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Rule 3-104. Presiding judges.


To establish the procedure for election, term of office, role,responsibilities and authority of presiding judges and associate presidingjudges.


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

Statement of the Rule:

(1) Election and term ofoffice.

(1)(A) Presiding judge.The presiding judge in multi-judge courts shall be elected by a majority voteof the judges of the court. The presiding judge's term of office shall be atleast two 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 presidingjudge.

(1)(B)(i) In a court having more than two judges, the judges mayelect one judge of the court to the office of associate presiding judge. Anassociate presiding judge shall be elected in the same manner and serve thesame term as the presiding judge in paragraph (1)(A).

(1)(B)(ii) When the presiding judge is unavailable, the associatepresiding judge shall assume the responsibilities of the presiding judge. Theassociate presiding judge shall perform other duties assigned by the presidingjudge or by the court.

(1)(C) Removal. Apresiding judge or associate presiding judge may be removed as the presidingjudge or associate presiding judge by a two-thirds vote of all judges in thedistrict. A successor presiding judge or associate presiding judge shall thenbe selected as provided in this rule.

(2) Court organization.

(2)(A) Court en banc.

(2)(A)(i) Multi-judge courts shall have regular court en bancmeetings, including all judges of the court and the court executive, to discussand decide court business. The presiding judge has the discretion to excuse theattendance of the court executive from court en banc meetings called for thepurpose of discussing the performance of the court executive. In single-judgecourts, the judge shall meet with the court executive to discuss and decidecourt business.

(2)(A)(ii) The presiding judge shall call and preside over courtmeetings. If neither the presiding judge nor associate presiding judge, if any,is present, the presiding judge's designee shall preside.

(2)(A)(iii) Each court shall have a minimum of four meetings eachyear.

(2)(A)(iv) An agenda shall be circulated among the judges inadvance of the meeting with a known method on how matters may be placed on theagenda.

(2)(A)(v) In addition to regular court en banc meetings, thepresiding judge or a majority of the judges may call additional meetings asnecessary.

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

(2)(A)(vii) Other than judges and court executives, thoseattending the meeting shall be by court invitation only.

(2)(A)(viii) The issues on which judges should vote shall be leftto the sound discretion and judgment of each court and the applicable sectionsof the Utah Constitution, statutes, and this Code.

(2)(B) Absence of presiding judge. When the presiding judge andthe associate presiding judge, if any, are absent from the court, an actingpresiding judge shall be appointed. The method of designating an actingpresiding judge shall be at the discretion of the presiding judge. All partiesthat must necessarily be informed shall be notified of the judge acting aspresiding judge.

(3) Administrativeresponsibilities and authority of presiding judge.

(3)(A)(i) Generally. The presiding judge is charged with theresponsibility for the effective operation of the court. He or she isresponsible for the implementation and enforcement of statutes, rules, policiesand directives of the Council as they pertain to the administration of thecourts, 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 judge determines it tobe impractical, there is a presumption that the judicial caseload of the presidingjudge shall be adjusted to provide the presiding judge sufficient time todevote to the management and administrative duties of the office. The extent ofthe caseload reduction shall be determined by each district.

(3)(A)(iii) Appeals. Any judge of the judicial district may askthe Chief Justice or Judicial Council to review any administrative decisionmade by the presiding judge of that district.

(3)(B) Coordination ofjudicial schedules.

(3)(B)(i) The presiding judge shall be aware of the vacation andeducation schedules of judges and be responsible for an orderly plan ofjudicial absences from court duties.

(3)(B)(ii) Each judge shall give reasonable advance notice of hisor her absence to the presiding judge consistent with Rule 3-103(4).

(3)(C) Authority to appointsenior judges.

(3)(C)(i) The presiding judge is authorized to use senior judgecoverage for up to 14 judicial days if a judicial position is vacant or if ajudge is absent due to illness, accident, or disability. Before assigning a seniorjudge, the presiding judge will consider the priorities for requesting judicialassistance established in Rule 3-108. The presiding judge may not assign asenior judge beyond the limits established in Rule 11-201(6).

(3)(C)(ii) The presiding judge will notify the State CourtAdministrator when a senior judge assignment has been made.

(3)(C)(iii) If more than 14 judicial days of coverage will berequired, the presiding judge will promptly present to the State CourtAdministrator a plan for meeting the needs of the court for the anticipatedduration of the vacancy or absence and a budget to implement that plan. Theplan should describe the calendars to be covered by judges of the district,judges of other districts, and senior judges. The budget should estimate thefunds needed for travel by judges and for time and travel by senior judges.

(3)(C)(iv) If any part of the proposed plan is contested by theState Court Administrator, the plan will be reviewed by the ManagementCommittee of the Judicial Council for final determination.

(3)(D) Court committees.The presiding judge shall, where appropriate, make use of court committeescomposed of other judges and court personnel to investigate problem areas,handle court business and report to the presiding judge and/or the court enbanc.

(3)(E) Outside agencies andthe media.

(3)(E)(i) The presiding judge or court executive shall beavailable to meet with outside agencies, such as the prosecuting attorney, thecity attorney, public defender, sheriff, police chief, bar association leaders,probation and parole officers, county governmental officials, civicorganizations and other state agencies. The presiding judge shall be theprimary representative of the court.

