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Rule 3-104.  Presiding Judges.


To establishthe procedure for election, term of office, role, responsibilities andauthority of presiding judges and associate presiding judges.


This ruleshall apply to presiding judges and associate presiding judges in the Districtand Juvenile Courts.

Statement of the Rule:

(1)       Election and term of office.

(1)(A)       Presiding judge. The presiding judge inmulti-judge courts shall be elected by a majority vote of the judges of thecourt. The presiding judge's term of office shall be at least two years. Adistrict, by majority vote of the judges of the court, may re-elect a judge toserve successive terms of office as presiding judge. In the event that amajority vote cannot be obtained, the presiding judge shall be appointed by thepresiding officer of the Council to serve for two years.

(1)(B)       Associate presiding judge.

(1)(B)(i)       In a court having more than two judges, thejudges may elect one judge of the court to the office of associate presidingjudge. An associate presiding judge shall be elected in the same manner andserve the same term as the presiding judge in paragraph (1)(A).

(1)(B)(ii)       Whenthe presiding judge is unavailable, the associate presiding judge shall assumethe responsibilities of the presiding judge. The associate presiding judgeshall perform other duties assigned by the presiding judge or by the court.

(1)(C)       Removal. A presiding judge or associatepresiding judge may be removed as the presiding judge or associate presidingjudge by a two-thirds vote of all judges in the district. A successor presidingjudge or associate presiding judge shall then be selected as provided in thisrule.

(2)       Court organization.

(2)(A)       Court en banc.

(2)(A)(i)       Multi-judge courts shall have regular court en banc meetings, including all judges of the court and thecourt executive, to discuss and decide court business. The presiding judge hasthe discretion to excuse the attendance of the court executive from court en banc meetings called for the purpose of discussing theperformance of the court executive. In single-judge courts, the judge shallmeet with the court executive to discuss and decide court business.

(2)(A)(ii)       Thepresiding judge shall call and preside over court meetings. If neither thepresiding judge nor associate presiding judge, if any, is present, the presidingjudge's designee shall preside.

(2)(A)(iii)      Eachcourt shall have a minimum of four meetings each year.

(2)(A)(iv)      Anagenda shall be circulated among the judges in advance of the meeting with aknown method on how matters may be placed on the agenda.

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

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

(2)(A)(vii)    Otherthan judges and court executives, those attending the meeting shall be by courtinvitation only.

(2)(A)(viii)   Theissues on which judges should vote shall be left to the sound discretion andjudgment of each court and the applicable sections of the Utah Constitution,statutes, and this Code.

(2)(B)       Absence of presiding judge. When the presidingjudge and the associate presiding judge, if any, are absent from the court, anacting presiding 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)       Administrative responsibilities andauthority of presiding judge.

(3)(A)       Generally.

(3)(A)(i)       The presiding judge is charged with theresponsibility for the effective operation of the court. He or she is responsiblefor the implementation and enforcement of statutes, rules, policies anddirectives of the Council as they pertain to the administration of the courts,orders of the court en banc, and supplementary rules.The presiding judge has the authority to delegate the performance ofnon-judicial duties to the court executive. When the presiding judge actswithin the scope of these responsibilities, the presiding judge is actingwithin the judge’s judicial office.

(3)(A)(ii)       Caseload.Unless the presiding judge determines it to be impractical, there is apresumption that the judicial caseload of the presiding judge shall be adjustedto provide the presiding judge sufficient time to devote to the management andadministrative duties of the office. The extent of the caseload reduction shallbe determined by each district.

(3)(A)(iii)      Appeals.Any judge of the judicial district may ask the Chief Justice or JudicialCouncil to review any administrative decision made by the presiding judge ofthat district.

(3)(B)       Coordination of judicial schedules.

(3)(B)(i)       The presiding judge shall be aware of thevacation and education schedules of judges and be responsible for an orderlyplan of judicial absences from court duties.

(3)(B)(ii)       Eachjudge shall give reasonable advance notice of his or her absence to the presidingjudge consistent with Rule 3-103(4).

(3)(C)       Authority to appoint senior judges.

(3)(C)(i)       The presiding judge is authorized to use seniorjudge coverage for up to 14 judicial days if a judicial position is vacant orif a judge is absent due to illness, accident, or disability. Before assigninga senior judge, the presiding judge will consider the priorities for requestingjudicial assistance established in Rule 3-108. The presiding judge may notassign a senior judge beyond the limits established in Rule 11-201(6).

(3)(C)(ii)       Thepresiding judge will notify the State Court Administrator when a senior judgeassignment has been made.

(3)(C)(iii)      Ifmore than 14 judicial days of coverage will be required, the presiding judgewill promptly present to the State Court Administrator a plan for meeting theneeds of the court for the anticipated duration of the vacancy or absence and abudget to implement that plan. The plan should describe the calendars to becovered by judges of the district, judges of other districts, and seniorjudges. The budget should estimate the funds needed for travel by judges andfor time and travel by senior judges.

