LOGAN JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

Logan, UT—Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in Logan, Utah. The position will replace Judge David Marx who will retire effective May 1, 2019.

To be considered for a Justice Court judgeship in Cache County, candidates must be at least 25 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a Utah resident for at least three years, and have earned a high school diploma or GED. In addition, candidates must be a resident of Cache County or an adjacent county for at least six months immediately preceding appointment.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Court’s website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the court’s website (www.utcourts.gov/admin/jobs). The annual salary for the position is $85,650 to $107,060 with benefits including a URS contribution. For additional information, contact Greg Cox at 435-716-9046 or by email at greg.cox@loganutah.org.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 11, 2019 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Amy Hernandez, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241. For an application or information, email amymh@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to Logan Mayor Holly Daines within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Daines then has 30 days in which to make a selection. The selection must then be certified by the Utah Judicial Council.

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NOMINEES ANNOUNCED FOR PLEASANT GROVE JUSTICE COURT VACANCY

Pleasant Grove, UT—The Utah County Nominating Commission has selected three nominees for an upcoming vacancy in the Pleasant Grove Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Brent Bullock who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019.

Following are the nominees followed by place of employment and residence:

• Honorable Randy B. Birch, J.D., Heber City Justice Court Judge, resident of Heber City
• John H. Jacobs, J.D., Attorney at Law, resident of Alpine City
• Honorable Brook J. Sessions, J.D., Wasatch County Justice Court Judge, resident of Heber City

A comment period will be held through Feb. 24, 2019. A final candidate will then be selected by the Mayor of Pleasant Grove, Guy Fugal, who has 30 days to make an appointment. The appointment is subject to ratification by the Pleasant Grove City Council. The Utah Judicial Council must then certify the appointment. To submit written comments about the candidates, please contact Amy Hernandez at amymh@utcourts.gov.

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Judge Kevin Allen to Retire from First District Bench

Logan, UT—Judge Kevin K. Allen has announced that he will be retiring from the bench after serving over 11 distinguished years. Judge Allen submitted his notice this week to Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant and Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert.
“We deeply appreciate Judge Allen’s eleven years of dedicated service. Not only has he been an excellent judge, but he has made important contributions to the administration of the judicial system,” Chief Justice Durrant said.
Judge Allen was appointed to the First District bench in 2008 by then Governor Jon M. Huntsman. He is a native of Cache County, and received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. He received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma. While in law school, Judge Allen was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy and after graduation, served in the JAG Corp where he eventually became the lead prosecutor for the Northeast Command and the Tax Officer for the European and Southwest Asia Command. Upon leaving active duty as a Lieutenant Commander, Judge Allen returned to Logan and practiced law primarily in civil matters.
Judge Allen established and presides over the First District Mental Health Court in Logan and has been a strong proponent within the judiciary of Mental Health Courts and other judicial intervention programs for the mentally ill. Additionally, Judge Allen is a co-founder of the National Mental Health Court Summit held in Park City. He served as a member of the Utah Sentencing Commission and as a member of the Utah Board of District Court Judges where he eventually became Chair. He currently serves as a member of the Utah Judicial Council, the governing board of the Utah Judiciary.
Judge Allen has announced he will be retiring in August, after which Governor Herbert will nominate a new judge with confirmation by the Utah State Senate.

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JUSTICE COURT JUDGE SELECTION MEETING PLANNED

Salt Lake City, UT—The Salt Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on Mar. 15, 2019 to review applications for the vacancy in the Salt Lake City Justice Court. The successful candidate will replace Judge L.G. Cutler who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019. The commission will begin the meeting at 2 p.m. at the Matheson Courthouse located on 450 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84111. The meeting will be held in the Council Room on the third floor located in N31.
The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Following the public comment period, the meeting will be closed to allow commission members to review applications for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Amy Hernandez at (801) 578-3809 or amymh@utcourts.gov to request an appointment.

