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AppendixB. Justice Court Standards For Recertification

 

Instructionsto applicant for recertification

As part of the application process,each entity should carefully review all requirements for the operation ofJustice Courts. In order to aid governing bodies in obtaining the necessaryinformation regarding the continuing obligations of an entity with respect tothe operations of the Court, the governing body of each entity must request awritten opinion from its attorney advising the entity of all requirements forthe operation of a Justice Court, and the feasibility of maintaining a JusticeCourt. In addition, prior to submission of this application, each entity mustduly pass a resolution requesting recertification. The resolution must alsoaffirm that the entity is willing to meet all requirements for the operation ofthe Court during the period of certification. A copy of the attorney's opinionand the resolution must accompany the application.

 

A representative of the entity mayappear before the Committee to present the application and may present anyadditional information which the applicant desires to present to the Committee.In the event that additional information is deemed necessary, the Committee mayrequest such additional information from the applicant. Certification willcertify the court to process all cases which come within the jurisdiction ofthe court including criminal, civil and small claims cases pursuant to Section78A-7-106.

 

(1)Statutory Requirements.Statutes of the State of Utah require that certain standards be met in theoperation of a Justice Court. These statutory requirements include:

 

(1)(A)All official court business shall be conducted in a courtroom or an officelocated in a public facility which is conducive and appropriate to theadministration of justice (Section 78A-7-213).

 

(1)(B)Each court shall be opened and judicial business shall be transacted every dayas provided by law (Section 78A-7-213), although the judge is not required tobe present during all hours that the court is open.

 

(1)(C)The hours that the court will be open shall be posted conspicuously at thecourt and in local public buildings (Section 78A-7-213).

 

(1)(D)The judge and the clerk of the court shall attend the court at regularlyscheduled times (Section 78A-7-213).

 

(1)(E)The entity creating the Justice Court shall provide and compensate a judge andclerical personnel to conduct the business of the court (Section 78A-7-206 andSection 78A-7-211).

 

(1)(F)The entity creating a Justice Court shall assume the expenses of travel, meals,and lodging for the judge of that court to attend required judicial educationand training (Section 78A-7-205).

 

(1)(G)The entity creating a Justice Court shall assume the cost of travel andtraining expenses of clerical personnel at training sessions conducted by theJudicial Council (Section 78A-7-211).

 

(1)(H)The entity creating the Justice Court shall provide a sufficient staff ofpublic prosecutors to attend the court and perform the duties of prosecution(Section 78A-7-209).

 

(1)(I) The entity creating the courtshall provide adequate funding for attorneys where persons are indigent asprovided by law (Section 78A-7-209).

 

(1)(J)The entity creating the court shall provide sufficient local law enforcementofficers to attend court when required and provide security for the court(Section 78A-7-209).

 

(1)(11)Witnesses and jury fees as required by law shall be paid by the entity whichcreates the Court.

 

(1)(K) Any fine, surcharge, or assessment which is payable tothe State shall be forwarded to the State as required by law (Section 78A-7-121 and Section 78A-7-119).

 

(1)(L)Every entity creating a court shall pay the judge of that court a fixedcompensation (Section 78A-7-206).

 

(1)(M)Court shall be held within the jurisdiction of the court, except as provided bylaw (Section 78A-7-212).

 

(1)(N) The entity creating the court shall provide and keepcurrent for the court a copy of the Motor Vehicle Laws of the State of Utah,appropriate copies of the Utah Code, the Justice Court Manual, state lawsaffecting local governments, local ordinances, and other necessary legalreference material ( Section 78A-7-214).

 

(1)(O)All required reports and audits shall be filed as required by law or by rule ofthe Judicial Council pursuant to Section 78A-7-215.

 

(1)(P)An audio recording system shall maintain the verbatim record of all courtproceedings. Section 78A-7-103.

 

(1)(P)(i) For Class I and Class II justice courts, the systemmust:

(1)(P)(i)(a) be a stand-alone unit thatrecords and audibly plays back the recording;

 

(1)(P)(i)(b) index, back-up and archive therecording and enable the record to be retrieved.

