David O. Leavitt

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Kiev, Ukraine. Attorney David O. Leavitt assisted Ukraine in refashioning its penal code

David Okerlund Leavitt (born October 30, 1963) is a criminal justice attorney and businessman from Utah.

Early life[edit]

David Leavitt was born to Dixie and Anne Leavitt, the fifth of six brothers. He was raised in Cedar City, Utah and also spent time in Loa on the family farm. He was involved in public life from a young age. His father, Dixie Leavitt, was a State Senator in Utah and also ran for governor in 1976. Leavitt's older brother, Michael O. Leavitt was elected Governor of Utah for three terms starting in 1992 and was the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.

After graduating from high school, Leavitt served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York City. He learned Spanish and worked among the Hispanic population.



Leavitt was admitted to the Utah Bar in 1991, and moved to Fillmore, Utah where he served as the city attorney and maintained a private law practice. He worked there until 1995, when he was appointed Juab County Attorney. After serving eight years as county attorney, in 2003, he again resumed his private practice and entered the field of business.

County attorney[edit]

In 1995, the Juab County Commission appointed Leavitt to serve as the Juab County Attorney, replacing Donald Eyre who was appointed to a district court judgeship. The following year he ran unopposed in a special election for county attorney. He won re-election in 1998 and served until January 2003 after having lost the 2002 election by 22 votes.[1]

During his eight years as county attorney, Leavitt advised the Juab County Commission and other elected county officials. As the chief law enforcement officer of the county, David either prosecuted or supervised the prosecution of over one thousand felony cases and over eight thousand misdemeanor cases with a conviction rate of 96%.[2] His most notable case was his prosecution of polygamist Tom Green.

As Juab County Attorney, David served on the board of directors of the Utah Association of Counties, the Utah Prosecution Council, and the Statewide Association of Public Attorneys. His work on the Tom Green case and his involvement in state affairs earned him the honor of being named County Attorney of the Year in 2001 by the Utah Association of Counties.[2]

Tom Green (polygamist) trial[edit]

In April 2000, Leavitt, on behalf of the State of Utah, filed an information against polygamist Thomas Arthur Green of West Desert, Utah charging him with one count of rape of a child, four counts of bigamy and one count of failure to pay child support. The charge of child rape was severed from the latter charges and on May 18, 2001 Green was convicted of the counts of bigamy and criminal non-support. He appealed the ruling in 2004 claiming that it violated the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, that Utah's bigamy statute was unconstitutionally vague and that the district court was incorrect in applying Utah's unsolemnized marriage statute. The district court's ruling was upheld by The Supreme Court of Utah.[3] On June 24, 2002, Green was convicted of child rape. He appealed this conviction in 2005, on grounds of statute limitation and venue, but the trial court's rulings were affirmed by The Supreme Court of the State of Utah.[4][5]


Leavitt returned to private practice in 2003, focusing on government relations and federal criminal defense. In 2004, the American Bar Association asked Leavitt to spend a year in Kiev in Ukraine [6] assisting the Ukrainian government in converting its criminal justice system from a Soviet-style system to one that more closely approximates the American criminal justice system.

David O. Leavitt ran for the United States House of Representatives in Utah's Third Congressional District.[7] He was eliminated at the Utah State Republican Convention in May 2008. Current Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz won that seat, defeating longtime incumbent Chris Cannon.


  1. ^ "Official Canvass of votes did not change the outcome of November 5th election". The Times-News, Nephi, Utah. 2002-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  2. ^ a b Election. The Times-News, Nephi, Utah Wednesday, October 30, 2002, p.7
  3. ^ "State of Utah v. Thomas Arthur Green, filed September 3, 2004". Utah State Courts. 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  4. ^ "State of Utah v. Thomas Arthur Green, filed February 1, 2005". Utah State Courts. 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  5. ^ "Polygamist Guilty of Child Rape". CBS News. 2002-06-24. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  6. ^ "From Nephi to Kiev--trek for justice reform". Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City, Utah. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  7. ^ Utah Third Congressional District map

External links[edit]