Summit County Chief Prosecutor Patricia Cassell set to retire

Cassell is set to retire on Feb. 28, 2024

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah – Summit County’s Chief Prosecutor Patricia Cassell is set to retire after a long career as a prosecutor and juvenile justice expert.

After obtaining a degree in applied mathematics from the University of Idaho, Cassell pursued her legal education at Georgetown University’s Law School. She earned her Juris Doctorate in 1990 and went on to clerk for two federal courts, first in North Carolina and later in Utah.

Cassell would then remain in Utah, and jumped into a role with the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office starting in the juvenile division prosecuting delinquency cases.

Cassell temporarily left the D.A.’s office to raise her children but resumed her career in prosecution, serving at the Sandy City Attorney’s Office for eight years. Following that, she rejoined the Salt Lake D.A.’s office, dedicating 11 years and eventually rising to the position of Division Chief.

During her tenure at the D.A.’s office, Cassell handled numerous high-profile cases, including a variety of homicide cases involving both adult and juvenile offenders.

In 2016, Cassell was appointed Chief Prosecutor by former Summit County Attorney Robert Hilder. Following her assumption of the role, the community faced the challenges posed by the deadly synthetic drug “pink” and the tragic deaths of two children. Cassell’s expertise in juvenile justice played a crucial role in addressing these cases.

Over the past seven and a half years, Cassell’s responsibilities with the Summit County Attorney’s Office encompass prosecution in district and juvenile courts.

Cassell has been instrumental in prosecuting and securing convictions in numerous high-profile and homicide cases, with her memorable closing argument leading to the 2017 conviction of James Henfling for the murder of Jose Fernandez.

“Our team will miss Trish immensely,” said Margaret Olson, Summit County Attorney, “She is a brilliant and effective lawyer, a steady voice of reason, and an effective leader. She is also a lot of fun, and we will miss her laughter and presence around the office and courts. The Summit County community owes her great thanks for her devoted service these many years.”

She has also been an active member of the District Court’s drug court team. This is a program where criminal offenders get drug treatment and help in turning their lives around. In that role, she has helped to oversee many successful graduations from the program.

Cassell is set to retire on Feb. 28, 2024.

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