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Rule 3-104. Presiding judges.

Intent:

To establish the procedure for election, term ofoffice, role, responsibilities and authority of presiding judges and associatepresiding judges.

Applicability:

This rule shall apply to presiding judges andassociate presiding judges in the District and Juvenile Courts.

Statement of the Rule:

(1) Election and term of office.

(1)(A) Presiding judge. Thepresiding judge in multi-judge courts shall be elected by a majority vote ofthe judges of the court. The presiding judge's term of office shall be at leasttwo years. A district, by majority vote of the judges of the court, mayre-elect a judge to serve successive terms of office as presiding judge. In theevent that a majority vote cannot be obtained, the presiding judge shall beappointed by the presiding officer of the Council to serve for two years.

(1)(B) Associate presiding judge.

(1)(B)(i) In a court having more than twojudges, the judges may elect one judge of the court to the office of associatepresiding judge. An associate presiding judge shall be elected in the samemanner and serve the same term as the presiding judge in paragraph (1)(A).

(1)(B)(ii) When the presiding judge isunavailable, the associate presiding judge shall assume the responsibilities ofthe presiding judge. The associate presiding judge shall perform other dutiesassigned by the presiding judge or by the court.

(1)(C) Removal. A presiding judge orassociate presiding judge may be removed as the presiding judge or associatepresiding judge by a two-thirds vote of all judges in the district. A successorpresiding judge or associate presiding judge shall then be selected as providedin this rule.

(2) Court organization.

(2)(A) Court en banc.

(2)(A)(i) Multi-judge courts shall have regularcourt en banc meetings, including all judges of the court and the courtexecutive, to discuss and decide court business. The presiding judge has thediscretion to excuse the attendance of the court executive from court en bancmeetings called for the purpose of discussing the performance of the courtexecutive. In single-judge courts, the judge shall meet with the courtexecutive to discuss and decide court business.

(2)(A)(ii) The presiding judge shall call andpreside over court meetings. If neither the presiding judge nor associatepresiding judge, if any, is present, the presiding judge's designee shallpreside.

(2)(A)(iii) Each court shall have a minimum offour meetings each year.

(2)(A)(iv) An agenda shall be circulated amongthe judges in advance of the meeting with a known method on how matters may beplaced on the agenda.

(2)(A)(v) In addition to regular court en bancmeetings, the presiding judge or a majority of the judges may call additionalmeetings as necessary.

(2)(A)(vi) Minutes of each meeting shall betaken and preserved.

(2)(A)(vii) Other than judges and courtexecutives, those attending the meeting shall be by court invitation only.

(2)(A)(viii) The issues on which judges shouldvote shall be left to the sound discretion and judgment of each court and theapplicable sections of the Utah Constitution, statutes, and this Code.

(2)(B) Absence of presiding judge. When thepresiding judge and the associate presiding judge, if any, are absent from thecourt, an acting presiding judge shall be appointed. The method of designatingan acting presiding judge shall be at the discretion of the presiding judge.All parties that must necessarily be informed shall be notified of the judgeacting as presiding judge.

(3) Administrative responsibilities andauthority of presiding judge.

(3)(A)(i) Generally. The presiding judge ischarged with the responsibility for the effective operation of the court. He orshe is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of statutes, rules,policies and directives of the Council as they pertain to the administration ofthe courts, orders of the court en banc and supplementary rules. The presidingjudge has the authority to delegate the performance of non-judicial duties tothe court executive. When the presiding judge acts within the scope of theseresponsibilities, the presiding judge is acting within the judge?s judicialoffice.

(3)(A)(ii) Caseload. Unless the presiding judgedetermines it to be impractical, there is a presumption that the judicialcaseload of the presiding judge shall be adjusted to provide the presidingjudge sufficient time to devote to the management and administrative duties ofthe office. The extent of the caseload reduction shall be determined by eachdistrict.

(3)(A)(iii) Appeals. Any judge of the judicialdistrict may ask the Chief Justice or Judicial Council to review anyadministrative decision made by the presiding judge of that district.

(3)(B) Coordination of judicialschedules.

(3)(B)(i) The presiding judge shall be aware ofthe vacation and education schedules of judges and be responsible for anorderly plan of judicial absences from court duties.

