In October 2018, prominent researcher and professor Dr. Julie Valentine worked with Paul Cassell and the Utah Crime Victim Legal Clinic in writing a petition to the Utah Supreme Court to request that outside prosecutors be appointed to review rape cases in which the Salt Lake DA's office had refused to prosecute. The petition is on behalf of five Jane Does—survivors who have remained anonymous. From this petition, a legislative bill was drafted which would create a special prosecutor at the Utah Attorney General's Office creating this prosecutor position. If this bill passes, it will be a huge win for sexual assault survivors who wanted to have their cases prosecuted, but were denied across Utah. But we need your help to make it happen.
What you can do:
There are 3 ways to support HB 281:
1. Survivors are needed at the committee meeting who are comfortable making a public statement. Understand that as it is a public statement, media will likely be there and it's important that the survivor feels 100% empowered and fully comfortable sharing.
2. There is also the option to attend the meeting in silent support. Survivors and allies can hold signs if they would like. An example of a sign might be something like, "My case was not prosecuted" or "DA's office refused to prosecute my case".
3. The House Judiciary Committee Members need to be flooded with emails of support for HB 281 in order for this to pass. These emails need to be sent today, February 18th or tomorrow, February 19th (today is best). We've made it really easy—click here to download the list of committee members and their email addresses, along with an email template to base your message off of. This will not take a lot of time, but make a big difference.
HB 281 (sponsored by Representative Lisonbee) will be heard in committee at the Utah Capitol, House Building, Room 20 on Wednesday, February 20th at 8:00 am. Click here for a map of the Capitol campus, public transit and parking information.
We need the voices of survivors to attend this meeting to pass this legislation. Please feel free to reach out to Honey at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you plan on attending, or if you have any questions.