Appendix B. Justice CourtStandards For Recertification
Instructions to applicant for recertification
As part of the application process, each entity should carefully reviewall requirements for the operation of Justice Courts. In order to aid governingbodies in obtaining the necessary information regarding the continuingobligations of an entity with respect to the operations of the Court, thegoverning body of each entity must request a written opinion from its attorneyadvising the entity of all requirements for the operation of a Justice Court,and the feasibility of maintaining a Justice Court. In addition, prior tosubmission of this application, each entity must duly pass a resolutionrequesting recertification. The resolution must also affirm that the entity iswilling to meet all requirements for the operation of the Court during theperiod of certification. A copy of the attorney's opinion and the resolutionmust accompany the application. A representative of the entity may appearbefore the Committee to present the application and may present any additionalinformation which the applicant desires to present to the Committee. In theevent that additional information is deemed necessary, the Committee may requestsuch additional information from the applicant. Certification will certify thecourt to process all cases which come within the jurisdiction of the courtincluding criminal, civil and small claims cases pursuant to Section 78A-7-106.
Statutes of the State of Utah require that certain standards be met inthe operation of a Justice Court. These statutory requirements include:
1. All official court business shall be conducted in a courtroom or anoffice located in a public facility which is conducive and appropriate to theadministration of justice (Section 78A-7-213).
2. Each court shall be opened and judicial business shall be transactedevery day as provided by law (Section 78A-7-213), although the judge is notrequired to be present during all hours that the court is open.
3. The hours that the court will be open shall be posted conspicuouslyat the court and in local public buildings (Section 78A-7-213).
4. The judge and the clerk of the court shall attend the court atregularly scheduled times (Section 78A-7-213).
5. The entity creating the Justice Court shall provide and compensate ajudge and clerical personnel to conduct the business of the court (Section78A-7-206 and Section 78A-7-211).
6. The entity creating a Justice Court shall assume the expenses oftravel, meals, and lodging for the judge of that court to attend requiredjudicial education and training (Section 78A-7-205).
7. The entity creating a Justice Court shall assume the cost of traveland training expenses of clerical personnel at training sessions conducted bythe Judicial Council ( Section 78A-7-211).
8. The entity creating the Justice Court shall provide a sufficientstaff of public prosecutors to attend the court and perform the duties ofprosecution (Section 78A-7-209).
9. The entity creating the court shall provide adequate funding forattorneys where persons are indigent as provided by law (Section 78A-7-209).
10. The entity creating the court shall provide sufficient local lawenforcement officers to attend court when required and provide security for thecourt (Section 78A-7-209).
11. Witnesses and jury fees as required by law shall be paid by theentity which creates the Court.
12. Any fine, surcharge, or assessment which is payable to the Stateshall be forwarded to the State as required by law ( Section 78A-7-121 andSection 78A-7-119).
13. Every entity creating a court shall pay the judge of that court afixed compensation (Section 78A-7-206).
14. Court shall be held within the jurisdiction of the court, except asprovided by law (Section 78A-7-212).
15. The entity creating the court shall provide and keep current forthe court a copy of the Motor Vehicle Laws of the State of Utah, appropriatecopies of the Utah Code, the Justice Court Manual, state laws affecting localgovernments, local ordinances, and other necessary legal reference material (Section 78A-7-214).
16. All required reports and audits shall be filed as required by lawor by rule of the Judicial Council pursuant to Section 78A-7-215.
17. An audio recording system shall maintain the verbatim record of allcourt proceedings. Section 78A-7-103. For Class I and Class II justice courts,the system must:
(a) be a stand-alone unit that records and audibly plays back therecording;
(b) index, back-up and archive the recording and enable the record tobe retrieved.
(c) have at least four recording channels;
(d) have a one-step "on" and "off" recordingfunction;
(e) have conference monitoring of recorded audio;
(f) have external record archiving from the unit with local access;
(g) be capable of being integrated with the courts public addresssystem; and
For Class III and Class IV justice courts, the system must, at a minimum:
(h) be a stand-alone unit that records and audibly plays back therecording;
(i) index, back-up and archive the recordingand enable the record to be retrieved; and
(j) have at least two recording channels.
The Board of Justice Court Judges may create a list of products thatmeet these criteria.
In addition to those requirements which are directly imposed bystatute, Section 78A-7-103 directs the Judicial Council to promulgate minimumrequirements for the creation and certification of Justice Courts. Pursuant tostatute, the Judicial Council has adopted the following minimum requirements:
1. That the Court be opened for at least one hour each day that thecourt is required to be open as provided by law (Section 78A-7-213).
2. That the judge be available to attend court and conduct courtbusiness as needed.
3. That the minimum furnishings for a courtroom include: a desk andchair for the judge (on a six inch riser), a desk and chair for the courtclerk, chairs for witnesses, separate tables and appropriate chairs forplaintiffs and defendants, a Utah State flag, a United States flag, a separatearea and chairs for at least four jurors, a separate area with appropriateseating for the public, an appropriate room for jury deliberations, and anappropriate area or room for victims and witnesses which is separate from thepublic. (A suggested courtroom configuration is attached).
4. A judicial robe, a gavel, current bail schedules, a copy of the Codeof Judicial Administration, and necessary forms and supplies.
5. Office space for the judge and clerk (under certain circumstancesthis space may be shared, but if shared, the judge and clerk must have priorityto use the space whenever needed). The office space shall include a desk forthe judge and a desk for the clerk, secure filing cabinets for the judge andthe clerk, a telephone for the judge and a telephone for the clerk, appropriateoffice supplies to conduct court business, a cash register or secured cash box,a typewriter or word processor, and access to a copy machine.
