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THE COURTS MOURN THE PASSING OF JUDGE JERALD L. JENSEN

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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MILLARD COUNTY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY DEADLINE EXTENDED

Millard, UT—The deadline for applications for a Justice Court judge position in Millard County has been extended. The position will replace Judge Debra Haveron who will be retiring April 1, 2021.

To be considered for a justice court judgeship in Millard 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 Millard 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 salary range for the position is $24,716 to $44,487 per year and does not include benefits. For additional information, contact Bonnie Smith at (435) 743-5227.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 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 the Millard County Commission within 45 days of its first meeting. The Millard County Commission 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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TAYLORSVILLE CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

Taylorsville, Utah—Applications are being accepted for a justice court judge position in the City of Taylorsville. The position will replace Judge Michael Kwan who passed away in July.

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 salary range for the position is $85,225 to $153,405 per year and includes benefits. For additional information, contact City Administrator John Taylor at jtaylor@taylorsvilleut.gov or (801) 955-2003.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 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 the Taylorsville City Mayor, Kristie S. Overson, within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Overson 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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MILLARD COUNTY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

Millard, UT—Applications are being accepted for a justice court judge position in Millard County. The position will replace Judge Debra Haveron who will be retiring April 1, 2021.

To be considered for a justice court judgeship in Millard 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 Millard 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 salary range for the position is $24,716 to $44,487 per year and does not include benefits. For additional information, contact Bonnie Smith at (435) 743-5227.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 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 the Millard County Commission within 45 days of its first meeting. The Millard County Commission 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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CHIEF JUSTICE ISSUES UPDATED PANDEMIC ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER

Salt Lake City, UT— Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant has issued an updated Administrative Order. The order offers further direction on warrants, bench trials, and eviction cases during the pandemic.

The Utah Courts remain open and available to the public while balancing the health and safety of court patrons, court staff, and judges. Toward that goal, the Utah Judicial Council has established three levels of court operations (Red, Yellow, Green), based on safety recommendations established by the Centers for Disease Control and the Utah Department of Health. While most hearings are being conducted remotely, some are now in-person, depending on a court’s risk level. Since March, courts have conducted over 140,000 remote proceedings on more than 63,000 District Court cases. Courts approved for in-person hearings and jury trials under the Yellow Phase currently include those in: Box Elder, Rich, Davis, Juab, Millard, Beaver, Iron, Piute, Sevier, Emery, Daggett, and Uintah. Courts in Salt Lake, Summit, Utah, Washington, Garfield, Kane, Sanpete, Wayne, Carbon, Grand, and San Juan counties have been approved to move from Red to Yellow when COVID case numbers decrease in those counties. The COVID Alerts and Information page contains more information.

Like many organizations forced to rethink ways in which business is done due to COVID-19, the Utah Courts recognize there have been many changes and challenges. Some changes, such as remote hearings, have benefited the public and provided greater transparency. While some of the challenges have created frustration at times, the Utah Courts are continuously working through them and expect those efforts to make our judiciary more agile and efficient over time.

Click here for the Oct. 2, 2020 Administrative Order:

https://www.utcourts.gov/alerts/docs/20201002%20-%20Amended%20Pandemic%20Administrative%20Order.pdf

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ORDERVILLE JUSTICE COURT VACANCY DEADLINE EXTENDED

Orderville, UT—The deadline for applications for a justice court judge position in the Town of Orderville has been extended. The position will replace Judge Ronald Read whose term expires on Jan. 3, 2021.

To be considered for a justice court judgeship in Kane 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 Kane 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 salary range for the position is $4,389 to $7,889 per year and does not include benefits. For additional information, contact Carol Lamb at (435) 648-2534.

The deadline for applications is Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 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 Robert Caruso, mayor of Orderville Town, within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Caruso 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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ORDERVILLE JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

Orderville, Utah—Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court Judge position in the Town of Orderville. The position will replace Judge Ronald Read whose term expires on Jan. 3, 2021.

To be considered for a Justice Court judgeship in Kane 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 Kane 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 salary range for the position is $4,389 to $7,889 per year and does not include benefits. For additional information, contact Carol Lamb at (435) 648-2534.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Sept. 25, 2020 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 Robert Caruso, mayor of Orderville Town, within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Caruso 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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TO TACKLE THE UNMET LEGAL NEEDS CRISIS, UTAH SUPREME COURT UNANIMOUSLY ENDORSES A PILOT PROGRAM TO ASSESS CHANGES TO THE GOVERNANCE OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW

Salt Lake City, UT— In an historic vote, the Utah Supreme Court voted unanimously on Wednesday to authorize a pilot program to test pioneering changes to the practice of law and changes designed to address the access-to-justice crisis in America.

