Utah Department of Corrections v. Despain

In Utah Department of Corrections v. Despain, 824 P.2d 439 (Utah Ct. App. 1991)is helpful in illustrating the way in which two separate governmental agencies can independently determine the same legal issue for different purposes. In that case, the defendant, a prison guard employee for the Utah Department of Corrections, was terminated for assaulting his wife in violation of a departmental policy that prohibited "any act or conduct that constitutes a wrongful practice as defined by federal, state or local law." The Department of Corrections determined that the defendant had violated state criminal law and as a result had violated its departmental policy. On appeal, the Career Service Review Board found a factual basis for the assault allegations; however, the State Board rescinded the defendant's termination, concluding that because the defendant had not been convicted or even charged with assault, he did not violate the departmental policy. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed the State Board's decision, holding that "a policy violation does not require a conviction," and that "the facts indicate that the defendant violated a state criminal statute even though he was released after his arrest."