Date: February 24, 2020
Re: Reversal of State v. Grunwald by the Utah Supreme Court
Late Friday, we learned of the decision by the Utah Supreme Court, after hearing oral arguments a year ago, to overturn the conviction in Meagan Grunwald’s trial of aggravated murder. We respect the Supreme Court to mediate the facts of the case and assure the principles of the Constitution are applied equally and fairly to all. That includes adherence to procedural matters of the case as well.
Now, this matter comes back to the Utah County Attorney’s office and me specifically as the elected Utah County Attorney. This case was tried before my election to this office, and I want to assure all that I feel keenly the responsibility to review the facts and balance the rights of the accused and the victims as we determine appropriate action.
First of all, I want to acknowledge the renewed pain to Nanette Wride-Zeeman, the widow of the victim. I want to assure her, we take this responsibility seriously. I also want to recognize the heightened emotions for the brotherhood that exists in law enforcement. We understand their reaction to the loss of Sgt. Cory Wride and to the Supreme Court’s decision.
Now it is time for me to fulfill my responsibility in response to the Utah Supreme Court decision and to help the public understand the process I will take.
We are reviewing the opinion of the Utah Supreme Court. We will delve into the facts of the case. A group of our seasoned attorneys will screen this case, looking at the investigation and the evidence provided by law enforcement. They will review the trial and make a recommendation. I will review the screening division’s findings and make a final determination.
My decision will not be reactive. It will not be pressured, or bullied, or based on emotion. We will do our part in this process to address fairness, and balance the rights for the victims and the accused. I believe that’s what residents of Utah County expect. Each of us should expect equal treatment, if we were in any of these positions.
Protecting the community is a duty that sometimes involves punishment—and sometimes, by only focusing on punishment we actually diminish the ability to protect society. There is little to be gained by swift, strong statements, one way or the other. I intend to carry out this decision and every other duty with deliberate thoughtfulness, sound judgment, and a reasoned approach. The clarity in this matter can come no other way.
David O. Leavitt
Utah County Attorney
For more information or for interview requests, please contact the Utah County PIO.