Attempted Homicide for Shooting Someone with a BB Gun

Simms, on the topic of  Utah Law
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Police in Kearns, Utah are investigating a shooting where a 14 year old boy was shot in the head with a BB gun; an act that authorities are saying could result in attempted homicide charges.

BB Gun at School

Attempted Homicide

Photo by: au_tiger01

Following a homecoming pep rally at a Kearns, Utah high school earlier this month, a car pulled up to a group of students outside the school and opened fire on the crowd with a BB gun. One student, a freshman, was shot in the forehead with the BB gun and taken to a local hospital. The victim of the shooting is expected to make a full recovery and police are trying to find the shooter.

Not a child’s toy

A BB gun is often portrayed as an older child’s toy such as it is in the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story”, yet many parents who buy their children BB guns or similar play firearms are unaware of the potential harm a child can do with the gun, and the criminal charges that may follow.

Attempted homicide

Photo by: Daniel Lobo

Photo by: Daniel Lobo

According to Kearns police who are still looking for the BB gun bandit, shooting someone with a BB gun is just like using any other type of firearm and criminal charges of attempted homicide are to be expected. Utah Code 76-4-102 states regarding attempted homicide : “[it] is a first degree felony punishable by imprisonment for an indeterminate term of not fewer than three years and which may be for life “.

Parental supervision

It is important for parents to educate themselves and their children on the rules associated with using any firearm, including BB guns. It is also encouraged that parents wait until a child is mature enough to understand the potential ramifications that may occur from committing a crime with a gun and for parents to provide supervision whenever the gun is in use. If a minor is facing criminal charges for attempted homicide or other firearm charges, parents should seek immediate legal counsel.

Dangerous New Drug Found in Utah Schools is Technically Legal

Simms, on the topic of  Drugs
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A dangerous new drug is popping up in several Utah schools resulting in the deaths of two middle schoolers and there isn’t anything authorities can do about it since it is technically legal.

Pink

New Drug

Photo by: West Midlands Police

U-47700, otherwise known as pink or pinky is a synthetic opioid that gives users a high that has been compared to that of oxycodone and even heroin. It is extremely dangerous and has a high risk of overdosing since the high doesn’t last long causing the user to take multiple doses resulting in respiratory distress. Pink is actually not a new drug but was created back in the 1970’s as another alternative to morphine; it was never approved however and quickly vanished. For unknown reasons, the drug has resurfaced within the past few years and has been linked to numerous deaths including the late singer Prince and multiple individuals throughout Utah including two 13 year old boys.

A new drug is a legal drug

Since U-47700 is in a sense “new”, its exact chemical makeup isn’t included on the controlled substance list making it not against the law to use, sell, or buy. This means that pink can be ordered online from China and distributed openly to anyone anywhere, even at public schools. In an effort to stop the spread of this new drug The DEA and individual states are scrambling to have U-47700 added to the controlled substance list. Until then, pink will continue to inundate Utah schools and the death toll is expected to continue rising.

Education

It is important that parents speak to their children about the dangers of this new drug, regardless of whether or not it is lawful. While most Utah kids have been told to stay away from illegal drugs, they also need to be educated on steering clear of anything that can pose a hazard to their health. Additionally, it is only a matter of time before U-47700 is prohibited in which criminal charges for possession and distribution would be imminent.

Teenagers Sneaking Soda Ends with Assault on an Officer

Simms, on the topic of  Violent Acts
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Three teenagers from southern Utah were arrested after one was caught sneaking soda and the others chose to intervene forcefully, one committing assault on an officer.

Those cups are for water only

Photo by: Bill Selak

Photo by: Bill Selak

An employee of a fast food restaurant in southern Utah contacted police after a 16 year old filled a cup of soda without purchasing it then knocked the employee down when the stolen drink was taken back and dumped. Officers located the teen at home, expecting to speak with the 16 year old and his parents. Instead they ended up calling over a dozen other officers for backup and arrested the 16 year old and two of his friends for an array of charges including assault on an officer.

Interfering and assault on an officer

Interfering and Assault on an Officer

Photo by: Chris Yarzab

When officer arrived at the home to speak with the teen, other people at the residence tried to intervene with the officer’s investigation. As the 16 year old was being led by police to the squad car, 19 year old Marcus Quiddam became agitated and chest bumped the officer. Not stopping there, Quiddam caused the officer to fall backward, resulting in minor injuries to the officer when he attempted to break his fall. The 16 year old and another aggravated minor were arrested for interfering with an arrest. Quiddam was also charged for his interfering as well as assault on an officer, a class A misdemeanor.

