Utahn of the Year asked tough questions to shine a light on alleged abuses of power

30 12 2013

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has worked for the past year to uncover the truth about two high profile cases — the shooting death of Danielle Willard by West Valley City detectives and allegations of influence peddling by former Utah Attorney General John Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff.

Gill has been criticized by the detectives’ attorneys and a Republican party official for his investigation of the West Valley case. His response: “At the end of the day, it is the facts and the evidence at hand that drive the situation. Nobody is above the law.”

His efforts led The Salt Lake Tribune to name Gill its Utahn of the Year

“Sim Gill is just doing his job,” Terry Orme, The Tribune’s editor and publisher, wrote. “But it is a very tough job, a very important job — one that has profound bearing on how people in power in Utah conduct themselves, one that demonstrates to all that justice will be served for all.”

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Utah journalist organization backs request for release of school security recording

10 12 2013

The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has filed a court brief supporting the disclosure of a recording from a Canyons School District security camera.

Roger Bryner requested security footage of a scuffle involving his son and another student under the state Government Records Access and Management Act. The district denied the request, contending that the recording was an education record and protected from disclosure under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Bryner challenged the denial in Utah’s 3rd District Court, which ruled that the recording was an education record. The father appealed the decision to the Utah Court of Appeals, where SPJ filed its friend-of-the-court brief on Dec. 4.

“If the school district is allowed to shield itself by incorrectly claiming surveillance camera footage is the same as a test or grading record, then the public school system can’t be held accountable for keeping students in public schools safe,” Sheryl Worsley, Utah Headliners president and KSL Newsradio news director, said in a written statement.