CLEARFIELD -- The city has outsourced attorney work for its roughly 8,000 misdemeanor cases each year, and has hired criminal-defense legal services for indigent accused.
City Attorney Brian Brower said the city holds court Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and has jury trials on Friday as needed. Typically, it is two full days of court each week.
The city attorney's office is responsible for prosecuting all class B misdemeanors and below, while all class A misdemeanors and felonies are prosecuted by the Davis County Attorney's Office.
Many of the cases are traffic-related, but 700 of the roughly 8,000 cases were criminal and non-traffic-related in the preceding 12-month period before the bid request went out. Those cases involved such crimes as domestic assaults.
In the same time period, Clearfield had 81 bench trials and one jury trial.
Brower said with Clearfield having only one attorney, there is no way to handle the caseload in-house. It requires outsourcing the services or hiring someone part time to handle it.
"There is enough work on the civil side representing the city council, employees and departments, to occupy all of my time," Brower said. "I don't have the ability to spend two days-plus preparation time to be in court."
Clearfield has hired out these services even before Brower came on board.
City Manager Chris Hillman said the city previously used the Davis County Attorney's Office for its prosecutorial work. However, Clearfield was notified in October that increased workload prevented the county from continuing the service.
The city received five proposals for its prosecutorial services in Clearfield Justice Court. The city awarded the bid to Phillip Shaw with Ericson and Shaw.
Hillman said Clearfield will save $4,000 each year with the new contract, as the annual cost will be only $32,000. Clearfield spent $36,000 on services with the county.
"We will still get the services we need, but it is for less money," Hillman said.
Clearfield also approved a bid for criminal-defense legal services for the indigent accused. Paul Olds with Farr Kaufman was awarded the contract for $800 a month or $9,600 a year.
During the 12-month period before the bid, Clearfield had 123 cases that required a public defender. Brower said cities are required to have an attorney on hand for such cases.
"People charged with criminal cases who face the risk of loss of liberty or life have a right to an attorney," Brower said. "If they can't afford it, it is at the public's expense."
He explained that not everyone who requests an attorney gets one. People have to meet the financial criteria and face loss of liberty or life. That means traffic-related cases don't meet the criteria for a public defender.
The bids were unanimously approved by the city council Tuesday night.