Rising tensions

Photo by: Kate Ausburn

Photo by: Kate Ausburn

With tensions rising between police officers and those they are sworn to serve and protect, many forget there are laws in place to protect the officers. Teens especially are at risk for crossing the line and facing charges as they can be emotionally driven as well as uneducated as to the specific laws regarding acting out toward law enforcement. It is important to teach children to continue to stand up for what they believe but to do it in accordance with the law.

Duties of School Resource Officers in Utah

Simms, on the topic of  Education
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School resource officers have many duties related to their positions supervising education facilities throughout Utah. These obligations don’t always involve breaking up fights and keeping the school grounds drug and weapon free.

School Resource Officers

Photo by: Rescuenav

School resource officers A.K.A. school cops

School resource officers often get a bad rap patrolling the hallways of Utah schools almost as if their position is a type of demotion or security guard status. On the contrary, school cops are law enforcement officers who are not only responsible for ensuring that all activities in and around the school are lawful, but also for teaching and mentoring the youth they oversee.

Real police officers

Photo by: North Charlston

Photo by: North Charlston

School resource officers are regular police officers but who are specially contracted to work with the “local education agency” or LEA. As stated in Utah Code 53A-11-1604, school resource officers are to:

“(i) provide for and maintain a safe, healthy, and productive learning environment in a school;
(ii) act as a positive role model to students;
(iii) work to create a cooperative, proactive, and problem-solving partnership between law enforcement and the LEA;
(iv) emphasize the use of restorative approaches to address negative behavior; and
(v) at the request of the LEA, teach a vocational law enforcement class;”

Trained specifically to work with the youth

Photo by: West Midlands Police

Photo by: West Midlands Police

Being a school cop usually requires additional training beyond the police academy and field training programs. According to Utah Code 53A-11-1603, in order to best serve the schools and the students they serve, school resource officers may be specifically trained in:

“(a) childhood and adolescent development;
(b) responding age-appropriately to students;
(c) working with disabled students;
(d) techniques to de-escalate and resolve conflict;
(e) cultural awareness;
(f) restorative justice practices;
(g) identifying a student exposed to violence or trauma and referring the student to appropriate resources;
(h) student privacy rights;
(i) negative consequences associated with youth involvement in the juvenile and criminal justice systems;
(j) strategies to reduce juvenile justice involvement; and
(k) roles of and distinctions between a school resource officer and other school staff who help keep a school secure.”

Chose to work in a school setting

Photo by: John Taylor

Photo by: John Taylor

It is important to teach Utah children that school cops are sworn law enforcement officers and should be respected as such. Additionally, children should not fear their school resource officers. They should known them as someone who is passionate about education and is there to help the kids gain an education in a safe setting while being a liaison between the schools and the police department.

Use of E-Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products by Utah Teens

Simms, on the topic of  Education
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Teenagers in Utah use traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes and chew less than most other states in the nation, but the use of e-cigarettes in the beehive state is skyrocketing.

Teens and e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes

Photo by: Vaping360

Noting the “availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use”, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that “More than 3 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015 ( . . . )” E-cigarettes are claimed to be less dangerous than regular tobacco products, yet there is still much not known about possible adverse effects of e-cigarette use or “vaping”. For one, e-cigarettes typically contain liquid nicotine which is an addictive stimulant and has been noted to increase the risk of psychiatric and memory issues. Another danger is the device itself that is used to deliver the nicotine cocktail.

Exploding e-cigarette

Last month a 13 year old Utah teenager was injured when she borrowed her 16 year old brother’s e-cigarette. Naïve to the proper operation of the electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), the teen turned the device on, only to have it explode in her face. Fortunately, the girl is expected to heal completely without needing plastic surgery.

All tobacco products

The FDA recognizes e-cigarettes as a danger especially for minors and recently added them to the list of tobacco products so they could be regulated. Utah law has been updated to mirror those new regulations.

• Utah Code 76-10-103-Business owners can face a class C misdemeanor for letting persons under age 19 to use tobacco products including e-cigarettes at their place of business.

