Former Utah officer says he’s already paid a excessive value for his function in inmate abuse at Daggett County jail


Silver Summit • Before a Utah choose sentenced former Daggett County jailer Joshua Cox to serve 4 months behind bars for abusing inmates, the ex-deputy requested for leniency and stated he grew to become a “catchall” for a sheriff’s workplace riddled with issues.

“That jail and that department was poison,” Cox stated Monday. “And I let it get to me.”

The 27-year-old man informed third District Judge Kent Holmberg on Monday that he’s not denying he was mistaken in what he did — which included gorgeous inmates with Tasers in change for soda, and taking police canines into the jail for coaching, which led to two individuals being bitten.

But Cox stated he’s already paid a hefty value: He gave up his police certification for all times. And he now lives 200 miles from his household, the one place he might discover work.

He has change into a “pariah,” Cox’s lawyer Loni DeLand informed the choose, somebody whom many within the small Daggett County neighborhood of Manila have blamed for the closure of the jail after a state investigation led to costs towards Cox and others within the sheriff’s workplace.

“This whole situation has ruined — “ Cox began, before becoming emotional and taking a long pause. “I’ve had to leave the community I live in to find employment because it’s almost impossible out there.”

But the choose stated he doesn’t see Cox as a sufferer; he was ready of energy when the inmate abuses occurred. Holmberg sentenced Cox to spend 120 days in jail, saying Cox had till 5 p.m. on Wednesday to report back to the Uintah County jail.

Cox pleaded responsible in September to 2 counts of third-degree felony aggravated badault, one third-degree felony depend of bringing a weapon into the jail and a depend of misdemeanor theft.

None of the abused inmates was in court docket for Monday’s sentencing. But Drew Housley, one other former jailer who labored alongside Cox, spoke on Cox’s behalf and likewise requested the choose to be lenient on his former co-worker.

Housley stated officers weren’t correctly skilled in Daggett County, and stun weapons and different instruments had been handled as toys.

They had been taught by their supervisors that “if it isn‘t on camera, it didn’t happen,” Housley stated.

DeLand — who had requested the choose to order house confinement for his shopper — echoed related sentiments, saying practically something was tolerated within the jail so long as it could possibly be dismissed as “horseplay.”

“I would submit that these acts could not have happened in any other jail in the state of Utah,” DeLand stated.

Prosecutors with the Utah lawyer normal’s workplace had requested the choose for jail time, saying Cox precipitated ache to the victims and monetary injury to a county that relied on revenue generated from a contract with the Utah State Prison to deal with a few of its inmates.

Cox was one in all a number of Daggett County sheriff’s staff charged after allegations of inmate abuse got here to mild earlier this 12 months.

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen, front left, huddles with lawyers and former jail commander Lt. Benjamin Lail, right, in Third District Court in Park City Monday July 17 before Judge Kent Holmberg on charges connected to the abuse of jail inmates at the Daggett County jail. A third person charged at far left is Deputy Joshua Cox.
Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Former Daggett County Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen, entrance left, huddles with attorneys and former jail commander Lt. Benjamin Lail, proper, in Third District Court in Park City Monday July 17 earlier than Judge Kent Holmberg on costs related to the abuse of jail inmates on the Daggett County jail. A 3rd particular person charged at far left is Deputy Joshua Cox.

Former Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen pleaded responsible in September to misdemeanor official misconduct. The plea was held in abeyance, that means the cost shall be dismissed in six months if he pays a $500 court docket price and doesn’t commit new crimes.

Benjamin Lail, former jail commander, pleaded responsible to clbad A misdemeanor reckless endangerment for firing a stun gun on the toes of a girl working within the jail management room. He was sentenced to a 12 months of probation and ordered to pay a $750 high-quality.

Two different deputies, Rodrigio Toledo and Logan Walker, additionally had been charged with official misconduct. Toledo pleaded responsible to the cost in September — a plea which was held in abeyance and shall be dismissed if he pays a court docket price and doesn’t commit new crimes. Walker’s case continues to be pending.

“It gets boring out there in Daggett County,” DeLand informed reporters after that listening to.

In their first public interviews since Utah state investigators abruptly closed the 80-bed Daggett County jail in February, a number of former inmates detailed what they described as painful “initiation” rituals by which a guard on the jail — typically with different officers as witnesses — repeatedly surprised them with a Taser weapon and subjected them to terrifying Okay-9 police canine “training” workout routines.

The inmates stated that in the event that they balked at his calls for, Cox ridiculed them and threatened to “fire” them from their coveted outside-prison work. On some events, after they had been working away from the jail cameras, inmates stated Cox menaced them along with his service handgun.

“I’ve never been bored enough in my entire 37 years of life to want or willingly be abused by anyone and I sure don’t see it as fun and games,” stated former inmate Dustin Porter.

John Mejia, authorized director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah who represents Porter and a number of other different inmates, attended Monday’s sentencing listening to for Cox, however declined to remark afterward.

When costs had been filed in May, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes known as the deputy’s actions “unbelievably inhumane conduct.” He stated in a press release that the actions of all of these charged had been “inexcusable.”

The case precipitated state jail officers to drag its inmates from the Daggett County jail, the place it had for years paid to deal with the prisoners.

The state’s inmates had been eliminated in February after the Department of Corrections opened an investigation into the jail officers’ conduct — a transfer that stripped Daggett County of an anticipated $1.42 million by the tip of the 12 months.

— Rone Tempest and Eric S. Peterson, with The Utah Investigative Journalism Project, contributed to this story.

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