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2019 STATE OF THE JUDICIARY Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant

Speaker Wilson / President Adams, legislators of the great state of Utah, each year, I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts on the state of Utah’s judiciary. I’m joined today by my colleagues: Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Himonas, Justice Pearce, and Justice Peterson. Each is a dedicated, thoughtful, and brilliant jurist. I’m also pleased to be joined today by the members of our judicial council. Thank you for welcoming us here today, and thank you for your dedicated service.
I often start my remarks with a story. This year, I’d like to tell you about Walter Arnold. 122 years ago, Mr. Arnold was apprehended by a constable for speeding through Paddock Wood, a village about 40 miles southeast of London. He was operating an Arnold Benz Motor Carriage designed and manufactured by his own company.
I’m sure Mr. Arnold was thrilled to test the limits of his machine. But, as is often the case, the police did not share his enthusiasm. When Mr. Arnold flew past the officer at a blistering rate of four-times the speed limit, the chase was on. Ordinarily, for a vehicle traveling the speed limit at the time, the officer might easily have pursued on foot, at a stroll’s pace, because the speed limit was 2 MPH. But in order to apprehend Mr. Arnold, the officer was forced to pursue on a pedal bike. After what I can only imagine was a frenzied and exhausting chase, reaching speeds upwards of 8 MPH, the officer stopped Mr. Arnold. Order and safety were restored to the village roads.
Mr. Arnold was brought to court for his crime, where, upon hearing the case and considering all of the evidence, the judge ordered a one-shilling fine. If my math is correct, this would be roughly $8.00 in today’s money. A suitable punishment for so heinous a crime.
Mr. Arnold’s experience serves as a single example of the beginning of an era of legislative and judicial efforts to address a dramatic social metamorphosis, one driven by the technological revolution. To shed some light on just how dramatic these changes were, we can look to the records of motor vehicle registrations. In 1900, only 8,000 motor vehicles were registered in the United States. Just 20 years later, that number had increased to nearly ten million. Those two decades gave birth to an entire system of laws and conventions that each of us continues to observe today. And none of us questions the need for such rules, especially as we speed toward each other on undivided roadways at a combined 130 miles per hour or more, with nothing separating us from a head-on collision but a series of yellow dashes painted on the pavement and a common understanding of their meaning.
Mr. Arnold’s case and the traffic laws to which he was subject illustrate well the familiar process of creating, enforcing, and adjudicating the law. For centuries, the law has charted this same course forward, responding along the way to the need for safety, predictability, and uniformity. You don’t need me to tell you that this is the task you as the legislature embark upon today.
And while Mr. Arnold’s speeding case was simple and straightforward, it demonstrates one of the major challenges for legislatures and courts in every generation: to create and apply the law in a way that fosters public trust and confidence. Over time, legislative and judicial action shapes, and is shaped by, community values, establishing a common commitment to shared conventions. Widespread adherence to the law results in a more durable social fabric. This is the basis for the rule of law.
For hundreds of years, scholars and authors have wrestled with defining “the rule of law.” The term is not mentioned in the United States Constitution. Neither is it mentioned in the Utah Constitution. And it is not explicitly defined in the federal or state codes. Yet the rule of law undergirds every aspect of our state and federal governments. The courts of the United States describe the rule of law as “a principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated.” Public participation in, and respect for, our institutions of government is essential.
Yet, like many of you, I read in the national news of widespread political discontent and of warring factions who seem to be irreconcilably divided by their views. Like you, I have seen how tribalism and isolation have disrupted social cohesion. Cynicism causes many to surrender to indifference. A complaint often voiced is that government and the courts have become “too political.” Some believe that politicians do only what’s right for their party, not for the people. Others believe that judges allow politics to influence their interpretation of the law. Very few are insulated from or unaware of these trends.
Let me say clearly—fidelity to the law should never be shaped by or subjugated to a political agenda. Sadly, this is not a universally respected principle. Some seem to forget, or willfully ignore, that the rule of law is a bedrock principle upon which our country and our state have been established. And just as the rule of law has been essential to our strength as a country, when it is undermined, it weakens us immeasurably. At its extreme, undermining the rule of law jeopardizes the health of our democratic republic.