• 76-10-104, it is unlawful to provide any tobacco product including e-cigarettes to someone under the age of 19. Those who are found guilty of supplying minors with e-cigarettes can face a class C misdemeanor for their first offense, class B misdemeanor for the second offense, and a class A misdemeanor for any subsequent offenses.

• 76-10-105 states that an 18 year old that has or tries to possess any tobacco product is guilty of a class C misdemeanor while minors under 18 will be fined at least $60 and required to attend a tobacco class.

Education starts at home

It is important for parents to discuss with their teens the dangers and possible criminal charges of using or possessing tobacco and e-cigarettes whether or not they contain nicotine. If a teen is facing criminal charges for e-cigarette use, consult with a juvenile defense attorney immediately.

Dealing with Stress and Anxiety – Juvenile Drug Use in Utah

Simms, on the topic of  Drugs
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There are several possible explanations for the issue of juvenile drug use in Utah, however dealing with anxiety and high levels of stress may be all it takes to send kids looking for an escape through substance abuse.

Juvenile Drug Use in Utah

Photo by: CollegeDegrees360

Pointing fingers

Peer pressure, demographics, weak family relationships, and poor choices of friends are all areas that have received much of the blame for the problem of juvenile drug use in Utah. While these have been proven to play a noteworthy part in some cases of adolescent drug use, one area that is often overlooked is the everyday stresses of being a teenager.

Rough stage of life

Being a teenager is tough: classes are harder; relationships with friends can change suddenly and dramatically; dating can be cruel; more is expected from parents; and shifting hormones can make everything seem overwhelming at times. Teenagers can be left feeling sad, anxious, and stressed out. It is no surprise that the teenager years, especially starting around the ages of 12 and 13 is when juvenile drug use in Utah sees an intense increase in numbers.

“To feel better”

Photo by: Marius Dollinger

Photo by: Marius Dollinger

Teenagers are often at a loss at how to deal with everything that life is throwing at them. This can often be why normally good kids turn to drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Some adolescents suffer from depression, social anxiety, stress-related disorders, and physical pain. Using drugs may be an attempt to lessen these feelings of distress. Stress especially plays a significant role in starting and continuing drug use as well as returning to drug use (relapsing) for those recovering from an addiction.”

Learn to spot triggers for juvenile drug use in Utah

It is important for parents, teachers, and other adult role models to recognize when a teen needs help and to teach them how to deal with life issues before drugs come into play. This can protect the youth in Utah from a life of substance abuse and dependency or from having a criminal record.

Hate Crime against Police

Simms, on the topic of  Drugs
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A Utah teenager was arrested after drugging an officer’s drink and authorities are unsure if the act was a just a juvenile prank gone wrong or a hate crime against police.

Would you like drugs with that?

18 year old Tanis Ukena was working at a Subway restaurant in Layton, Utah when a police sergeant came to the drive through window in a patrol car. After receiving his lunch and drink from Ukena the police officer continued to the station for work when he began to feel a little off. Once at the station, other officers noted that the sergeant appeared to be high on drugs. The sergeant was taken to a hospital and a sample of his drink was tested for drugs; it came back positive for THC and meth.

Hate crime against police or a juvenile prank

Hate Crime Against Police

Photo by: torbakhopper

Thus far, there isn’t a known motive as to why Ukena would want to drug a police officer. With a young, impressionable mind being subjected to the multitude of vile stories in the media lately about police targeting others or being targeted themselves, some question whether or not this could have been a hate crime against police.

2nd degree felony

Whether or not the officer was targeted because of his profession, the young Subway worker was irresponsible and likely not aware that the actions he took could have such severe consequences. Ukena was charged with surreptitious administration of a substance, which is a 2nd degree felony. By spiking the officer’s drink he not only put the officer in danger but now may face up to 15 years in prison.

Parental education

When teenagers are being constantly subjected to social media posts that may encourage or condone a hate crime against police, it is important for parents to speak with their children about the consequences that can come from such actions. There are legal ways to voice concern and take a stand against the questionable activities of law enforcement officers that will not result in an 18 year old serving time in prison time.

Teen Alcohol Use in Utah

Simms, on the topic of  Alcohol
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Teen alcohol use in Utah has seen a slight decreased over the last five years, yet the numbers of youth who consume alcoholic beverages regularly is still concerning.