(3)(C)(iv)     Ifany part of the proposed plan is contested by the State Court Administrator,the plan will be reviewed by the Management Committee of the Judicial Councilfor final determination.

(3)(D)       Court committees. The presiding judgeshall, where appropriate, make use of court committees composed of other judgesand court personnel to investigate problem areas, handle court business andreport to the presiding judge and/or the court enbanc.

(3)(E)       Outside agencies and the 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 of the presiding judge, the courtexecutive shall represent the court and make statements to the media on matterspertaining to the court and provide general information about the court and thelaw, and about court procedures, practices and rulings where ethics permit.

(3)(F)       Docket management and case and judgeassignments.

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

(3)(F)(ii)       Thepresiding judge shall assign cases and judges in accordance with supplementalcourt rules to provide for an equitable distribution of the workload and theprompt disposition of cases.

(3)(F)(iii)      Individualjudges of the court shall convey needs for assistance to the presiding judge.The presiding judge shall, through the State Court Administrator, requestassistance of visiting judges or other appropriate resources when needed tohandle the workload of the court.

(3)(F)(iv)      Thepresiding judge shall discuss problems of delay with other judges and offernecessary assistance to expedite the disposition of cases.

(3)(G)       Courtexecutives.

(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. The presiding judge shall obtain the approval of amajority of the judges in that jurisdiction prior to concurring in theappointment of a court executive.

(3)(G)(ii)       Thepresiding judge for the respective court level and the state leveladministrator shall jointly develop an annual performance plan for the courtexecutive.

(3)(G)(iii)     Annually,the state level administrator shall consult with the presiding judge in thepreparation of an evaluation of the court executive's performance for theprevious year, also taking into account input from all judges in the district.

(3)(G)(iv)     Thepresiding judge shall be aware of the day-to-day activities of the courtexecutive, including coordination of annual leave.

(3)(G)(v)      Pursuantto Council policy and the direction of the state level administrator, the courtexecutive has the responsibility for the day-to-day supervision of thenon-judicial support staff and the non-judicial administration of the court.The presiding judge, in consultation with the judges of the jurisdiction, shallcoordinate with the court executive on matters concerning the support staff andthe general administration of the court including budget, facility planning,long-range planning, administrative projects, intergovernmental relations andother administrative responsibilities as determined by the presiding judge andthe state level administrator.

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

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

(3)(I)(i)         coordinate the compilation of management andstatistical information necessary for the administration of the court;

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

(3)(I)(iii)       approve proposals for automation within thecourt in compliance with administrative rules.

(3)(J)        Budgets. The court executive, inconsultation 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 the event that anotherjudge or commissioner of the court fails to comply with a reasonableadministrative directive of the presiding judge, interferes with the effectiveoperation of the court, abuses his or her judicial position, exhibits signs ofimpairment or violates the Code of Judicial Conduct, the presiding judge 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)       Discussthe position with other judges and reevaluate the position.

(3)(K)(iii)      Presentthe problem to the court en banc or a committee ofjudges for input.

(3)(K)(iv)      Requirethe judge or commissioner to participate in appropriate counseling, therapy,education or treatment.

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

(3)(K)(vi)      Referthe problem to the Judicial Council or to the Chief Justice.

(3)(K)(vii)    Inthe event that the options listed above in subsections (i)through (vi) do not resolve the problem and where the refusal or conduct iswillful, continual, and the presiding judge believes the conduct constitutes aviolation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the presiding judge shall refer theproblem to the Council or the Judicial Conduct Commission.

(3)(L)       Cases under advisement.

(3)(L)(i)        A case is considered to be under advisement whenthe entire case or any issue in the case has been submitted to the judge forfinal determination. 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 statementon a form 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)       Oncea month, the presiding judge shall submit a list of the cases or issues heldunder advisement for more than two months to the appropriate state leveladministrator and indicate the reasons why the case or issue continues to beheld under advisement.

(3)(L)(iv)      Ifa case or issue is held under advisement for an additional 30 days, the statelevel administrator shall report that fact to the Council.

(3)(M)       Boardof judges. The presiding judge shall serve as a liaison between the courtand the Board for the respective court level.

(3)(N)       Supervision and evaluation of court commissioners.The presiding judge is responsible for the development of a performance planfor the Court Commissioner serving in that court and shall prepare anevaluation of the Commissioner's performance on an annual basis. A copy of theperformance plan and evaluation shall be maintained in the official personnelfile in the Administrative Office.

(3)(O)       Magistrateavailability. The presiding judge in a district court shall consult with thepresiding judge in the justice court of that judicial district and the justicecourt administrator 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 May 1, 2019