The Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) of Utah County Attorney’s Office conducts extrajudicial, fact-based reviews of secured convictions in order to investigate plausible allegations of actual innocence.
About the Utah County Conviction Integrity Unit
Requirements for a Review
There are several requirements that must be met to qualify for a conviction review by the Utah County Attorney’s Office. The case and applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The conviction must have occurred in Utah County, and the Utah County Attorney’s Office must have prosecuted the case;
- The conviction must be for a felony or misdemeanor offense;
- The application for review must be based on credible and verifiable evidence of innocence, or new technologies that exist to test or retest remaining relevant evidence;
- The applicant must agree to fully cooperate with the CIU, as well as agreeing to provide full disclosure regarding all inquiry requirements of the CIU;
- If an applicant is represented by counsel, all communication with the CIU must be through counsel;
- Nothing in these proceedings may operate to stay or revive any other proceeding, deadline, or limitation period under the Postconviction Remedies Act, Title 78B, Chapter 9 or a case on direct appeal.
To Apply for a Conviction Review
Applicants or their representative must complete the form below in order to make a conviction review request (you may use additional pages if needed):
“This is an important opportunity for an extrajudicial review to address claims about factual evidence. In assembling the unit, I have looked to attorneys, judges, law enforcement, and social workers to create a unit that is diverse and experienced.”
— David Leavitt, Utah County Attorney
Policies and Procedures - Utah County Conviction Integrity Unit
Conducts extrajudicial, fact-based review of secured convictions to investigate plausible allegations of actual innocence
WHEREAS, the Utah State Legislature has enacted and the Governor has signed into law 78B-9-501, et. seq. Utah Code Annotated 1953 “Conviction Integrity Units Act;” and,
WHEREAS, the Utah County Attorney desires to establish such a Unit within the Office of the Utah County Attorney; and,
THEREFORE, the following Policies and Procedures are implemented.
Policies of the Utah County Conviction Integrity Unit Program:
What Cases Will Be Accepted (Jurisdiction):
- Conviction (or sentence) must have occurred in Utah County and the case was prosecuted by the Utah County Attorney’s Office 78B-9-503(2)(a)
- Conviction occurred in another jurisdiction, and the head of the prosecuting agency in that jurisdiction requests a review by the Utah County Attorney’s Office based upon a conflict of interest or because they have not established a Conviction Integrity Unit 78B-9-503(2)(b)
Types of Cases Accepted for Review:
- Any felony cases (note any death penalty cases will be referred to the Attorney General’s Office) 78B-9-503(3)
- Misdemeanors (so long as the resources are available. Felony cases will be given priority)
- Cases where the defendant pled guilty
- Cases where the same claim has been factually litigated in court will not be accepted
- Cases currently on direct appeal that involve claims of factual innocence will not be accepted, however cases that are currently in collateral actions in federal court will be accepted
- Any cases that have been submitted to the Utah County Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit and denied will only be accepted upon a submission of newly discovered evidence that was not previously known to the applicant at the time of the previous review
What allegations can be investigated: 78B-9-503(1)
- Plausible allegations of factual innocence (even if not newly discovered evidence)
- Newly discovered material evidence
- Information discovered or received by the prosecution agency after trial, judgment of conviction, or sentencing that:
- If disclosed would have resulted in a significant probability that the result would have been different; or
- Significantly calls into question the legitimacy of the jury verdict, judgment of conviction, or sentence
- This can include ineffective assistance of counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, or competency
Standard of Review
- By a preponderance of the evidence there is presented
- bona fide and compelling evidence that the convicted person is significantly likely to be factually innocent;
- bona fide and compelling newly discovered material evidence that:
- if presented at or before the time of trial, judgment of conviction, or sentencing, would have resulted in a significant probability that the result would have been different; or
- bona fide and compelling Information discovered or received after the trial, judgment of conviction, and sentencing that:
- If disclosed to the convicted person prior to trial, judgment of conviction, or sentencing would have resulted in a significant probability that the result would have been different; or
- Significantly calls into question the legitimacy of the jury verdict, judgment of conviction, or sentence 78B-9-503(12) & 78B-9-502
- “Factually innocent” means the person did not: 78B-9-401.5
- engage in the conduct for which the person was convicted;
- engage in conduct relating to any lesser included offenses of the crime for which the person was convicted; or
- commit any other felony arising out of or reasonably connected to the facts supporting the indictment or information upon which the person was convicted.
