SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals has reversed a sex offender’s conviction after they say prosecutors failed to notify him they’d charged him or were prosecuting him.
In to a 74-page document filed by the Utah Court of Appeals on Friday, Judge Ryan Harris said the appellant, Chad Hintze, wasn’t made aware of a charge against him for two years.
The charge, according to the documents, stemmed from an incident in June of 2016 in which Hintze and a teenage girl were eating and sitting on a park bench along the Jordan River Trail. Hintze and the girl were approached by three uniformed officers on bike patrol.
Hintze wasn’t permitted to be there because he was convicted of attempted unlawful sexual activity with a minor in 2011. He was required to register as a sex offender following that incident.
For the 2016 incident, Hintze was ultimately charged by the state with one count of violation by a sex offender of a protected area.
Judge Harris’ opinion in the documents goes on to say the state did not immediately file charges against Hintze.
In March of 2017, Hintze was charged with forcible sexual abuse, which is considered a second-degree felony. This incident happened in a separate and unrelated case. In August of 2017, Hintze was sentenced to a prison term of zero-to-five years based on that conviction.
“He should have spent separate times in jail for his two separate offenses,” said Danielle Ahn, a candidate for Salt Lake County District Attorney.
Instead, Ahn says, he was punished for just the incident that took place in 2017.
It’s something Ahn says is unacceptable.
“It’s an injustice to the defendant, it’s an injustice to the community and to the victim,” she said.
FOX 13 News sat down with Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill Monday afternoon. He said the 2016 case involving Hintze was filed in 2018, which is within the two-year statute of limitations.
“When this case was filed, he had apparently been gone to prison, so we filed the charges, we asked for a warrant,” said Gill.
Looking back on the case, Gill said Hintze was not served that warrant until the Board of Pardons was reviewing his case, while Hintze was housed in Kane Cou