"n Feb. 18, based partly on the testimony from the defense that Jeffs' actions were the result of him taking the antidepressant Zoloft, according to the FOP, Judge William Barrett reduced Jeffs' bail to $25,000 and he was released to pre-trial services."
Fraternal Order of Police criticizes judge for releasing man who shot at officers
Published: Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 1:01 p.m. MST
By Pat Reavy, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY The Fraternal Order of Police, Utah State Lodge, is criticizing a decision by a local judge that resulted in the release of a man awaiting trial for allegedly shooting at officers.
On May 12, 2008, prosecutors say Randy Fetch Jeffs fired at police from an upstairs window of his home, near 6500 West and 3820 South, as officers were responding to a domestic dispute. Police returned fire and shot Jeffs in the arm.
After he was released from the hospital, he was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail and charged in 3rd District Court with four counts of attempted aggravated murder, attempted discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, domestic violence in the presence of a child and interfering with an arrest.
Bail for Jeffs was set at $1 million. Until Feb. 18, he had remained incarcerated since his arrest. The case was scheduled for trial a couple of times over the past two years, but has been drawn out because of legal filings.
On Feb. 18, based partly on the testimony from the defense that Jeffs' actions were the result of him taking the antidepressant Zoloft, according to the FOP, Judge William Barrett reduced Jeffs' bail to $25,000 and he was released to pre-trial services.
Monday, the FOP released a statement saying it was "imperative" their opinion on the matter be heard.
FOP President Chad Soffe said the judge had let a "dangerous criminal" back into society.
"We totally disagree with the decision," he said. "We're concerned anytime 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."
In his decision, Barrett said he was "impressed" with the family support Jeffs still had and ordered that he live with his brother when released, according to court records. He was also ordered to wear an ankle monitor, abstain from alcohol, not to possess any weapons, and a prior no-contact order with the victims was to remain in place.
"Officers put their lives on the line everyday and are required to hold up the law to the best of their ability. In a situation like this, the officers did everything they could to protect the citizens of West Valley City, however, they have no control once the case is sent to court," the FOP said in its prepared statement.
Barrett declined comment Monday.
A review hearing is scheduled for April 4.