- “Newly discovered material evidence” means evidence that was not available to the petitioner at trial or during the resolution on the merits by the trial court of any motion to withdraw a guilty plea or motion for new trial and which is relevant to the determination of the issue of factual innocence, and may also include: 78B-9-401.5
- evidence which was discovered prior to or in the course of any appeal or postconviction proceedings that served in whole or in part as the basis for vacatur or reversal of the conviction of petitioner; or
- evidence that supports the claims within a petition filed under Postconviction Remedies Act (Part 1, General Provisions), which is pending at the time of the court’s determination of factual innocence
- “Significantly likely” means to a large degree or of a noticeably or measurably large amount. 78B-9-502
- Nothing in these proceedings may operate to stay any other proceeding, deadline, or limitation period under the Postconviction Remedies Act, Title 78B, Chapter 9
- Nothing in these proceedings will revive a claim under the Postconviction Remedies Act, Title 78B, Chapter 9
The CIU shall prepare forms including the following:
- Application for Review of a Conviction or Sentence
- Consent for Third Party Contact (signed by applicant)
- Confidentiality Agreement (signed by applicant)
- Confidentiality Agreement (External Review Program Members
The Conviction Integrity Unit
Geidy A. Achecar received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Utah in 2003 and her Juris Doctorate from J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in 2014. During law school Geidy was elected as the Student Bar Association President and as the graduation speaker for her class. She was a member of the BYU Education and Law Journal and clerked in the appellate division of the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. After graduating and passing the Utah Bar Exam, Geidy worked in a Salt Lake firm before bringing her talents to the Fillmore Spencer team.
Geidy’s family immigrated to the United States when she was a child, and she grew up in New York City. Being raised as an immigrant in a native Spanish speaking home in New York City provided Geidy with life experiences allowing her to relate to and help her clients in an extraordinary fashion. She passionately serves the Latino community in many ways separate from her law practice. She volunteered as the Co-executive director of the Utah County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, she worked as a legal fellow for Senator Luz Robles of the Utah State Senate and contributes her time to educate and assist Latino individuals in need. Geidy also takes advantage of every opportunity available to teach and model to young minority women that they can overcome adversity and change the world.
Geidy shares her talents with several legal organizations including Women Lawyers of Utah, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Utah Minority Bar Association. Currently, Geidy serves on the board of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion as co-chair of the education committee and she is serving her fourth year as a Truancy Court Judge in the Nebo School District.
Mr. Carlile is a commercial litigator with nearly forty years of experience in a broad variety of litigation and transactional matters, including banking, business separations, contract drafting and disputes, construction litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, eminent domain, land use regulation and property disputes, trust and estate litigation.
Mr. Carlile has extensive trial experience with both jury and bench trials. He also argues appeals in both federal and state courts. Mr. Carlile was lead counsel representing banking interests in large fraudulent mortgage schemes. He also served as lead litigation counsel for the State of Utah as receiver of one of the largest property and casualty insurance company insolvency proceedings in the country.
Mr. Carlile is a certified mediator through Northwestern University School of Professional Studies, Mediation Skills Training Program since 2017. He received his arbitration certification through the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution, Arbitration Training Institute. Mr. Carlile is also a panel member of the Utah Alternative Dispute Resolution Services. He has extensive experience representing clients in mediation and arbitration, in the areas of commercial litigation, trust and estate disputes, land use and zoning matters.