Thankfully, I think these conflicts run more deeply in print and on screens of all sizes than they do in the hearts and minds of the people. The vast majority of Americans are law-abiding citizens who honor the law of the land in their day-to-day lives. And they expect that same commitment from their political representatives and judges. As those who have been elected or appointed to positions of power and influence, it’s imperative, now more than ever before, that we meet this expectation and adhere faithfully to the rule of law.
No one is above the law, and no one should be beneath its protections. It is the rule of law that provides accountability and security. There are many ways you can measure a country. You can look to its economic stability, its resources, its governance structure, or the security it provides its citizens. But no measure is more important than a country’s respect for and adherence to the rule of law. It is the foundation upon which all else rests. And, in my view, it is the single most important source of our country’s greatness.
The rule of law is our shared enterprise. You endeavor to make the law, and we judges strive to interpret the law. Our shared commitment to the rule of law, which we have publicly declared to the citizens of Utah when we were sworn in to our respective offices, must continue to resonate throughout the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
I have always respected the careful and thoughtful process this body employs in creating our state’s laws. I say this not to flatter you, but because I feel certain you are driven by a belief that our communities benefit from working together to seek common solutions to common problems.
Our judges, too, are careful and thoughtful in resolving the cases brought before them. Each day, in each courthouse and in each courtroom, judges work to interpret and apply the laws you have enacted. The issues presented are wide ranging and the details often complex. Arriving at a just result that honors the rule of law requires each judge to take the time necessary to carefully weigh the merits of the matter, the arguments presented, and to ensure that the law is fairly and consistently applied. For the rule of law to have meaning, the public must be able to trust that the right outcome is reached. In this process, each party must have a voice and be respectfully heard. This concept is as important today as it has ever been, and it can be realized only by investing sufficient time in the case resolution process.
For many years now, the judiciary has worked to quantify the workload that is appropriate for each judge to responsibly bear. This is a critically important calculation; the efficient, timely, and just resolution of cases hangs in the balance. By striking the right balance, judges are able to responsibly and in a timely fashion provide the best possible process to the public.
The judiciary has always appreciated the support that you have provided to ensure there are enough judges available to meet the needs of the people. Currently, the citizens in the third judicial district, composed of Salt Lake, Tooele, and Summit counties, do not have enough district court judges to meet the demand. While the weighted caseload shows that 6.7 additional judges are needed in the third district, the judicial council has requested that the legislature provide four. During the session, you will have an opportunity to vote to approve these new judges. The people need our careful attention to this matter. They rightfully expect timely service from, and access to, our courts, and we can’t deliver it without your assistance and support.
In that same vein, Utah is fortunate to have superb judges, and it’s important that we continue to attract new judges of the same caliber. For this reason I urge you to adopt the recommendation on judicial salaries of the Elected Official and Judicial Compensation Commission. I also urge you to support our budget request for an increase in salaries for our dedicated clerical staff.
Finally, I’d like to address the challenge both our branches face in ensuring that Utah citizens have access to our justice system. Each of the past seven years, the World Justice Project has looked at how closely the nations of the world adhere to the rule of law, through a survey of 110,000 households and 3,000 experts. The United States has typically fared well in this assessment. But one area in which our system lags dramatically is in the access to and affordability of civil justice. In the 2017-2018 Index, our country ranked 98th out of 113 countries in this important metric. National and local studies also support this conclusion. They suggest that roughly 80% of our civil justice needs go unmet each year.
I’m sure we all recognize that this gap is unacceptable. In our effort to bridge it, we in the judiciary have been working on several innovative solutions to increase access to justice. I’d like to share some details regarding two such initiatives, both brilliantly spearheaded by Justice Himonas.
