STORY ABOUT OUR FIRM
about the salt lake legal defender association
Established in 1965, the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association is a nonprofit law firm organized to provide the highest quality representation to eligible individuals accused of crimes in Salt Lake County. Our office of dedicated lawyers, social service professionals, mitigation specialists, legal assistants, paralegals, and investigators work hard to protect the rights of our clients.
Our staff treats clients, coworkers, and community partners with compassion, kindness, and respect.
We advocate without compromise, zealously working to ensure we provide our clients with effective, creative, and compassionate legal assistance. Our office litigates cases ranging from misdemeanors to death penalty cases; however, we never forget that each case is important to our clients, their loved ones, and our community. Whether it’s a trial before their peers, admission into a specialty court, or an advantageous plea bargain, our attorneys always try to get our clients the best possible outcome. Our attorneys are aided by our experienced investigative team, enabling us to present a strong defense by locating and interviewing witnesses and hunting down exculpatory evidence.
Our social service professionals and mitigation specialists can provide judges, juries, and prosecutors with background information, assessments, and treatment plans that can reduce recidivism, reintegrate our clients into the community, help individuals onto the path of recovery and offer better alternatives to incarceration. In addition to helping our clients, our work and coordination with community treatment providers saves taxpayers money. In 2015, the cost of incarcerating one inmate at the Utah State Prison for one year is $29,349; each client who receives the treatment necessary to change their lives also saves our community money, makes our city safer, and rebuilds families.
Our work ensures that everyone in Salt Lake County receives the same protections guaranteed by the constitution. When we challenge evidence, expose untruths, and demand that the police conduct thorough and fair investigations, we protect everyone from governmental overreach. Our advocacy makes the criminal justice system a fairer process for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Can I vote?
I am on probation or parole. Can I vote?
In Utah, you cannot vote if you are incarcerated in a jail or prison. You can vote if you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction or if you are on probation or parole.
See Utah Code Ann. 20A-2-101.3. Convicted misdemeanants — Restoration of right to vote or hold office.
(1) As used in this section, “misdemeanant” means a person convicted of a misdemeanor for an offense under this title.
(2) A misdemeanant’s right to register to vote and to vote in an election is restored when the misdemeanant:
(a) is sentenced to probation, or
(b) has successfully completed the term of incarceration to which the misdemeanant was sentenced.
See Utah Code Ann. 20A-2-101.5. Convicted felons — Restoration of right to vote and right to hold office.
(1) As used in this section, “convicted felon” means a person convicted of a felony in any state or federal court of the United States.
(2) Each convicted felon’s right to register to vote and to vote in an election is restored when:
(a) the felon is sentenced to probation;
(b) the felon is granted parole; or
(c) the felon has successfully completed the term of incarceration to which the felon was sentenced.
If you have been charged in Salt Lake County with a misdemeanor or a felony and you are unable to afford an attorney, you can ask the judge to appoint you a public defender. The court will give you an Affidavit Requesting Appointment of Legal Defender. The form will ask you about your finances. You will need to provide the judge with information such as your marital status, whether you have dependents, where you are employed, if you have savings and debts, and provide a description of property you own. You will also be required to swear that the contents of your application are true.
If the court determines that you qualify for a public defender, it will appoint our office to represent you and give you a new court date. You will also be given contact information for our office.
Unfortunately, we cannot assist you unless you have been appointed to our office by the Salt Lake City Justice Court, the Salt Lake County Justice Court, or the Third District Courts in West Jordan or Salt Lake.
How can I arrange to meet with my attorney?
Many of our attorneys have office hours where they are available to answer questions. You can call your attorney’s legal assistant at 801-532-5444 and find out when their office hours are or you can set an appointment. If you are in custody and would like a visit, you can call or write us and request a visit from your attorney.
Please dress conservatively (something you would wear to church, work, a job interview or a nice social function) when you come to court. The courthouse has a dress code. Court bailiffs may ask you to leave the courtroom if you are wearing shorts, tank tops, a hat, or sunglasses. Our office can provide clients with appropriate clothing for jury trials.
Board of Trustees
Named after Jimi Mitsunaga, the award is given annually for Achievement, Dedication, and Loyalty to Attorneys and Support Staff who have demonstrated these standards of excellence and a commitment to LDA’s mission of providing excellent legal representation
2000 Lynn R. Brown
2001 Lisa J. Remal
2002 Joann Schneider
2003 Kay Lamoreaux
2004 Paul Espinoza
2005 Karen J. Stam
2006 Dennis Couch
2007 F. John Hill
2008 Diane Grambow
2009 Joan C. Watt
2010 Deborah Kreeck Mendez
2011 Patrick Corum & Heather Brereton
2012 Ralph Dellapiana
2013 Ray Shuey & Kristina Swickard
2014 Patrick Anderson & Lisa Freebairn
2015 Teresa Welch & Mary Chipian
2016 Wojciech Nitecki & Susan Kosanovong
2017 Debra M. Nelson & Mark Augustine
2018 Michael Peterson & Vicki Loader
2019 Kellie Wilcox & Michael Sikora
2020 Mike Misner & Bree Gowers
UTAH STATE BAR: 2020 ANNUAL AWARDS
This past year, the COVID-19 pandemic created a unique crisis in access to justice. Many lawyers and judges have gone above and beyond to create new pathways in providing legal services to aid individuals, organizations, and families coping with unpredictable situations. The Utah State Bar Commission selected these special award recipients because they epitomize excellence in the work they do and have served exceptionally during this pandemic.