Mr. Carlile oversees the Firm’s Provo Office. He and his wife are deeply involved in community affairs serving in a variety of elected and appointed positions. Mr. Carlile maintains an AV Preeminent (5.0) rating with Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating awarded to attorneys for professional competence and ethics. He has been included on the list of The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 in Commercial Litigation and has been selected for inclusion in Mountain States Super Lawyers (2012-2020) in the category of Business Litigation. Mr. Carlile has also been voted by his peers throughout the state as one of Utah’s “Legal Elite,” as published in Utah Business Magazine (2005, 2007-09, 2013-15).
Mr. Tolman is a shareholder and Chair of the Tolman Group’s White Collar, Corporate Compliance, and Government Investigations Section. Mr. Tolman is the former United States Attorney for the District of Utah, and his practice involves assisting large and small companies and individuals in complying with state and federal criminal and civil laws. These matters include investigations alleging simple and complex financial fraud, corporate immigration violations, and other administrative and regulatory compliance issues. Mr. Tolman also serves as outside general counsel to numerous clients by providing guidance on legal issues confronting businesses and non-profit organizations ranging from contracts and agreements to the structuring of corporate transactions and business formations.
Prior to serving as US Attorney, Mr. Tolman served as Legal Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, DC. Mr. Tolman has extensive experience navigating complex issues from drafting to enactment into law through Congress. Mr. Tolman is uniquely qualified having worked at the highest levels in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government to assist clients with government relation and lobbying issues at both the state and federal level.
Mr. Tolman maintains an AV Preeminent (4.7) rating with Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating awarded to attorneys for professional competence and ethics. He has also been included on the list of The Best Lawyers in America in Commercial Litigation. He has also been selected for inclusion in Mountain States Super Lawyers (2014-2016) in the category of Criminal Defense: White Collar and has been voted by his peers throughout the state as one of Utah’s “Legal Elite,” as published in Utah Business Magazine (2011, 2014-2017).
Tanner Ainge began his service on the Utah County Commission in January of 2019. He and his wife Heidi are residents of Alpine and are parents to 5 children (3 sons and twin daughters). Prior to entering public service, Tanner?s business career was focused on advising companies on the legal, financial and strategic issues involved in large-scale mergers and acquisitions.
Tanner earned his Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law and his Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University. He served as a missionary in West Africa and later helped form a non-profit organization focused on assisting and mentoring African entrepreneurs. He also spent time in China and is conversational in Mandarin Chinese.
His hope is to serve the people of Utah County by consistently leading government functions with character, common sense, fiscal discipline, and a long-term, results-oriented approach.
Dr. LaShawn Williams, LCSW
Dr. LaShawn C. Williams is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years experience in myriad fields of human behavior and social justice work. She began her career in Northeastern Pennsylvania after finishing her undergraduate education at Duke University where she majored in Sociology & Psychology, focusing on Criminal Justice.
While in Pennsylvania she worked in community mental health providing direct care services and support to children and families receiving social services and mental health support. She completed her dual masters education in Social Work and Public Administration at Marywood University, completing a master’s thesis in 2005 on Relational Aggression in adolescent females involved in the juvenile justice system. Prior to graduation, she began interviews to become a Federal Probation Officer. As her career took a turn, she found herself moving to Utah to work within the higher education system assisting young adults in leadership transitions and career explorations. She has taught as an adjunct and full-time faculty of social work classes since 2006. Simultaneously she became a licensed clinician in 2012 and has worked various projects in the university and community settings. One such project was developing a CCJJ-funded community-based mentoring program for at-risk youth at the request of Tooele County officials. Dr. Williams then pursued a terminal degree in Education, focusing on the training of mental health professionals in diversity, difference and social justice which she completed in 2017 at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska.
Presently, Dr. Williams serves as an assistant professor in the Social Work Program at Utah Valley University where she teaches service-learning courses in human behavior and social work with diverse populations. She co-facilitates ongoing reading and discussion groups with local police departments on race, racism, social justice and structural change with Dr. Dianne McAdams-Jones – a Full Professor in the nursing department at the College of Health and Public Services. Dr. Williams spends her time away from the university managing her private practice, Relational Spaces – based in Orem, Utah where she focuses on relational change across difference, valuing connection, and promoting growth.