6. A clerk must be present during the time the court is open each dayand during court sessions, as required by the judge.
7. The entity must have at least one peace officer (which may becontracted).
8. A court security plan must be submitted consistent with
9. Each court must have at least one computer with access to theinternet, and appropriate software and security/encryption technology to allowfor electronic reporting and access to Driver License Division and the Bureauof Criminal Identification, as defined by the reporting and retrieval standardspromulgated by the Department of Public Safety.
10. Each court shall report required case disposition information to
In establishing minimum requirements, the Judicial Council hasdetermined that Justice Courts with higher case filings require greater supportservices. To accommodate the great differences in judicial activity betweenJustice Courts within the state, the Council has divided courts into fourclasses based upon the average monthly cases filed in that court. Minimumstandards have been set for each classification. Courts which have an averageof less than 61 cases filed each month are classified as Class IV Courts. Theminimum requirements for a Class IV Court are stated above. (These requirementsare also attached as Class IV minimum requirements). These requirements includeboth the statutory requirements and requirements promulgated by the JudicialCouncil, and are sometimes hereinafter referred to as "baserequirements."
Courts which have an average of more than 60 but less than 201 casesfiled each month are classified as Class III Courts. In addition to the baserequirements, a Class III Court must be open more hours each week (see attachedClass III minimum requirements), and court must be scheduled at least everyother week. Courts which have an average of more than 200 but less than 501cases filed each month are classified as Class II Courts. In addition to thebase requirements, Class II Courts are required to be open additional hours(see attached Class II minimum requirements), the courtroom configuration isrequired to be permanent (although the courtroom may be used by another entitywhen the court is not in session), court must be scheduled at least weekly, thejudge must be provided an appropriate office (chambers) for his own use,clerical space may not be shared, at least one full-time clerk must be provided(see attached Class II minimum requirements), and the courtroom, judge'schamber and clerk's office must be in the same building. Courts which have anaverage monthly filing of more than 500 cases are classified as Class I Courts.Class I Courts are considered to be full-time courts. In addition to the baserequirements, a Class I Court must have a full-time judge, at least threeclerks, it must be open during regular business hours, it must have a courtroomwhich is dedicated for the exclusive use as a court and which meets the masterplan guideline adopted by the Judicial Council, and the judge's chambers andclerk's office cannot be shared by another entity.
The State Legislature has provided that any Justice Court whichcontinues to meet the minimum requirements for its class is entitled to berecertified. However, the Judicial Council also has authority to waive anyminimum requirement which has not been specifically imposed by the Legislature(i.e. requirements 1 - 10 above, which have been adopted by the JudicialCouncil pursuant to Section 78A-7-103). Waiver is at the discretion of theJudicial Council and will be based upon a demonstrated need for a court toconduct judicial business and upon public convenience. Any waiver will be forthe entire term of the certification. A waiver must be obtained through theJudicial Council each time a court is recertified and, the fact that a waiverhas been previously granted, will not be determinative on the issue of waiverfor any successive application.
There is a great diversity in the needs of the Justice Courts. Theneeds of a particular Court are affected by the type of cases filed (somecourts have a high percentage of traffic matters, while others handlesignificant numbers of criminal and small claims matters), the location of theCourt, the number of law enforcement agencies served, the policies andprocedures followed by each judge with respect to the operation of the Court,and many other factors. Clerical resources and judicial time are particularlysensitive to local conditions. In order to adequately function it isanticipated that some courts will exceed minimum requirements for clericalresources and judicial time. Similarly, the particular circumstances of a courtmay allow it to operate efficiently with less than the minimum requirements inthe above areas; and in such circumstances waiver may be requested.
The statute also provides that the Judicial Council may grant anextension of time for any requirement which is not specifically required bystatute. An extension may be granted at the discretion of the Judicial Councilwhere individual circumstances temporarily prevent the entity from meeting aminimum requirement. An extension will be for a specific period of time and thecertification of the court will terminate at the end of the extension period.In order for the court to continue to operate beyond the extension period, thecourt must be certified as meeting all requirements, obtain an additionalextension, or obtain a waiver as provided above.
Applications for existing courts for recertification shall beaccompanied by a certificate of the judge, on a form approved by the JudicialCouncil, certifying that the operational standards for the court have been metduring the prior year. Any exceptions to compliance with the minimum requirementsor operational standards shall be noted on the above form. In addition,individual Justice Court Judges must meet with the governing body of the entitywhich created the court at least once a year to review the budget of the court,review compliance with the requirements and operational standards of the court,and discuss other items of common concern and shall certify that this meetinghas been held, and that the operational standards for the court have been metduring the prior year.
Upon submission of an application, the Justice Court StandardsCommittee will conduct an appropriate independent investigation and notify theentity of its initial recommendations, whether in favor or againstcertification. If the Committee intends to recommend against certification, itshall specify the minimum requirements which have not been met. The entity maythen present additional information to the Committee, request an extension, orrequest a waiver. After making an appropriate investigation based upon any additionalinformation or request made by the entity, the Committee will then submit itsrecommendations to the Judicial Council. The recommendations shall specifywhether or not a waiver or extension should be granted, if either has beenrequested. If the recommendation is against recertification, or against waiver,or against extension, the entity may request that it be allowed to make anappearance before the Judicial Council. Any request to appear before theJudicial Council must be filed within 15 days of notification of theCommittee's recommendations.
If you have any questions concerning this application, please contactRichard Schwermer, counsel to the Justice CourtStandards Committee, at P. O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-0241,telephone: (801)578-3816.