Teen alcohol use

Teen Alcohol Use

Photo by: Incase

The average age for kids to try alcohol is 13 years old, when hormone driven emotions are at an all-time high and the youth are more susceptible to peer pressure. Although a majority of kids state that they do not approve of teen alcohol use, data collected by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showed that three-fourths of teens will have tried alcohol by the time they are seniors in high school.

Dangers of teen alcohol use

Teen alcohol use can start with one drink and quickly lead into other dangerous behavior such as drunk driving and binge drinking. Over 5,000 teens and young adults under the age of 21 die each year from alcohol related deaths from incidents like alcohol poisoning from binge drinking and drunk driving. Those that survive but continue with underage drinking have a heightened chance of abusing other substances such as illegal drugs, which raises the teen mortality rate as well.

Minor consumption

Photo by: -EMR-

Photo by: -EMR-

Another problem that can arise with teen alcohol use is minor consumption and other alcohol-related criminal charges. Teens who are caught drinking alcohol before the age of 21 risk losing their driving privileges while also being required to attend alcohol education courses. If they drink and drive however, they may face time in juvenile detention or adult jail, especially if an injury to another person occurred due to their driving intoxicated.

Preventing teen drinking

The teenage years are a difficult time when kids may be emotionally unstable while also discovering their newfound independence that comes with age. Educating teens about the harmful effects that alcohol and drugs can have on their developing brains is important as well as teaching them coping techniques for the drama that is so prominent in their lives.

Prescription Cough Syrup as a Recreational Drug

Simms, on the topic of  Drugs
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A prescription cough syrup cocktail known as Sizzurp, purple drank, or lean is increasing in popularity among the younger crowd as a recreation drug and many teens can’t get enough of the sweet drink until it’s too late.

Purple tinted drink

Photo by: Helga Weber

Photo by: Helga Weber

Sizzurp or purple drank has been sung about and glorified by many rap artists over the last decade including a few artists who lost their lives from the harmful concoction. Sizzurp is usually made from fruity soda, candy such as Jolly Ranchers, and a prescription cough syrup that is purple in color and contains promethazine and codeine. The sweet tasting base of this recreational drug makes it easy to consume, which increases the likelihood of health repercussions.

A fatal cocktail

In small doses, the prescription cough syrup in the purple cocktail can be very effective at controlling pain while quieting a cough and encouraging sleep. In large doses however, the prescription cough syrup can bring upon an overly relaxing high while increasing the chances of addiction as well as seizures or death from respiratory distress. One serving of Sizzurp typically contains several doses of the prescription cough syrup per drink, making it a potentially fatal cocktail.

Felony charges for misuse of a prescription cough syrup

prescription cough syrup

Photo by: frankieleon

Just like any narcotic in pill form, prescription cough syrup is intended to only be used by the person for whom the prescription is written. If someone consumes a drink containing the cough syrup without having a prescription or makes a cocktail and serves it to others, they may face felony charges for their misuse of a controlled substance.

Talk to your kids about Sizzurp

Parents of teens are encouraged to research the recreational drugs that may be popular among the youth such as Sizzurp or purple drank and discuss with their children the legal and lethal dangers of using prescription cough syrup or other drugs to get high.

Utah Teen Arrested for Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident

Simms, on the topic of  Juvenile Defense Misc
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A trade gone wrong between two Utah teenagers left one boy seriously injured and another teen arrested for failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

Stolen property and a faulty getaway

18 year old Bradley Allen and another juvenile male made a deal to trade electronic items when the other male discovered Allen was selling him a stolen cell phone. Allen attempted to leave in his vehicle when the other teenager who was standing in close proximity to the car was accidentally dragged under the vehicle. Although the accident was not intentional, Allen decided to leave and did not remain at the scene, thereby committing a felony.

Third degree felony for failure to remain at the scene

Utah code 41-6a-401.3 states “The operator of a vehicle who has reason to believe that the operator may have been involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person shall: immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible ( . . . ) and remain at the scene of the accident ( . . . ).” If the driver leaves and minor injuries are reported, they will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If they fail to remain at the scene and there are serious injuries to the other party, they will face a third degree felony.

Poor reaction of a new driver

When a teenager causes an accident where another person is hurt it can be a stressful situation and running away may be their first reaction, although definitely the wrong response. If a teen driver flees the scene and comes to terms with their mistake, they should contact law enforcement immediately and return to the scene if possible. If they fail to remain at the scene and never come clean about the accident, it is recommend they consult with a juvenile defense attorney as charges will be expected.