Utah’s 2017 court records reveal that in family law cases 69% of respondents and 56% of petitioners were self-represented. In other types of cases the numbers are even more stark—95% of defendants in eviction cases and 98% of defendants in debt collection cases are self-represented. Yet most people feel ill-equipped to navigate the court system without an attorney and lack confidence in their ability to represent themselves. In 2018, the National Center for State Courts conducted a survey showing that only 36% of people believed they could find the information and tools needed to effectively represent themselves. 62% didn’t believe they could effectively do so no matter what resources were provided to them. And yet, many people also report they cannot afford legal representation. These numbers are distressing.
To address this, we have created a new class of legal professional: the licensed paralegal practitioner or LPP, a position akin to the nurse practitioner profession in medicine. This is the result of several years of dedicated work by individuals both inside and outside the court system. Once licensed, LPPs will be able to provide legal advice and assistance in three areas of law affecting a large number of people: landlord-tenant disputes, debt collection actions, and family law matters. LPPs can provide this legal assistance without undergoing the expense of three years of law school, so they will be able to offer the public a lower cost option than is now available, thereby increasing access to competent legal representation. The first LPPs will begin work later this year.
Another dramatic change we’ve seen in recent years is that people have grown increasingly accustomed to engaging online with institutions of all types, be it their bank, their school, their doctor, or their government. In response to this shift in public preference and expectation, we’re increasing access to the courts through online dispute resolution, or ODR. In its initial implementation, ODR permits parties in small claims matters to resolve their legal dispute without ever entering a physical courthouse. Instead, they can negotiate with each other online using their phone or other device.
This negotiation is asynchronous, meaning it does not require the parties to address the matter at the same time. For instance, one party may communicate a position at the start of the day, while the other party is at work. Later, the other party can respond at a time that is more convenient for him or her. This back and forth exchange of information and ideas can continue over the course of several days, rather than in those stressful minutes just before a court hearing or in front of the judge.
A court-trained volunteer facilitator helps the parties have a conversation that explores all possible resolutions of the case. If the parties are able to reach a settlement, a computer-generated agreement is created; if they are unsuccessful, the facilitator works with the parties to prepare an informational document for the judge. This document assists the parties in focusing their claims and defenses so the judge is better situated to address the parties’ positions. It includes written materials, such as contracts or receipts, that the parties intend to rely on at the trial. The parties can then choose to have the judge decide the matter based on the written materials or they can have a traditional small claims trial.
The benefits of this flexible approach are obvious. Simply put, many people never engage in the litigation process, because it requires them to take time off work, go to what they often see as a strange and intimidating courthouse, and to interact with an adversarial party face-to-face. ODR provides them a convenient, quicker, and less stressful way to engage in the judicial process.
This program launched in September 2018 in the West Valley City Justice Court. Early participation is strong, and early feedback is positive. In the four months the system has been running, over 600 cases have been filed using ODR. We’re watching carefully as this program proceeds, tracking outcome data internally. In addition, the National Center for State Courts has agreed to formally and independently evaluate the program after a year by measuring metrics such as participation rates, disposition times, and court efficiencies. I look forward to January next year when I can share additional outcome data with you.
These kinds of innovations and experiments reflect our commitment to expanding access to justice for Utah’s citizens in ways that are responsive to what they want, not what is easiest or most convenient for the courts. By using our constitutional responsibility to govern the practice of law and by leveraging rapidly expanding technological advancements, we are delivering new ways of overcoming barriers to justice.
As I consider the many changes taking place in our modern lives, I wonder how different our time really is from that of Mr. Walter Arnold and the advent of motor vehicle laws. Yes, Mr. Arnold was living in a 2 MPH world, while ours runs at 70 MPH—or even the much higher speed at which bits of information travel in cyberspace. But the need to protect and nurture the public’s trust and confidence in the rule of law is unchanging. While our fast-paced society and advances in technology may, at times, seem overwhelming, both lawmakers and judges must continue to carefully enact and faithfully adjudicate the law with fidelity. When generations to come look back upon the contributions of our generation, I hope they will conclude that we honored and respected the rule of law.
I deeply appreciate your service to Utah’s citizens, and I wish you a productive session. Thank you.

