SLTrib Op-Ed – Utah’s judges should reflect its population

Salt Lake Tribune Op-ed: Utah’s judges should reflect its population | The Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Utah’s judges should reflect its population

| Courtesy Robert O. Rice, op-ed mug.| Photo Courtesy of  Robert O. Rice

The Utah State Bar supports The Salt Lake Tribune’s recent efforts to highlight the importance of a diverse Utah judiciary. (See “Ethnic, gender diversity is for the benefit of all,” on June 29 and “Can Utah diversify its judicial bench? Jury’s still out,” on July 9.)

Lawyers, who represent clients from all aspects of society, have a uniquely clear view of the importance of the background of judges who decide their clients’ cases. Perhaps the question becomes, then, what is our profession doing to promote a system of justice that reflects, in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, “a cross section of America.”  The answer is a great deal.

First, Utah lawyers are actively encouraging lawyers from diverse backgrounds to apply for the bench. Women Lawyers of Utah has developed a program to provide mentoring to its members applying for judicial vacancies. To help demystify the application process, Women Lawyers of Utah offers seminars and pairs applicants with someone who has experienced the nomination process.

Second, the Utah Minority Bar Association is also fully engaged in promoting diversity in Utah’s judiciary. Like Women Lawyers of Utah, the Utah Minority Bar Association actively seeks qualified candidates from its membership and encourages those lawyers to apply for bench openings. The Utah Minority Bar Association also recommends qualified members of the minority bar to serve on judicial nominating commissions.  Understanding that there is more it can do, it has recently created a Judicial Advocacy Committee to evaluate additional action to address this critical issue.

In our own organization, the Utah State Board of Bar Commissioners, lawyers have elected diverse leaders to make policy for lawyers across Utah. Of our 15 voting Bar Commissioners, nine are women. The Bar Commission also enjoys guidance from ex-officio members from the Utah Minority Bar Association and Women Lawyers of Utah and LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah. In short, the Bar Commission looks more like the rest of the state, which represents a substantial step toward promoting diversity in other areas of our judicial system.

The ranks of Utah lawyers are steadily growing with immensely qualified, diverse law school graduates from the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the S. J. Quinney College of Law and elsewhere. Clearly, our bar swells with talented lawyers from varied backgrounds educated within and without the state who will for years to come be ready to assume a position on the bench.

Gov. Gary Herbert deserves many accolades for his efforts to appoint women and minority lawyers to the bench, having appointed 20 women and four minority lawyers to the bench during his tenure. I’ve appeared before many of Herbert’s appointments, and I can attest to their strong qualifications and to the fact that the governor has appointed the most qualified applicants possible in every instance.

Herbert’s success in his judicial appointments, the Bar’s efforts to promote diversity on our bench and the steady number of diverse, qualified new lawyers graduating from our law schools is a sure sign of great things to come. Utah is exceedingly well-positioned to ensure that its state court looks more and more like the state it is intended to serve.
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Midvale City Justice Court Vacancy Announced

MIDVALE CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED 

Midvale, UT — Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in Midvale City. The position will replace Judge Ronald Wolthuis who will retire effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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 the county in which the court is located—or an adjacent county—for at least six months.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Courts’ website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the courts’ website. Please note that the application has been updated since June 2016. The annual salary range for the position is $104,000 – $107,000 with benefits. For additional information, contact Rori Andreason at 801-567-7207 or by email at randreason@midvale.com.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday Aug. 3, 2016 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Melisse Stiglich, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241, or faxed to (801) 238-7828. For an application or more information, email melisses@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to the Mayor of Midvale JoAnn B. Seghini within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Seghini 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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Justice Court Judge Selection Meeting Planned

JUSTICE COURT JUDGE SELECTION MEETING PLANNED 

Sunset City, UT — The Davis County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on Aug. 22, 2016, to select a candidate for the Sunset City Justice Court to replace Judge Jerald Jensen, who will retire effective Jan. 1, 2017. The commission will begin the meeting at 8:30 a.m. at the Sunset City Offices, 200 West 1300 North, in the Sunset Room.

The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and refinements or improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Following the public hearing, the meeting is closed to allow commission members to select a slate of three to five candidates for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Melisse Stiglich at (801) 578-3844 to request an appointment. Information on the Justice Court Nominating Commission members is available at www.utcourts.gov.

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South Salt Lake City Justice Court Vacancy Announced

SOUTH SALT LAKE CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED 

South Salt Lake, UT — Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in South Salt Lake City. The position will replace Judge Catherine M. Johnson who will retire effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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 the county in which the court is located—or an adjacent county—for at least six months.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Courts’ website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the courts’ website. Please note that the application has been updated since June 2016. The annual salary range for the position is $100,000 to $115,000 DOE with benefits. For additional information, contact Chief of Staff Charee Peck at cpeck@southsaltlakecity.com.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Melisse Stiglich, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241, or faxed to (801) 238-7828. For an application or more information, email melisses@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to the Mayor of South Salt Lake Cherie Wood within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Wood 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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Notice of Approved Amendments and New Rules to the Remote Hearings Rules

The Utah Supreme Court has approved amendments and new rules to the following.  The amendments are effective November 1, 2016.

Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 17.5 New. Hearings with contemporaneous transmission from a different location.

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 43 Amend. Evidence.

Utah Rules of Juvenile Procedure

Rule 29B New. Hearings with contemporaneous transmission from a different location.

Rule 37B New. Hearings with contemporaneous transmission from a different location.

To see approved rule amendments, click on the rule number above, or click on this link to: http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/approved/. Then click on the rule number.

Notice of Proposed New Local Rule for the Fourth District Court

The Board of District Court Judges invites comments to the following proposed amendments. The comment period expires August 28, 2016.

Fourth District Court Local Rule

Rule 10-1-407 Time to charge. New. Fourth District local rule that governs the time and conditions between arrest and first appearance in all felony and Class A misdemeanor offenses when the defendant is arrested without a warrant and remains in custody.

How to View Redline Text of the Proposed Amendment

To see proposed rule amendment and submit comments, click on this link to:  http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/comments/, then click on the rule number.

How to Submit Comments

You can comment and view the comments of others by clicking on the “comments” link associated with each body of rules. It is most efficient to submit comments through the website. After clicking on the comment link, you will be asked for your name, which is required, and your email address which need not be your real address. The comment website is public. Each comment must be approved by the site administrator before it will show on the public website.  Although all comments will be considered, they will not be acknowledged with a response.

Please submit comments directly through the website.  Should you have any questions, please contact the Board of District Court Judges.

Notice of Approved Amendments to Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Utah Supreme Court has approved amendments to the following court rule. The amendments are effective November 1, 2016.

Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 38 Amend.  The proposed amendment clarifies that a defendant may withdraw an appeal prior to entry of a plea of guilt or prior to commencement of trial.

To see approved rule amendments, click on the rule number above, or click on this link to http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/approved/. Then click on the rule number.

Notice of Approved New Rule to Utah Rules of Evidence

The Utah Supreme Court has approved a new rule to the Utah Rules of Evidence. The rule is effective July 1, 2016.

Utah Rules of Evidence

Rule 511 Insurance Regulators. New. Creates a privilege for insurance regulators.

To see approved rule amendments, click on the rule number above, or click on this link to: http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/approved/. Then click on the rule number.

Judge David Mortensen to Be Sworn In as Judge for Utah Court of Appeals

David Mortensen to Be Sworn In as Judge for Utah Court of Appeals

WHAT: Judge David Mortensen will be sworn in as a member of the Utah Court of Appeals. Judge Mortensen has chosen to have the ceremony held in 4th District Court, where he has served since 2006 as a district court judge. Mortensen was appointed to replace Judge John Pearce who was confirmed as a member of the Utah Supreme Court on December 16.

WHEN: Thursday, July 14, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Provo Courthouse, 125 North 100 West, Provo, Room 201

WHO: Judge Mortensen will be sworn in by Utah Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Frederic Voros.

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South Jordan City Justice Court Vacancy Announced

SOUTH JORDAN CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED

South Jordan, UT—Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in South Jordan. The position will replace Judge Clinton Balmforth, who will retire effective Jan. 2, 2017.

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 the county in which the court is located—or an adjacent county—for at least six months.

Information on judicial retention and performance evaluation is posted on the Utah State Courts’ website at www.utcourts.gov under employment opportunities. An application for judicial office form must be completed and is available on the courts’ website. Please note that the application has been updated since June 2016. The annual salary range for the position is $85,690.00 – $121,673.00 DOQ with benefits. For additional information contact Debbie Lyman at 801-253-5203 or by email at dlyman@sjc.utah.gov.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Melisse Stiglich, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241, or faxed to (801) 238-7828. For an application or more information, email melisses@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to the Mayor of South Jordan, David L. Alvord, within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor Alvord 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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Sunset City Justice Court Vacancy Announced

SUNSET CITY JUSTICE COURT VACANCY ANNOUNCED 

Sunset, UT—Applications are being accepted for a Justice Court judge position in Sunset City. The position will replace Judge Jerald Jensen, who will retire effective Jan. 1, 2017.

To be considered for a Justice Court judgeship in Davis 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 the county in which the court is located—or an adjacent county—for at least six months.

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 courts’ website. Please note that the application has been updated since June 2016. The annual salary range for the position is $23,100 to $27,000 with some benefits. For additional information, contact Linda Youngdell at 801-614-9102 or by email at linday@sunset-ut.com.

The deadline for applications is Monday Aug. 1, 2016 at 5 p.m. and should be sent to the attention of Melisse Stiglich, Administrative Office of the Courts, P.O. Box 140241, Salt Lake City, UT, 84114-0241, or faxed to (801) 238-7828. For an application or more information, email melisses@utcourts.gov.