(3)(E)(ii) Generally, the presiding judge or, at the discretion ofthe presiding judge, the court executive shall represent the court and makestatements to the media on matters pertaining to the total court and providegeneral information about the court and the law, and about court procedures,practices and rulings where ethics permit.

(3)(F) Docket managementand case and judge assignments.

(3)(F)(i) The presiding judge shall monitor the status of thedockets in the court and implement improved methods and systems of managingdockets.

(3)(F)(ii) The presiding judge shall assign cases and judges inaccordance with supplemental court rules to provide for an equitabledistribution of the workload and the prompt disposition of cases.

(3)(F)(iii) Individual judges of the court shall convey needs forassistance to the presiding judge. The presiding judge shall, through the StateCourt Administrator, request assistance of visiting judges or other appropriateresources when needed to handle the workload of the court.

(3)(F)(iv) The presiding judge shall discuss problems of delaywith other judges and offer necessary assistance to expedite the disposition ofcases.

(3)(G) Court executives.

(3)(G)(i) The presiding judge shall review the proposedappointment of the court executive made by the State Court Administrator andmust concur in the appointment before it  will be effective. Thepresiding judge shall obtain the approval of a majority of the judges in thatjurisdiction prior to concurring in the appointment of a court executive.

(3)(G)(ii) The presiding judge for the respective court level andthe state level administrator shall jointly develop an annual performance planfor the court executive.

(3)(G)(iii) Annually, the state level administrator shall consultwith the presiding judge in the preparation of an evaluation of the courtexecutive's performance for the previous year, also taking into account inputfrom all judges in the district.

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

(3)(G)(v) Pursuant to Council policy and the direction of thestate level administrator, the court executive has the responsibility for theday-to-day supervision of the non-judicial support staff and the non-judicialadministration of the court. The presiding judge, in consultation with thejudges of the jurisdiction, shall coordinate with the court executive onmatters concerning the support staff and the general administration of thecourt including budget, facility planning, long-range planning, administrativeprojects, intergovernmental relations and other administrative responsibilitiesas determined by the presiding judge and the state level administrator.

(3)(H) Courtrooms andfacilities. The presiding judge shall direct the assignment of courtroomsand facilities.

(3)(I) Recordkeeping.Consistently with Council policies, the court executive, in consultation withthe presiding judge, shall:

(3)(I)(i) coordinate the compilation of management and statisticalinformation necessary for the administration of the court;

(3)(I)(ii) establish policies and procedures and ensure that courtpersonnel are advised and aware of these policies;

(3)(I)(iii) approve proposals for automation within the court incompliance with administrative rules.

(3)(J) Budgets. Thecourt executive, in consultation with the presiding judge, shall oversee thedevelopment of the budget for the court. In contract sites, the court executiveshall supervise the preparation and management of the county budget for thecourt on an annual basis and in accordance with the Utah Code.

(3)(K) Judicial officers.In the event that another judge or commissioner of the court fails to complywith a reasonable administrative directive of the presiding judge, interfereswith the effective operation of the court, abuses his or her judicial position,exhibits signs of impairment or violates the Code of Judicial Conduct, thepresiding judge may:

(3)(K)(i) Meet with and explain to the judge or commissioner thereasons for the directive given or the position taken and consult with thejudge or commissioner.

(3)(K)(ii) Discuss the position with other judges and reevaluatethe position.

(3)(K)(iii) Present the problem to the court en banc or acommittee of judges for input.

(3)(K)(iv) Require the judge or commissioner to participate inappropriate counseling, therapy, education or treatment.

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

(3)(K)(vi) Refer the problem to the Judicial Council or to theChief Justice.

(3)(K)(vii) In the event that the options listed above insubsections (i) through (vi) do not resolve the problem and where the refusalor conduct is willful, continual, and the presiding judge believes the conductconstitutes a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the presiding judgeshall refer the problem to the Council or the Judicial Conduct Commission.

(3)(L) Cases underadvisement.

(3)(L)(i) A case is considered to be under advisement when theentire case or any issue in the case has been submitted to the judge for finaldetermination. The final determination occurs when the judge resolves thepending issue by announcing the decision on the record or by issuing a writtendecision, regardless of whether the parties are required to subsequently submitfor the judge?s signature a final order memorializing the decision.

(3)(L)(ii) Once a month each judge shall submit a statement on aform to be provided by the State Court Administrator  notifying thepresiding judge of any cases or issues held under advisement for more than twomonths and the reason why the case or issue continues to be held underadvisement.

(3)(L)(iii) Once a month, the presiding judge shall submit a listof the cases or issues held under advisement for more than two months to theappropriate state level administrator and indicate the reasons why the case orissue continues to be held under advisement.

(3)(L)(iv) If a case or issue is held under advisement for anadditional 30 days, the state level administrator shall report that fact to theCouncil.

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

(3)(N) Supervision andevaluation of court commissioners. The presiding judge is responsible forthe development of a performance plan for the Court Commissioner serving inthat court and shall prepare an evaluation of the Commissioner's performance onan annual basis. A copy of the performance plan and evaluation shall bemaintained in the official personnel file in the Administrative Office.

(3)(O) Magistrateavailability. The presiding judge in a district court shall consult withthe justice court administrator to develop a rotation of magistrates thatensures regular availability of magistrates within the district. The rotationshall take into account each magistrate?s caseload, location, and willingnessto serve.


Effective May 1, 2018.