Hate Crime against Police

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.

Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges for High School Sophomore

Photo by: NIlanjan Nag
Photo by: NIlanjan Nag

A sophomore at a Utah high school is facing possible charges for possession with intent to distribute after a large amount of drugs were found in his car at the high school parking lot.

Drug dogs

Officers searched a 16 year old’s vehicle after a K-9 unit alerted law enforcement to a possibility of drugs in the car. The drug dogs were at the high school doing a random search of hallways, lockers, and student vehicles; something they do at least once a month.

Mobile illegal business

The teenager, whose name is not released due to him being a minor, was attempting to leave the parking lot of the high school when officers stopped the young man and searched his vehicle, finding over five pounds of marijuana hidden inside.

Possession with Intent to Distribute
Photo by: Cannabis Culture

Possession with intent to distribute

Although there was no report on officers finding scales, baggies, or any other evidence suggesting that the boy was going to sell the marijuana, there is a high probability he may face charges of possession with intent to distribute based solely on the large quantity of marijuana he possessed. Since the five pounds of marijuana can be assumed to be more than a normal person would have on them for personal use, that may be all that is needed for intent to distribute charges to follow.

3rd degree felony +

Possession of over one pound but less than 100 pounds of marijuana is a 3rd degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine as much as $5,000. Someone facing possession with intent to distribute also faces a 3rd degree felony. While it may seem that the boy is facing a 3rd degree felony no matter which charge he faces, because he was in a school zone, intent to distribute charges would be increased to a 2nd degree felony. This is one of many reasons why it is encouraged to speak with a juvenile defense attorney regarding any drug charges.

Fourth Graders Facing Felony Arson Charges for Torching School Shed

Two fourth graders are facing felony charges for arson after torching a shed near a school in St. George Utah.

Arson
Photo by: Bastian

Flammable shop supplies

Fire crews responded to a report of an outbuilding on fire near Pine View Middle School in southern Utah last Tuesday evening. Upon arriving, authorities confirmed that the building on fire was a shed which housed numerous supplies for the nearby shop class. The shed and supplies were a complete loss, nearby windows to the school were blown out from the heat, and the fire was determined to have been arson.

Poor use of time

The two arson suspects, a 9 year old and a 10 year old, were observed on video surveillance and were determined to be the sole participants of the arson. The children were too young to be students of the school and had likely just started the fire for fun or out of boredom. Little did they know, their poor use of free time resulted in thousands of dollars in damage to the school and felony arson charges for them.

Photo by: Dani Vázquez
Photo by: Dani Vázquez

Arson

Utah Code 79-6-102 states “A person is guilty of arson if ( . . . ) by means of fire or explosives, the person unlawfully and intentionally damages (. . . ) the property of another.” The charges for arson can vary from a class B misdemeanor to a first degree felony (aggravated arson), depending on the cost of the damage and if anyone was harmed. Although no one was hurt in the school shed fire, the damage to the shed and supplies exceeded $5,000. For this reason, the two elementary school students in St. George are facing 2nd degree felony charges.

Do you know where your children are?

It is known at this time how long the children were without adult supervision, but it doesn’t take long for them to get into trouble. It is always a wise decision to keep close tabs on kids, especially those not mature enough to be trusted to make good decisions. For those times when youth commit crimes while out of parent’s radar even for a brief moment, a juvenile defense attorney is recommended.

Hazing in Salt Lake City High Schools

Many high schools in the Salt Lake City area are going to be back in session soon, and with that come common pranks and more serious issues such as hazing.

Hazing common before college

Photo by: Edgar Zuniga Jr.
Photo by: Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Hazing is more known for its place in college fraternities, where students earn the right to be a part of a desired sorority.  Unfortunately, hazing is finding its way among the younger crowd, with hazing rituals starting as early as freshmen year.  According to stophazing.org, around half of all high school students will witness hazing before they graduate as seniors.

Physically and emotionally damaging

While a good majority of new student or senior rituals are harmless, what is defined as hazing can have lasting effects to high school students’ health and well-being.  For this reason, hazing is against the law. Utah code 76-5-107.5 states that “A person is guilty of hazing if that person [for the purpose of initiating another into a group or team] intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly commits an act or causes another to commit an act that:

• endangers the mental or physical health or safety of another;

• involves any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics, bruising, electric shocking, placing of a harmful substance on the body, or exposure to the elements;

• involves consumption of any food, alcoholic product, drug, or other substance or any other physical activity that endangers the mental or physical health and safety of an individual; or

• involves any activity that would subject the individual to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation, extended isolation from social contact, or conduct that subjects another to extreme embarrassment, shame, or humiliation.[…]”

Hazing penalties

Hazing penalties can range from a class B misdemeanor from simple hazing to a 2nd degree felony if a weapon is involved. As Salt Lake City students return to school, they need to refrain from being involved with hazing of any kind and report it to school officials immediately.  Those high school students found guilty of hazing should contact a juvenile defense attorney.

Police Car Joyride for Utah Teen

An Apple Valley, Utah teen is in jail after taking a police car joyride early Sunday morning.

Photo by: Scott Davidson
Photo by: Scott Davidson

Party poopers

18 year old Jason Bateman and a handful of his friends were hanging out in the back of a parked truck in Hildale, Utah shortly after 2am when police officers showed up regarding a noise complaint. Officers found beer, alcohol, and handguns among the people in the truck who consisted of both adults and minors.

Someone’s played Grand Theft Auto

After unsuccessfully trying to flee on foot, Bateman was handcuffed and arrested for minor consumption. Police left the 18 year old in the rear of the police car, handcuffed with his hands in front of him. Bateman then climbed into the front of the patrol car and sped off on a police car joyride, nearly hitting a group of bystanders.

Getting nowhere fast

Bateman’s police car joyride peaked at speeds reaching 120 mph as he soared past the Utah border, heading deeper into Arizona. Eventually however, he decided to end his joyride, pulling off the road willingly on southbound SR-389. Bateman and another individual from the truck are being held at Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah.

Should’ve stuck with minor consumption

Photo courtesy of: Washington County Sheriff's Office
Photo courtesy of: Washington County Sheriff’s Office

Because Bateman chose to flee on his police car joyride, now added onto his class B misdemeanor of minor consumption are four more class B misdemeanors, one class C misdemeanor, one class A misdemeanor, three 3rd degree felonies and one 2nd degree felony. For any teens whose choices have made a bad situation worse, make the good decision by getting in touch with a juvenile defense attorney.