Salt Lake City, Utah—The Utah Judiciary is mourning the passing of Justice Court Judge Jerald L. Jensen.
Judge Jensen served the justice courts in Davis County, Centerville, and Sunset since being appointed in 1991. He retired from Sunset Justice Court in 2016 and Davis County Justice Court in 2015. During his tenure, he led several reforms to Utah’s justice courts. In 2011, Judge Jensen was the first justice court judge to consistently record hearings and sought funds to ensure transparency and judicial accountability on all levels. At the time he was quoted as saying, “Instead of doing it just between us, it’s a public hearing… making sure everyone has access.”
He served as a member of the Utah Judicial Council from 1991 through 1997, and again from 1999 through 2006. He also served for 19 years on the Board of Justice Court Judges, including two terms as its chair. His peers recognized his contributions by honoring him the Justice Court Judge of the Year and Quality of Justice awards.
“Judge Jensen was involved in the early shaping of the justice courts and was actively involved in trying to make it better for all parties involved,” said Second District Justice Court Presiding Judge Trent Nelson. “He spent many years serving the citizens of Davis County and took pride in his efforts to promote justice. He always had time to answer questions and made sure that he was well-versed in the law.”
Judge John Sandberg, a retired colleague of Judge Jensen, said, “I am grateful for a giant of a man that I had the privilege to know for about 40 years. Today I found that a dear friend, Jerry Jensen, passed this week. I am grateful for what he taught me about integrity and doing the correct thing for the right reason. Although Jerry tried to hide his heart, he cared for the wellbeing of others and diligently tried to benefit those around him. I am glad that I shared many days with Jerry and that I will be able to see him again.”
“His sense of humor and his heart matched his height,” said colleague Judge Catherine Hoskins.
During his time on the bench he also worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. Judge Jensen loved to perform weddings and would schedule weddings up and down the Wasatch Front to coincide with railroad stops. He was always busy, even working during his breaks.
Our condolences go out to Judge Jensen’s family.
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