SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – After months of fighting, The Justice Files won a public records battle – obtaining crucial documents about Jonathan Soberanis, a man accused of violating children on multiple occasions.
The documents revealed the extent of Utah’s Division of Services for People with Disabilities efforts to restore him to competency.
Soberanis has been found not competent on several occasions leading to the judge dismissing the charges. But in 2022, a judge ordered DHHS to restore him to competence.
Much of the restoration process, as well as documents regarding Soberanis’ competency, are not public, but on March 14, The Justice Files requested the jail visitor’s log – something visible at virtually every jail in the U.S.
The next day, the Utah County Attorney’s Office denied the request – calling it “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”
On April 7, The Justice Files appealed to the chair of the Utah County Board of County Commissioners.
On May 3, the Utah County Attorney’s Office denied the appeal, claiming it came too late. The Justice Files, however, disproved that – showing a USPS delivery confirmation date within the required timeline.
After making numerous attempts to speak with the Utah County Attorney’s office about the denial with no response, The Justice Files sent an appeal to the State Records Committee.
On May 25, a hearing was held in which The Justice Files argued there is an overwhelming public interest in providing this document. The State Records Committee reviewed the document and ruled in The Justice Files’ favor, ordering the visitor’s log be released.
The log states a treatment provider visited Soberanis 13 times. According to DHHS, providers submit a report to a licensed psychologist who then does their own evaluations.
Based on the jail log provided, no psychologist met with Soberanis after his treatment. A judge later ruled Soberanis not competent, releasing him from the case.