(3)(B)(ii) Each judge shall give reasonableadvance notice of his or her absence to the presiding judge consistent withRule 3-103(4).

(3)(C) Authority to appoint seniorjudges.

(3)(C)(i) The presiding judge is authorized touse senior judge coverage for up to 14 judicial days if a judicial position isvacant or if a judge is absent due to illness, accident, or disability. Beforeassigning a senior judge, the presiding judge will consider the priorities forrequesting judicial assistance established in Rule 3-108. The presiding judgemay not assign a senior judge beyond the limits established in Rule 11-201(6).

(3)(C)(ii) The presiding judge will notify theState Court Administrator when a senior judge assignment has been made.

(3)(C)(iii) If more than 14 judicial days ofcoverage will be required, the presiding judge will promptly present to theState Court Administrator a plan for meeting the needs of the court for theanticipated duration of the vacancy or absence and a budget to implement thatplan. The plan should describe the calendars to be covered by judges of thedistrict, judges of other districts, and senior judges. The budget shouldestimate the funds needed for travel by judges and for time and travel bysenior judges.

(3)(C)(iv) If any part of the proposed plan iscontested by the State Court Administrator, the plan will be reviewed by theManagement Committee of the Judicial Council for final determination.

(3)(D) Court committees. Thepresiding judge shall, where appropriate, make use of court committees composedof other judges and court personnel to investigate problem areas, handle courtbusiness and report to the presiding judge and/or the court en banc.

(3)(E) Outside agencies and the media.

(3)(E)(i) The presiding judge or court executiveshall be available to meet with outside agencies, such as the prosecutingattorney, the city attorney, public defender, sheriff, police chief, barassociation leaders, probation and parole officers, county governmentalofficials, civic organizations and other state agencies. The presiding judgeshall be the primary representative of the court.

(3)(E)(ii) Generally, the presiding judge or, atthe discretion of the presiding judge, the court executive shall represent thecourt and make statements to the media on matters pertaining to the total courtand provide general information about the court and the law, and about courtprocedures, practices and rulings where ethics permit.

(3)(F) Docket management and case andjudge assignments.

(3)(F)(i) The presiding judge shall monitor thestatus of the dockets in the court and implement improved methods and systemsof managing dockets.

(3)(F)(ii) The presiding judge shall assigncases and judges in accordance with supplemental court rules to provide for anequitable distribution of the workload and the prompt disposition of cases.

(3)(F)(iii) Individual judges of the court shallconvey needs for assistance to the presiding judge. The presiding judge shall,through the State Court Administrator, request assistance of visiting judges orother appropriate resources when needed to handle the workload of the court.

(3)(F)(iv) The presiding judge shall discussproblems of delay with other judges and offer necessary assistance to expeditethe disposition of cases.

(3)(G) Court executives.

(3)(G)(i) The presiding judge shall review theproposed appointment of the court executive made by the State CourtAdministrator and must concur in the appointment before it  will beeffective. The presiding judge shall obtain the approval of a majority of thejudges in that jurisdiction prior to concurring in the appointment of a courtexecutive.

(3)(G)(ii) The presiding judge for therespective court level and the state level administrator shall jointly developan annual performance plan for the court executive.

(3)(G)(iii) Annually, the state leveladministrator shall consult with the presiding judge in the preparation of anevaluation of the court executive's performance for the previous year, alsotaking into account input from all judges in the district.

(3)(G)(iv) The presiding judge shall be aware ofthe day-to-day activities of the court executive, including coordination ofannual leave.

(3)(G)(v) Pursuant to Council policy and thedirection of the state level administrator, the court executive has theresponsibility for the day-to-day supervision of the non-judicial support staffand the non-judicial administration of the court. The presiding judge, inconsultation with the judges of the jurisdiction, shall coordinate with thecourt executive on matters concerning the support staff and the generaladministration of the court including budget, facility planning, long-rangeplanning, administrative projects, intergovernmental relations and otheradministrative responsibilities as determined by the presiding judge and thestate level administrator.

(3)(H) Courtrooms and facilities.The presiding judge shall direct the assignment of courtrooms and facilities.

