE”, “Save Babies From Cages” and “Reunite Families”.

The government alleges Mr. Cameron exercised his free speech at a private venue held open to the public, his presence was considered unlawful by the political operatives hosting the rally. At their request, Mr. Cameron was cited for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. Mr. Cameron is now forced to assert his innocence in a court of law in accordance with the Constitution of the United States.

Mr. Cameron believes you have a right to know of these vital social interests served by the free dissemination of information about events having legal consequences and about legal proceedings themselves. For this reason and until that time when Mr. Cameron’s voice can be heard, and his innocence asserted.

Mr. Cameron asks each of you to stand as Americans in support of these inalienable rights, and that you vote now to elect governmental representatives who will ensure peaceful assembly, free speech, and an appreciation for those who have honorably served our County. Mr. Cameron has demanded a trial that is now set for January 22, 2019 to face the criminal charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct as alleged by Lehi City. Mr. Cameron is to be presumed innocent until and unless convicted
by a jury in a court of law.

You can read the press release here: JC Media Release

Gregory Ferbrache believes in the right of all American’s to freely assemble and exercise their right of free speech. If you find yourself cited or arrested for protected political speech, call Greg Ferbrache at 801-440-7476 or here:

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Ferbrache Law Wins $47,000 Asset Forfeiture Refund

On August 21, 2018, the government wrote an Innocent Owner a check for $47,000, the amount the government seized from her in May of this year.

“The civil asset forfeiture statute has recently been improved to better protect the innocent owner from unfounded seizures. Today was a victory for this innocent owner and for those innocent owners who seek to have their property returned in a timely and inexpensive manner after the government seized their property”

-Gregory Ferbrache the Innocent Owner’s Attorney.

“Although the money should never have been taken in the first place, my client is grateful to the seizing agency for their cooperation toward ensuring she was made whole.”

“On behalf of the Innocent Owner, I would like to thank the hard work of Chief Sponsor Senator Daniel Thatcher, House of Representatives Sponsor Brian Greene, and the work by ACLU of Utah and Libertas Institute during the 2017 legislative session on SB 87”, says Greg Ferbrache. “Through their efforts innocent owners now have an expedited means of having their property returned and avoid extended litigation that may have taken years to have the property returned.”

Under U.C.A. 24-4-107, an innocent owner must notify the seizing agency within thirty days of their lawful claim to the property. The government must then respond within thirty days by granting the claim, denying the claim outright, or denying the claim for failure to provide sufficient proof. If the innocent owner’s claim is denied by the seizing agency, and a court later determines the claim lawful, the government pays the innocent owner’s reasonable costs and legal fees.

If you are an innocent owner and the government has seized your property, time is of the essence to notify the seizing agency of your lawful claim. You may also want to contact an attorney experienced in civil asset forfeiture to ensure your rights are protected and your property returned. 

Call Ferbrache Law at 801-440-7476, the clock is ticking to get your money returned.

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Officer Involved Shootings Spike in 2018

Utah’s Channel 4 news posted a story called on April 19, 2018:

It’s April, and there have already been more officer-involved shootings than in all of 2017

It’s alarming but true. Police have shot more people in the first four months of this year (seven),  than in all of 2017 (six). With memories of 2014’s statistics of police killing more people in Utah than gangs, the streets can be a dangerous place for citizens.

One of the focus areas of Ferbrache Law, is representing you if you find yourself the target of police violence. Bodycam footage showed the 2017 shooting of Patrick Harmon, a black man shot in the back while running away. After a seven week investigation by the Salt Lake County DA’s office, this shooting was ruled “justified.”

Ferbrache Law can effectively represent you in an Officer Involved Incident case. Holding Law Enforcement accountable is essential for the safety and protection of our communities.

 

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Can I Film The Police In Utah?

In Utah, can I be charged with I crime if I use my phone or other device to record a law
enforcement encounter?

The Short answer is no, as long as you do not interfere with the law enforcement officer’s arrest or detention. In 2017, Utah Legislator and Chief Sponsor of Senate Bill 239, Senator Todd Weiler, and Representative Adam Gardiner enacted the following statute which provides:

“Recording the actions of a law enforcement Officer with a camera, mobile phone, or other photographic
device, while the officer is performing official duties in plain view, does not by itself constitute (a) interference with a police officer, (b) willful resistance, (c) disorderly conduct, or (d) obstruction of justice.”

The key is “does not by itself constitute”, meaning other facts or actions taken by the person filming can be considered to determine whether you can be charged criminally for interfering with an arrest or detention while filming a law enforcement encounter. Usually it will be the law enforcement officer who will assert those other facts or actions that resulted in the interference.

Can Police force me to stop filming?

Read more

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Consider hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney to conduct Pre-Filing Negotiations as Part of your Criminal Defense Strategy.

By Gregory Ferbrache, a criminal defense attorney with over a decade of prosecutorial experience as a Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney, Assistant Utah Attorney General, and Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah.  You may contact him at FerbracheLaw.com

All too often the criminal defense attorney is retained after criminal charges have been filed against you.   In cases that involve extended Investigations by the government, retaining an attorney while you are the Target of the Investigation is critical to a beneficial outcome.  Although it seems intuitive to do so, most attorneys are rarely able to employ this strategic tactic because they are not retained early enough.

Generally speaking, a complaint is made to the government alleging a crime is being committed and a request for an Investigation is submitted.   Unlike a crime of interdiction where the commission of a crime is clear, like an assault or a homicide, a report of a belief of a crime will require an Investigation. Usually these types of crimes involve financial fraud or a sophisticated criminal enterprise. Investigative tools to obtain evidence of these crimes may involve Administrative Subpoenas, Investigative Subpoena, Confidential Informants, Government Informants, Surveillance, and apprehension of co-conspirators who agree to give testimony.  At some point during the Investigation, you will likely be contacted by the government to make a statement.

DO NOT speak with the Government without first seeking advice of Counsel. Those statements are evidence and can be used against you.  The Investigator does not need to provide you their motive or purpose for getting your statement. Don’t believe telling the truth at this stage will convince the Investigator to close the Investigation, even if you are telling the truth!

Rather than provide an uncounseled statement against yourself, it is imperative, You, as the Target, go on the offensive with a well formulated strategy with your criminal defense attorney.  Read more