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FILES SOUGHT ON DUI ARREST OF KANE OFFICIAL

The Society of Professional Journalists has filed a formal request seeking the release of police records involving the drunken driving arrest of Kane County Attorney Jim Scarth.

The organization's Utah chapter filed the action Tuesday with acting Kanab City Attorney Eric Ludlow after previous attempts by reporters to view the police reports were rebuffed.Scarth was arrested Feb. 10 after he allegedly drove his county vehicle into a ditch near his home. His 6-year-old son was with him at the time.

The attorney had been previously convicted of a DUI charge in 1987.

SPJ attorney Tim Anderson said under Utah law, withholding public records such as police and booking reports violates at least three Freedom of Information provisions.

Ludlow has maintained that releasing the information would jeopardize the city's case, but he said Wednesday he did not know what action he would take in response to the SPJ request.

Scarth has refused to comment on his case.

Kanab City Judge Patricia Chavez last week refused a request by Ludlow to transfer Scarth's case to district court after earlier indicating she would.

Scarth had argued that a transfer would deny him due process by preventing the right to a second trial in district court if he were convicted in the lower court.

The defendant also told Chavez that he planned to petition for a change of venue.

The next proceedings, however, will come April 13, when Chavez hears a motion by Scarth to suppress evidence.