These changes allow individuals and entities to explore creative ways to safely allow lawyers and non-lawyers to practice law and to reduce constraints on how lawyers market and promote their services. In order to assess whether the changes are working as intended, the Supreme Court has authorized the core portions of these changes for a two-year period. At the conclusion of that time, the Supreme Court will carefully evaluate whether the program should continue. The evaluation will be based on a review of data collected from those entities and individuals participating in the program. The Supreme Court’s willingness to experiment with innovation is an important step, especially now, because the need for more affordable legal help has reached crisis levels as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Many Utahns are facing crushing challenges that require legal help, including lost jobs, bankruptcy and debt, and health and family crises. Now more than ever new legal services and providers are needed to ease this crisis of access to justice.

The Court’s Reform-leading Efforts

The Utah Supreme Court has led the way on reforming the rules governing lawyers and the practice of law to increase Utahns’ access to legal help. Over the past two years, a task force established by the Supreme Court has researched and developed a model through which new and creative legal business models, services, and providers—under careful oversight—could offer safe and innovative legal services to Utahns. The resulting proposals, set out in the Supreme Court’s Standing Order 15 and associated revisions to the Rules of Professional Conduct, establish a regulatory sandbox for non-traditional legal providers and services, including entities with non-lawyer investment or ownership. The proposal also establishes an Office of Legal Services Innovation—a new office within the Supreme Court that will assess and recommend sandbox applicants to the Court, as well as oversee those applicants that are authorized by the Court to offer legal services. The rule changes and the sandbox, which the Supreme Court authorized pursuant to its plenary and exclusive constitutional mandate to govern the practice of law, represent perhaps the most promising effort by courts to tackle the access-to-justice crisis in the last hundred years.

Taking Input from All Sources into Account

Before voting on the changes, the Utah Supreme Court provided for a lengthy ninety-day comment period. Through the comment period and extensive outreach and research efforts, the Supreme Court and its task force were able to gather and take into account input on the proposals from the public, lawyers, the Utah Bar Commission—the body directly overseeing Utah’s lawyers—and subject matter experts. As a direct result of this input, the Supreme Court made a number of important changes to the initial proposals. These changes included: (1) increasing transparency into the application and approval process, (2) adding clearer channels for complaints regarding the new legal services, (3) severely restricting any roles for disbarred or suspended lawyers and those with certain felony convictions, (4) more explicitly articulating the program’s access-to-justice goals, (5) and more clearly delineating that the program will sunset in two years absent further order of the Supreme Court.

A New Legal Frontier

Justice Deno Himonas who, along with John Lund, past-President of the Utah Bar, led the effort, summed up the need for innovative solutions in the face of America’s access-to-justice crisis as follows, “We cannot volunteer ourselves across the access-to-justice gap. We have spent billions of dollars trying this approach. It hasn’t worked. And hammering away at the problem with the same tools is Einstein’s very definition of insanity. What is needed is a market-based approach that simultaneously respects and protects consumer needs. That is the power and beauty of the Supreme Court’s rule changes and the legal regulatory sandbox.” Now, under the leadership of the Supreme Court and the Bar Commission, which will have an important role in the Innovation Office, Utah will be the first state in the nation to lay the foundation for a truly accessible and affordable, consumer-oriented legal services system.

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UTAH APPELLATE COURTS TO CONTINUE REMOTE ORAL ARGUMENTS FOR REST OF THE YEAR

Salt Lake City, Utah—The Utah Supreme Court and the Utah Court of Appeals have jointly issued an order suspending in-person oral arguments and appellate court committee meetings through at least the end of the year. Presiding Judge Gregory Orme emphasized that, “Utah was one of the first states to begin holding remote oral arguments and committee meetings through videoconference, and we have been pleased with the capabilities this technology has provided us to continue the Courts’ mission to provide for the open, fair, and efficient administration of justice.”
“While we miss seeing everyone in person, safety is our first priority, and we recognize that we are in a position where we are able to conduct our business remotely and avoid further spreading of the virus,” said Chief Justice Matthew Durrant. “Current prediction models show a real possibility of virus spikes as we approach this fall and winter, and we encourage everyone who can work and meet remotely to do so.”
As outlined in the Order, the Appellate Courts will continue monitoring the crisis and may overturn or extend the order based on the circumstances at that time.

Link to the order:
https://www.utcourts.gov/alerts/docs/20200729-appellate_courts-suspended_arguments.pdf

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THE COURTS MOURN THE PASSING OF JUDGE MICHAEL W. KWAN

Salt Lake City, Utah—The Utah Judiciary is mourning the passing of Taylorsville City Justice Court Judge Michael W. Kwan.
Judge Kwan has served the Taylorsville Justice Court since 1998. He started one of the first DUI/Drug Courts in the nation in 1998. This program received the Governor’s Award for reducing drug and alcohol abuse and related crimes in 2008. His Domestic Violence Program was awarded the Peace on Earth Award from the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002.
His colleagues knew Judge Kwan as a warm and caring friend. He was the former chair of the Board of Justice Court Judges, and served on the Utah Judicial Council. He taught judicial education courses across the country for the Utah Judicial Institute, ABA, and National Drug Court Institute focusing on traffic, evidence, constitutional law, and criminal procedure and law. He received a law degree from Whittier College School of Law and was certified in Chinese law by the East China University of Politics and Law in 1993.
Our condolences go out to Judge Kwan’s family.

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