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Former Daggett County deputy sentenced for abusing inmates

PARK CITY – A former Daggett County Sheriff’s deputy is sentenced to 120 days in the Uintah County jail for illegally bringing a taser into the Daggett Count Jail and using it on inmates during so-called “initiations.”

Inside the Park City Courtroom, Joshua Cox admitted to using the taser on two inmates.  Prosecutors claim Cox took it from the Smithfield Police Department and used it more than once on inmates, who would get soda in exchange.  Defense attorneys say the inmates offered to be part of these incidents, and that the Sheriff’s Office was complicit.  Attorney, Loni DeLand, says “They tolerated everything.  There was horseplay going on at that jail all the time, and that’s what he considered this to be.”

DeLand says other deputies and Cox’s superiors knew about the “initiations” and even participated, but Cox became the fall guy.  DeLand says, “He was enabled by the department that he worked for.  He would have never done this in any other jail in the state of Utah,” adding, “The sheriff was ultimately responsible and he got no jail time.”

However, Judge Kent Hombler says he didn’t see Cox as a victim of circumstance, and that several factors worked against Cox.  The judge says Cox was in a positions of power, and that the taser use happened over an extended period of time with multiple victims.

Defense attorneys asked for Cox to serve his time in the Uintah County Jail, since it wouldn’t be safe for him to be placed in Summit County.  “Two of the inmates that were in Daggett County that are victims in this case are housed in Summit County,” DeLand says.

(Photo Credit: Al Hartmann)