Judicial Council Meeting Minutes


December 18, 2000
Matheson Courthouse, Council Room
Salt Lake City, Utah
Chief Justice Richard C. Howe, Presiding

Members Present: Staff Present:
Chief Justice Richard C. Howe 
Hon. Russell Bench
Hon. Lynn Davis
Hon. Lee Dever
Hon. Ben Hadfield
Hon. Ronald Hare
Hon. Jerry Jensen
Hon. Scott Johansen
Debra Moore, esq.
Hon. Andrew Valdez
Hon. Michael Wilkins
Daniel J. Becker
Myron K. March
Ray Wahl
Richard Schwermer
D. Mark Jones
Tim Shea
Matty Branch
Jan Thompson
AnNicole J. Faeth
Hon. Anne M. Stirba
Hon. Lyle Anderson


Representative-Elect Scott Daniels
Stephen Hunt, Salt Lake Tribune
Maria Titze, Deseret News

Welcome and Approval of Minutes:

Chief Justice Richard C. Howe called the meeting to order at 9:10 a.m., and excused Judge Anne M. Stirba, Judge Clair Poulson, and Judge Lyle Anderson from the meeting. The minutes of the Council's November meeting were then discussed. Judge Davis noted that page four of the minutes reflect that "Michael Ryan" took part in the discussion when in fact the name is "Michael O'Brien".


Judge Davis made a motion to approve the minutes with the above mentioned correction. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

Report From Chairman:

Chief Justice Richard C. Howe reported on the following items:


Policy and Planning:

Judge Scott Johansen reported that the Policy and Planning Committee discussed the Judicial Retirement Fund Surplus at their last meeting. The committee decided to recommend the adherence to the options and priorities that were adopted in 1993. The committee felt that portions of the surplus could be used to fund judicial salary increases, with other portions fed into judicial retirement. Judge Johansen noted that the surplus is not one time money, but should be continuous.


Judge Johansen made a motion to adopt Policy and Planning's recommendation as outlined above. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

Management Committee:

Judge Russell Bench reported on the status of the Management Committee, on behalf of Judge Stirba who was unable to be in attendance. Judge Bench mentioned that most items discussed by the committee were on the Council's consent calendar. A motion was required and made, however, regarding the appointment of Judge Sharon McCully as chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee.


Judge Bench made a motion to approve the appointment of Judge McCully as chair of Ethics Advisory Committee. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

Liaison Committee:

Judge Lee Dever reported that the Liaison Committee reviewed several bills in their last meeting which are reflected in the committee's minutes. The judiciary amendment bill has been reworked so that the declaration of intent by a judge to seek retention and the paying of the declaration fee will be filed with the Court Administrator's office instead of with the Lt. Governor's office.

Judge Dever also reported that the Liaison Committee passed a motion to oppose the reduction of certain traffic offenses from class C misdemeanors to infractions. Judge Dever mentioned that the Liaison Committee's next meeting will be held in January. If there are any bills that anyone would like to have addressed at the meeting, contact a committee member and they will arrange that.

Bar Commission:

Debra Moore reported the following items on behalf of the Bar Commission:

Administrator's Report:

Daniel J. Becker reported the following items:

The following new appointments have been made to the Legislative Executive Appropriations Committee:
Sen. Leonard Blackham, co-chair; Rep. Jeff Alexander, co-chair; Sen. Bill Hickman, co-vice-chair; and Rep. Ron Bigelow, co-vice-chair.
The following appointments have been made to the Legislative Appropriations Subcommittee Executive Offices, Criminal Justice, and Legislature:
Sen. Chris Buttars, co-chair; Rep. Lamont Tyler, co-chair; Sen. Pete Knudson; Rep. Paul Ray; Rep. Mike Thompson; and Rep. Scott Daniels. Sen. Pete Suazo, Rep. Ron Bigelow, and Sen. Gary F. Cox are reappointments to the subcommittee.
The following are appointments to the Senate Judiciary Committee:
David Gladwell, Chair; Lyle Hllyard; John Valentine, Chris Buttars; Millie Peterson; and Pete Suazo.
The following are appointments to the House Judiciary Committee:
Glenn L. Way, Chair; James A. Ferrin, Vice Chair; Chad E. Bennion; Ron Bigelow; Katherine M. Bryson; Greg J. Curtis; Ben C. Ferry; Mike Thompson; Lamont Tyler; Patrice M. Arent; Gary F. Cox; Scott Daniels; and Neal B. Hendrickson.
Performance Evaluation presentations were made to the Appellate, District, and Juvenile boards of judges last week.