 

(1)(P)(i)(c) have at least four recordingchannels;

 

(1)(P)(i)(d) have a one-step "on"and "off" recording function;

 

(1)(P)(i)(e) have conference monitoring ofrecorded audio;

 

(1)(P)(i)(f) have external record archivingfrom the unit with local access;

 

(1)(P)(i)(g) be capable of being integratedwith the courts public address system; and

 

(1)(P)(ii)For Class III and Class IV justice courts, the system must, at a minimum:

 

(1)(P)(ii)(a)be a stand-alone unit that records and audibly playsback the recording;

 

(1)(P)(ii)(b)index, back-up and archive the recording and enablethe record to be retrieved; and

 

(1)(P)(ii)(c)have at least two recording channels.

 

(1)(P)(iii)The Board of Justice Court Judges may create a list of products that meet thesecriteria.

 

(2)Judicial Council Minimum Requirements.In addition to those requirements which are directly imposed by statute,Section 78A-7-103 directs the Judicial Council to promulgate minimum requirementsfor the creation and certification of Justice Courts. Pursuant to statute, theJudicial Council has adopted the following minimum requirements:

 

(2)(A)That the Court be opened for at least one hour each day that the court isrequired to be open as provided by law (Section 78A-7-213).

 

(2)(B)That the judge be available to attend court and conduct court business asneeded.

 

(2)(C)That the minimum furnishings for a courtroom include: a desk and chair for thejudge (on a six inch riser), a desk and chair for the court clerk, chairs forwitnesses, separate tables and appropriate chairs for plaintiffs anddefendants, a Utah State flag, a United States flag, a separate area and chairsfor at least four jurors, a separate area with appropriate seating for thepublic, an appropriate room for jury deliberations, and an appropriate area orroom for victims and witnesses which is separate from the public. (A suggestedcourtroom configuration is attached).

 

(2)(D)A judicial robe, a gavel, current fine schedules, a copy of the Code ofJudicial Administration, and necessary forms and supplies.

 

(2)(E)Office space for the judge and clerk (under certain circumstances this spacemay be shared, but if shared, the judge and clerk must have priority to use thespace whenever needed). The office space shall include a desk for the judge anda desk for the clerk, secure filing cabinets for the judge and the clerk, atelephone for the judge and a telephone for the clerk, appropriate officesupplies to conduct court business, a cash register or secured cash box, atypewriter or word processor, and access to a copy machine.

 

(2)(F)A clerk must be present during the time the court is open each day and duringcourt sessions, as required by the judge.

 

(2)(G)The entity must have at least one peace officer (which may be contracted).

 

(2)(H)A court security plan must be submitted consistent with C.J.A. Rule 3-414.

 

(2)(I)Each court must have at least one computer with access to the internet, andappropriate software and security/encryption technology to allow for electronicreporting and access to Driver License Division and the Bureau of CriminalIdentification, as defined by the reporting and retrieval standards promulgatedby the Department of Public Safety.

 

(2)(J)Each court shall report required case disposition information to DLD, BCI andthe Administrative Office of the Courts electronically, as described in number9 above.

 

(3)Classification of Courts Based on Case Filings. In establishing minimum requirements,the Judicial Council has determined that Justice Courts with higher casefilings require greater support services. To accommodate the great differencesin judicial activity between Justice Courts within the state, the Council hasdivided courts into four classes based upon the average monthly cases filed inthat court. Minimum standards have been set for each classification.

 

(3)(A)Class IV Courts. Courts which havean average of less than 61 cases filed each month are classified as Class IVCourts. The minimum requirements for a Class IV Court are stated above. (Theserequirements are also attached as Class IV minimum requirements). Theserequirements include both the statutory requirements and requirementspromulgated by the Judicial Council, and are sometimes hereinafter referred toas "base requirements."

 

(3)(B)Class III Courts. Courts which have anaverage of more than 60 but less than 201 cases filed each month are classifiedas Class III Courts. In addition to the base requirements, a Class III Courtmust be open more hours each week (see attached Class III minimumrequirements), and court must be scheduled at least every other week.

