In the midst of more and more criminal case filings in the county and an all-time low number of civil filings, according to Summit County Attorney David Brickey, the Attorney's Office now has a new Chief Prosecutor. Matthew Bates, formerly the office's prosecuting attorney, will take over the position left vacant for the last nine years.
Bates was appointed Chief Prosecutor by Brickey, who said Bates has had "a lot of success" as a trial prosecutor. Brickey sees this as an important step for the office due to an increase in criminal filings.
"I attribute that to the plain fact that the county is getting bigger," Brickey said. "We have more people coming to our community some of them don't know how to behave themselves it's our responsibility to address that."
The Attorney's Office currently has an all-time low number of civil cases, 10, and Bates' new position will allow him to assign criminal cases to the proper prosecutors, Brickey said.
The office had been assigning cases with the assistance of a paralegal, but Brickey praised Bates' ability to know the strengths of each of the county's prosecutors. The Attorney's Office has three-and-a-half criminal prosecutors (meaning one part-time employee), two-and-a-half civil attorneys, one investigator, two paralegals, a secretary and a victim advocate.
"Prosecuting is a delicate balance of making sure victims' rights are honored but also aggressively defending officer conduct," Brickey said.
Bates joined the Summit County Attorney's Office in 2011, having previously worked for the Utah Attorney General's Criminal Appeals division and on the drug and domestic violence teams for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office. He graduated in 2003 from Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School and lives in Salt Lake County with his wife and four boys, according to an Attorney's Office press release.
During his time with Summit County, Brickey said Bates has also been instrumental in assisting with creating the county's first Drug Court, a problem-solving court which helps to deal with the issues of drug offenders.
The total operating budget of the Attorney's Office is $1.4 million, which includes 13 employees and all expenses associated with running the office. Bates' salary will be just over $101,000, Brickey said.
Brickey said Bates will also make himself available to law enforcement officials regarding warrants or responding to a crime scene. Bates will be able to speak publicly on criminal matters, which formerly only Brickey could do.
"He gives us a second set of eyes and an opportunity for both law enforcement officers and the community to know that I have confidence in having someone address an issue," Brickey said. "I finally had the confidence to put someone in that position who is trained professionally to address constitutional requirements and he's eloquent."