Report: Board of District Court Judges:

In response to the Council's request that the Board of Judges provide input on how freed up resources might be applied, Judge Stanton Taylor expressed the following planning priorities on behalf of the Board of District Court Judges:

Judge Taylor commended the Judicial Council and AOC Staff for the work they do, and expressed particular thanks for the manner in which issues are anticipated and the Boards are consulted.

Classification of Juror Names and Addresses:

Tim Shea made the following recommendations to the Council regarding the classification of juror names and addresses:

Tim reported to the council that they could express their desires of how to address this issue to him, and he could use that information to develop and present a proposed rule at the council's next meeting. The rule, however, would then be published for public comment before it becomes effective. Judge Davis expressed that he would like to maintain a juror's confidentially while preserving the freedoms and desires of the press, questioning a juror's right of privacy vs. the public's right of access.


Judge Hadfield made a motion to have the staff prepare a proposed rule for consideration at the council's meeting next month which would:

Classify as private the records of the addresses, telephone numbers and other information for contacting jurors and prospective jurors. Classify as private the names of jurors and prospective jurors until the jurors are discharged. The names of prospective jurors would remain private. Permit the judge to withhold public inspection of the jurors' names in the interests of justice for up to 10 days after the jurors are discharged. Permit the court to seal records of the jurors' names upon its own motion, or upon a request by a juror by following constitutional procedures and imposing constitutional standards:

1) Provide advance written notice of closure to any media representative who has requested such notice in that particular case, to the parties, and to the juror.

2) Hold a closure hearing, which must be open to the greatest extent possible. Close only that portion of the hearing as necessary to protect countervailing interests. If allegedly prejudicial information must be disclosed, the court may close the hearing only after first attempting unsuccessfully to procure a voluntary non-disclosure agreement.

3) Permit any responsible person to participate in the closure hearing to the extent consistent with orderly court procedures.

4) Determine whether there are sufficient countervailing interests ("substantial probability of prejudice," "compelling interests") supporting closure to outweigh the interests favoring public access.

5) Determine that there are no reasonable alternatives to closure sufficient to protect the countervailing interests.

6) Support the closure order by written findings and conclusions.

The motion was seconded, and carried with one opposed.

Judicial Retirement and Medical Insurance Premiums:

Brent Johnson reported that the subject of judicial retirement and medical insurance premiums was introduced at the council's last meeting. At that time, the council requested a memo outlining the potential cost to the courts to cover the premiums across eight or nine years. Mr. Johnson provided such a memo to the Council. The Council reviewed options such as continuing the benefit at 100%, requiring judges pay the 5% premium cost, or covering the 5% premium cost for judges who had earned the seven years by July of 2000. A motion was then made.


Debra Moore made a motion to not fund the 5% premium amount at retirement unless the amount can be funded through legislative enhancements to the retirement program. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

Update - Judicial Conduct Commission:

Steve Stewart of the Judicial Conduct Commission reported that there are currently seventy-four open files of conduct complaints. The sources of the complaints and how they are directed will be included in the Judicial Conduct Commission's annual report. Mr. Stewart also mentioned that, on average, approximately 78% of the complaints filed result in dismissal. Mr. Stewart also reviewed with the Council several examples of cases dismissed after a "preliminary investigation".

Inclusion of Trenton and Cornish Towns in Clarkston Municipal Justice Court Jurisdiction:


Justice Wilkins made a motion to approve the inclusion of Trenton and Cornish towns in the Clarkston Municipal Justice Court jurisdiction. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.


A presentation of recognizing service on the Judicial Council was made to Representative-Elect Scott Daniels, a former Judicial Council Member.


A motion was made to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.

The meeting adjourned following lunch.