(3)(I) Recordkeeping. Consistentlywith Council policies, the court executive, in consultation with the presidingjudge, shall:

(3)(I)(i) coordinate the compilation ofmanagement and statistical information necessary for the administration of thecourt;

(3)(I)(ii) establish policies and procedures andensure that court personnel are advised and aware of these policies;

(3)(I)(iii) approve proposals for automationwithin the court in compliance with administrative rules.

(3)(J) Budgets. The court executive,in consultation with the presiding judge, shall oversee the development of thebudget for the court. In contract sites, the court executive shall supervisethe preparation and management of the county budget for the court on an annualbasis and in accordance with the Utah Code.

(3)(K) Judicial officers. In theevent that another judge or commissioner of the court fails to comply with areasonable administrative directive of the presiding judge, interferes with theeffective operation of the court, abuses his or her judicial position, exhibitssigns of impairment or violates the Code of Judicial Conduct, the presidingjudge may:

(3)(K)(i) Meet with and explain to the judge orcommissioner the reasons for the directive given or the position taken andconsult with the judge or commissioner.

(3)(K)(ii) Discuss the position with otherjudges and reevaluate the position.

(3)(K)(iii) Present the problem to the court enbanc or a committee of judges for input.

(3)(K)(iv) Require the judge or commissioner toparticipate in appropriate counseling, therapy, education or treatment.

(3)(K)(v) Reassign the judge or commissioner toa different location within the district or to a different case assignment.

(3)(K)(vi) Refer the problem to the JudicialCouncil or to the Chief Justice.

(3)(K)(vii) In the event that the options listedabove in subsections (i) through (vi) do not resolve the problem and where therefusal or conduct is willful, continual, and the presiding judge believes theconduct constitutes a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the presidingjudge shall refer the problem to the Council or the Judicial ConductCommission.

(3)(L) Cases under advisement.

(3)(L)(i) A case is considered to be underadvisement when the entire case or any issue in the case has been submitted tothe judge for final determination. For purposes of this rule, ?submitted to thejudge? is defined as follows:

(3)(L)(i)(a) When a matter requiring attention is placed by staffin the judge?s personal electronic queue, inbox, personal possession, orequivalent;

(3)(L)(i)(b) If a hearing or oral argument is set, at the conclusionof all hearings or oral argument held on the specific motion or matter; or

(3)(L)(i)(c) If further briefing is required after a hearing ororal argument, when all permitted briefing is completed, a request to submit isfiled, if required, and the matter is placed by staff in the judge's personalelectronic queue, inbox, personal possession, or equivalent.

A case is no longer under advisement when the judge makes adecision on the issue that is under advisement or on the entire case.

The final determination occurs when the judgeresolves the pending issue by announcing the decision on the record or byissuing a written decision, regardless of whether the parties are required tosubsequently submit for the judge?s signature a final order memorializing the decision.

(3)(L)(ii) Once a month each judge shall submita statement on a form to be provided by the State CourtAdministrator  notifying the presiding judge of any cases or issuesheld under advisement for more than two months and the reason why the case orissue continues to be held under advisement.

(3)(L)(iii) Once a month, the presiding judgeshall submit a list of the cases or issues held under advisement for more thantwo months to the appropriate state level administrator and indicate thereasons why the case or issue continues to be held under advisement.

(3)(L)(iv) If a case or issue is held underadvisement for an additional 30 days, the state level administrator shallreport that fact to the Council.

(3)(M) Board of judges. Thepresiding judge shall serve as a liaison between the court and the Board forthe respective court level.

(3)(N) Supervision and evaluation ofcourt commissioners. The presiding judge is responsible for the developmentof a performance plan for the Court Commissioner serving in that court andshall prepare an evaluation of the Commissioner's performance on an annualbasis. A copy of the performance plan and evaluation shall be maintained in theofficial personnel file in the Administrative Office.

(3)(O) Magistrate availability. Thepresiding judge in a district court shall consult with the justice courtadministrator to develop a rotation of magistrates that ensures regularavailability of magistrates within the district. The rotation shall take intoaccount each magistrate?s caseload, location, and willingness to serve.

 

Effective November 1,2020