Utah

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“A person is guilty of agricultural operation interference if the person:

    (a) without consent from the owner of the agricultural operation, or the owner’s agent, knowingly or intentionally records an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation by leaving a recording device on the agricultural operation;

    (b) obtains access to an agricultural operation under false pretenses;

    (c)(i) applies for employment at an agricultural operation with the intent to record an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation;

        (ii) knows, at the time that the person accepts employment at the agricultural operation, that the owner of the agricultural operation prohibits the employee from recording an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation; and

        (iii) while employed at, and while present on, the agricultural operation, records an image of, or sound from, the agricultural operation; or

    (d) without consent from the owner of the operation or the owner’s agent, knowingly or intentionally records an image of, or sound from, an agricultural operation while the person is committing criminal trespass, as described in Section 76-6-206, on the agricultural operation.”  Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112.

 

Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-112 was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge on July 7, 2017. Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Herbert, No. 2: 13-cv-00679-RJS, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105331 (D. Utah 2017).

 

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  Notice against trespass must be given by “personal communication . . . fencing or other enclosure . . . or [the] posting of signs[.]”  Utah Code Ann. § 76-6-206.

Other Provisions:

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“A person is guilty of stalking who intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person:

    (a) to fear for the person’s own safety or the safety of a third person; or

    (b) to suffer other emotional distress.”  Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-106.5.

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions address the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

“The Division [of Environmental Quality] will investigate and provide [a] written response to all citizen complaints” that a permit to discharge into state waters has been violated.  Utah Admin. Code r. R317-8(1.9).

Explicitly Prohibits:

“(1) A law enforcement agency may not obtain, receive, or use data acquired through an unmanned aircraft system unless the data is obtained [among others]:

    (c) subject to Subsection (2), from a person who is a nongovernment actor;

    (d) at a testing site…

(2) A nongovernment actor may only disclose data acquired through an unmanned aircraft system to a law enforcement agency if: (a) the data appears to pertain to the commission of a crime; or (b) the nongovernment actor believes, in good faith, that: (i) the data pertains to an imminent or ongoing emergency involving danger of death or serious bodily injury to an individual; and (ii) disclosing the data would assist in remedying the emergency.

(3) A law enforcement agency that obtains, receives, or uses data acquired under Subsection (1)(d) or (e) shall destroy the data as soon as reasonably possible after the law enforcement agency obtains, receives, or uses the data.”  Utah Code Ann. § 63G-18-103.

 

“ ‘Nongovernment actor’  means a person that is not: (a) an agency, department, division, or other entity within state government; (b) a person employed by or otherwise acting in an official capacity on behalf of the state; (c) a political subdivision of the state; or (d) a person employed by or otherwise acting in an official capacity on behalf of a political subdivision of the state.”  Utah Code Ann. § 63G-18-102.

 

“(1) Except as provided in this section, a law enforcement agency: (a) may not use, copy, or disclose data collected by an unmanned aircraft system on a person, structure, or area that is not a target; and (b) shall ensure that data described in Subsection (1)(a) is destroyed as soon as reasonably possible after the law enforcement agency collects or receives the data.

(2) A law enforcement agency is not required to comply with Subsection (1) if:

     (a) deleting the data would also require the deletion of data that: (i) relates to the target of the operation; and (ii) is requisite for the success of the operation;

     (b) the law enforcement agency receives the data: (ii) from a person who is a nongovernment actor;

     (c)(i) the data was collected inadvertently; and (ii) the data appears to pertain to the commission of a crime;

     (d)(i) the law enforcement agency reasonably determines that the data pertains to an emergency situation; and (ii) using or disclosing the data would assist in remedying the emergency; or

     (e) the data was collected through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system over public lands outside of municipal boundaries.”  Utah Code Ann. § 63G-18-104.

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Utah R. Civ. P. 11.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

 

“To satisfy the requirement of authenticating or identifying an item of evidence, the proponent must produce evidence sufficient to support a finding that the item is what the proponent claims it is.”  Utah R. Evid. 901.

Expert Testimony:

Frye standard, but other standards, similar to Daubert, for novel science.  See Alder v. Bayer Corp., 61 P.3d 1068, 1083–84 (2002).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.