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JUSTICE COURT JUDGE SELECTION MEETING PLANNED

Lindon, UT—The Utah County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on Feb. 4, 2019 to select candidates for the vacancy in the Lindon City Justice Court. The successful candidate will replace Judge Brent Bullock who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019. The commission will begin the meeting at 12 p.m. in the Lindon City Center located on 100 N. State Street Lindon, UT 84042.
The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Following the public comment period, the meeting will be closed to allow commission members to review applications for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Amy Hernandez at (801) 578-3809 or amymh@utcourts.gov to request an appointment.

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JUSTICE COURT JUDGE SELECTION MEETING PLANNED

Pleasant Grove, UT—The Utah County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on Feb. 4, 2019 to select candidates for the vacancy in the Pleasant Grove City Justice Court. The successful candidate will replace Judge Brent Bullock who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019. The commission will begin the meeting at 8 a.m. in the Lindon City Center located on 100 N. State Street Lindon, UT 84042.
The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 9
a.m. Following the public comment period, the meeting will be closed to allow commission members to review applications for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Amy Hernandez at (801) 578-3809 or amymh@utcourts.gov to request an appointment.

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SALT LAKE CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY DEADLINE EXTENDED

Salt Lake City, Utah — The deadline for applications for a Justice Court judge position in Salt Lake City has been extended. The position will replace Judge L.G. Cutler who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019.

To be considered for a Justice Court judgeship in Salt Lake County, candidates must be at least 25 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a Utah resident for at least three years, and have a degree from a law school that would make one eligible to apply for admission to a bar in any state in the United States. In addition, candidates must be a resident of Salt Lake County or an adjacent county for at least six months immediately preceding appointment.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Court’s website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the court’s website (www.utcourts.gov/admin/jobs). The annual salary for the position is $121,264 with benefits. For additional information, contact Patricia Vaughn at 801-535-6609 or by email at patricia.vaughn@slcgov.com.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Amy Hernandez, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241. For an application or information, email amymh@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Biskupski then has 30 days in which to make a selection. The selection must then be certified by the Utah Judicial Council.

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SALT LAKE CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

Salt Lake City, Utah—Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in Salt Lake City. The position will replace Judge L.G. Cutler who will retire effective Feb. 28, 2019.
To be considered for a Justice Court judgeship in Salt Lake County, candidates must be at least 25 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a Utah resident for at least three years, and have a degree from a law school that would make one eligible to apply for admission to a bar in any state in the United States. In addition, candidates must be a resident of Salt Lake County or an adjacent county for at least six months immediately preceding appointment.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Court’s website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the court’s website (www.utcourts.gov/admin/jobs). The annual salary for the position is $121,264 with benefits. For additional information, contact Patricia Vaughn at 801-535-6609 or by email at patricia.vaughn@slcgov.com.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Jan. 14, 2019 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Amy Hernandez, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241. For an application or information, email amymh@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Biskupski then has 30 days in which to make a selection. The selection must then be certified by the Utah Judicial Council.

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JUDGES TO DETERMINE NEED FOR GRAND JURY – St. George

St. George, UT — A panel of judges is scheduled to meet on Jan. 10, 2019, to hear testimony to determine whether reasonable cause exists to call a grand jury. The meeting will take place at the Fifth Judicial District Courthouse located at 206 West Tabernacle, Suite 100, St. George, Utah 84770. Those wanting to testify before the panel of judges should contact Michael C. Drechsel, Associate General Counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts, at (801) 578-3821 by Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, at 5 p.m. to schedule an appointment. If no appointments are scheduled by that time, the meeting will be canceled without further notice.
Individuals testifying must be prepared to give evidence to support claims that justify calling a grand jury. Controversies between individual parties will not be considered. Individuals who need special accommodations during the hearing must notify the court at least three business days prior to the hearing.
Utah’s Grand Jury Statute requires a panel of judges selected from throughout the state to hold hearings in each judicial district every three years. The purpose of the hearings is to determine whether a grand jury needs to be summoned based on evidence of criminal activity. The Grand Jury Panel is comprised of the following judges: Supervising Judge W. Brent West, 2nd District Court; Judge Lynn W. Davis, 4th District Court; Judge Elizabeth Hruby-Mills, 3rd District Court; Judge Eric A. Ludlow, 5th District Court; and Judge Kara Pettit, 3rd District Court.
The Attorney General, a county attorney, district attorney, or special prosecutor appointed under U.C.A. section 77-10a-1 can also present evidence of criminal activity. The panel of judges will hear, in secret, all persons claiming information that justifies calling a grand jury. All individuals appearing before the panel of judges will be placed under oath. If a grand jury is summoned, the jurors will be called from the state-at-large or any judicial district within the state.
Additional information regarding the Grand Jury panel of judges is available at the Utah Court’s website or in the Utah Code.

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