 

(3)(C)Class II Courts. Courts which havean average of more than 200 but less than 501 cases filed each month areclassified as Class II Courts. In addition to the base requirements, Class IICourts are required to be open additional hours (see attached Class II minimumrequirements), the courtroom configuration is required to be permanent(although the courtroom may be used by another entity when the court is not insession), court must be scheduled at least weekly, the judge must be providedan appropriate office (chambers) for his own use, clerical space may not beshared, at least one full-time clerk must be provided (see attached Class IIminimum requirements), and the courtroom, judge's chamber and clerk's officemust be in the same building.

 

(3)(D)Class III Courts. Courts which havean average monthly filing of more than 500 cases are classified as Class ICourts. Class I Courts are considered to be full-time courts. In addition tothe base requirements, a Class I Court must have a full-time judge, at leastthree clerks, it must be open during regular business hours, it must have acourtroom which is dedicated for the exclusive use as a court and which meetsthe master plan guideline adopted by the Judicial Council, and the judge'schambers and clerk's office cannot be shared by another entity.

 

(4)Waivers. The StateLegislature has provided that any Justice Court which continues to meet theminimum requirements for its class is entitled to be recertified. However, theJudicial Council also has authority to waive any minimum requirement which hasnot been specifically imposed by the Legislature (i.e. requirements 1 - 10above, which have been adopted by the Judicial Council pursuant to Section78A-7-103). Waiver is at the discretion of the Judicial Council and will be basedupon a demonstrated need for a court to conduct judicial business and uponpublic convenience. Any waiver will be for the entire term of thecertification. A waiver must be obtained through the Judicial Council each timea court is recertified and, the fact that a waiver has been previously granted,will not be determinative on the issue of waiver for any successiveapplication.

 

There is a great diversity in theneeds of the Justice Courts. The needs of a particular Court are affected bythe type of cases filed (some courts have a high percentage of traffic matters,while others handle significant numbers of criminal and small claims matters),the location of the Court, the number of law enforcement agencies served, thepolicies and procedures followed by each judge with respect to the operation ofthe Court, and many other factors. Clerical resources and judicial time areparticularly sensitive to local conditions. In order to adequately function itis anticipated 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.

 

(5)Extensions. Thestatute also provides that the Judicial Council may grant an extension of timefor any requirement which is not specifically required by statute. An extensionmay be granted at the discretion of the Judicial Council where individual circumstancestemporarily prevent the entity from meeting a minimum requirement. An extensionwill be for a specific period of time and the certification of the court willterminate at the end of the extension period. In order for the court tocontinue to operate beyond the extension period, the court must be certified asmeeting all requirements, obtain an additional extension, or obtain a waiver asprovided above.

 

(6)Judge Certificate. Applicationsfor existing courts for recertification shall be accompanied by a certificateof the judge, on a form approved by the Judicial Council, certifying that theoperational standards for the court have been met during the prior year. Anyexceptions to compliance with the minimum requirements or operational standardsshall be noted on the above form. In addition, individual Justice Court Judgesmust meet with the governing body of the entity which created the court atleast once a year to review the budget of the court, review compliance with therequirements and operational standards of the court, and discuss other items ofcommon concern and shall certify that this meeting has been held, and that theoperational standards for the court have been met during the prior year.

 

(7) Justice Court Standards Committee. Upon submission of an application,the Justice Court Standards Committee will conduct an appropriate independentinvestigation and notify the entity of its initial recommendations, whether infavor or against certification. If the Committee intends to recommend againstcertification, it shall specify the minimum requirements which have not beenmet. The entity may then present additional information to the Committee,request an extension, or request a waiver. After making an appropriateinvestigation based upon any additional information or request made by theentity, the Committee will then submit its recommendations to the JudicialCouncil. The recommendations shall specify whether or not a waiver or extensionshould be granted, if either has been requested. If the recommendation isagainst recertification, or against waiver, or against extension, the entitymay request that it be allowed to make an appearance before the JudicialCouncil. Any request to appear before the Judicial Council must be filed within15 days of notification of the Committee's recommendations.

 

If you have any questions concerningthis application, please contact James Peters, counsel to the Justice CourtStandards Committee, at P. O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-0241,telephone: (801)578-3824.

 

EffectiveMay 12, 2020