She brings her passion for justice, a commitment to hearing all sides, an orientation towards restorative healing, and a thorough expertise in advocating for the exploited to the Conviction Integrity Unit. She trusts that, together with her colleagues, they will work with Utah County officials for the benefit of constituents seeking equality, fairness and justice under the law.
Mr. Schofield’s litigation practice is focused on complex commercial and real property litigation, general civil litigation, and mediation and arbitration. He serves as a court-appointed special master, and he has mediated several hundred cases to successful resolution. Mr. Schofield, a retired trial court judge, recently obtained a Utah Supreme Court reversal clarifying Utah referendum law.
He earned extensive trial experience as a general jurisdiction trial judge for 14 years handling every type of trial including complex civil litigation, capital murder, felonies, domestic relations, and probate. He practiced as a shareholder and director at Ray, Quinney & Nebeker for 13 years specializing in commercial litigation and creditor bankruptcy litigation, primarily representing banks and other lenders. He is experienced in mediating commercial and domestic matters (certified mediator). He served on the Utah Judicial Council for 3 years including one year as Chair of the Management Committee and Vice Chair of the Council. He served three years as a member of the Board of District Court Judges and one year as Presiding Judge, 4th District Court. He also served 2 terms as President, Central Utah Bar Association.
Anne Marie Taliaferro
Ann Marie (“Annie”) Taliaferro has been an attorney practicing with Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP, since graduating from law school in 2000. Annie’s legal practice includes criminal defense trial work, appeals, and post-conviction advocacy.
Before attending law school, Annie was a high school teacher and coach. She received her J.D. from S.J. Quinney College of Law and was a William H. Leary Scholar. While in law school, she served as a staff writer and a Note & Comment Editor on the Utah Law Review.
Also while in law school and prior to joining Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, Annie served as a law clerk for the Utah Attorney General’s Office Criminal Appeals Division and the United States Attorney’s Office. As an undergraduate, she also completed a summer internship with the Supreme Court of the United States, Office of the Curator.
Annie is a passionate advocate for her clients, but even more passionate about defending and upholding the integrity of the criminal justice system. She has served, and continues to serve, on a number of boards and committees to advance these goals and has been recognized by her peers for her work and commitment to criminal justice.
Chief Andrew Burton
Andrew Burton has been the Chief of Police of the Saratoga Springs Police Department since June of 2013. The department provides full spectrum law enforcement services for the cities of Saratoga Springs and Bluffdale, Utah. He started his law enforcement career with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office (now the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake) in 1982. He served in a variety of special assignments and spent his last ten years there as a Lieutenant, commanding several significant units, including four years as the Commander of the Salt Lake Area Metro Gang Unit. He also served as the deputy commander for an Olympic venue during the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Following 23 years of service there, he retired and then served the next several years as the Gang Detective for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. He has received numerous awards and recognitions as a police officer. Simultaneously to his law enforcement career, he served over 32 years as an Army Special Forces Officer, serving in a combination of active duty and Army National Guard service, and rising to the rank of full Colonel.
He was selected by the US Army promotion board and confirmed by the US Senate for promotion to the rank of Brigadier General. He served in command assignments at every rank including four years as the Commander of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He served three times on combat tours in Afghanistan with Army Special Forces, finishing his last tour in April of 2013. During his service with Special Forces, he deployed to every geographic Theater and to numerous world-wide locations on operational missions, contingency operations, and exercise events.
His principal military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Army Parachutist Badge. Upon retirement from the Army in April of 2013, he returned to his law enforcement career and accepted the position he currently has as a Chief of Police.
He holds a Masters of Strategic Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement, and a Bachelor of Science in Watershed Science. He and his wife Cheryl have three married children and 11 grandchildren.
Stirling Adams is an attorney and serves as vice president and head of intellectual property for the enterprise software company Micro Focus. Stirling earned his law degree at the Boston University School of Law and studied statistics and computer science as an undergraduate. Stirling has lived with his family in Orem for the past 25 years, except for three year-long family ventures to Argentina, China, and Boston.