Utah law requires the Judicial Nominating Commission to submit three to five nominees to the Mayor of Sunset, Beverly MacFarlane, within 45 days of its first meeting. Mayor MacFarlane 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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Notice of Proposed Amendments to Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure invites comments to the following proposed amendments. The comment period expires August 15, 2016.

Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 004 Sets forth in detail the required contents of an information. The new provisions will require statements about pretrial release.

Rule 005 Repealed.

Rule 006 The proposed changes create a presumption in favor of summonses over warrants. The rule establishes the requirements for issuing a warrant. The rule also describes the required content of summonses and warrants.

How to View Redline Text of the Proposed Amendment

To see proposed rule amendment and submit comments, click on this link to:  http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/comments/, then click on the rule number.

How to Submit Comments

You can comment and view the comments of others by clicking on the “comments” link associated with each body of rules. It is most efficient to submit comments through the website. After clicking on the comment link, you will be asked for your name, which is required, and your email address which need not be your real address. The comment website is public. Each comment must be approved by the site administrator before it will show on the public website.  Although all comments will be considered, they will not be acknowledged with a response.

Please submit comments directly through the website.  Should you have any questions, please contact the committee staff person.  The list of committees can be found at: https://www.utcourts.gov/committees/.

Notice of Proposed Amendment to Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure invites comments to the following proposed amendment. The comment period expires August 14, 2016.

Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rule 22 The proposed changes to the rule will set out in more detail the circumstances under which a court may correct a sentence.

How to View Redline Text of the Proposed Amendment

To see proposed rule amendment and submit comments, click on this link to:  http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/comments/, then click on the rule number.

How to Submit Comments

You can comment and view the comments of others by clicking on the “comments” link associated with each body of rules. It is most efficient to submit comments through the website. After clicking on the comment link, you will be asked for your name, which is required, and your email address which need not be your real address. The comment website is public. Each comment must be approved by the site administrator before it will show on the public website.  Although all comments will be considered, they will not be acknowledged with a response.

Please submit comments directly through the website.  Should you have any questions, please contact the committee staff person.  The list of committees can be found at: https://www.utcourts.gov/committees/.

Thank you.

Notice of Proposed Model Utah Civil Jury Instructions

The Utah Judicial Council’s Standing Committee on the Model Civil Jury Instructions invites comments to the following proposed instructions. The comment period expires August 11, 2016, but the committee invites judges and practitioners to share their experiences using the published instructions at any time.

Summary of Proposed Model Civil Jury Instructions (Defamation)

CV1601 – Introductory Notes to Practitioners (not to be read to the jury).
CV1602 – Elements of a Defamation Claim.
CV1603 – Definition: Publication.
CV1604A – Definition: About the Plaintiff – Public Figure or Public Official Plaintiff – Connection to Plaintiff is Reasonable.
CV1604B – Definition: About the Plaintiff – Private Plaintiff – Matter of Public Concern – Connection to Plaintiff is Reasonable.
CV1604C – Definition: About the Plaintiff – Private Plaintiff – No Matter of Public Concern – Connection to Plaintiff is Reasonable – Negligence.
CV1604D – Definition: About the Plaintiff – Private Plaintiff – No Matter of Public Concern – Connection to Plaintiff is Reasonable – Strict Liability. 
CV1604E – Definition: About the Plaintiff – Connection to Plaintiff is Unreasonable.
CV1605 – Definition: False Statement.
CV1606 – Definition: Opinion.
CV1607 – Definition: Defamatory.
CV1608 – Conditional Privilege.
CV1609 – Non-actionable Statements.
CV1610 – Definition: Requisite Degree of Fault – Private Figure – Matter of Public Concern.
CV1611 – Definition: Requisite Degree of Fault –Public Official or Public Figure. 
CV1612 – Group Defamation Rule. 
CV1613 – Causation. 
CV1614 – Presumed Damages.
CV1615 – Damages – Economic Damages. 
CV1616 – Damages – Noneconomic Damages. 
CV1617 – Damages – Punitive Damages – Public Figure/Official and/or Issue of Public Concern.
CV1618 – Damages – Effect of Retraction. 
CV1619 – Affirmative Defense – Consent.
CV1620 – Affirmative Defense – Statute of Limitations.

How to View Text of the Proposed Model Civil Jury Instructions

To see the proposed jury instructions and submit comments, click on this link http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/muji-comment/ and then click on the link that reads Click here to view a pdf version of proposed Model Utah Civil Jury Instructions 1601-1620. You may also click on the individual instructions to view them.

 How to Submit Comments

It is most efficient to submit comments through the website. You can comment and view the comments of others by clicking on the “Continue Reading” link at the bottom of the posting. After clicking on the Continue Reading link and scrolling to the bottom of the page, you will be asked for your name, which is required, and your email address, which need not be your real address. The comment website is public. Although all comments will be considered, they will not be acknowledged with a response.

After submitting your comment on the webpage, you may get an error message, but your comment has been delivered to a buffer, and will be published as soon as possible.

Submit comments directly through the website or to:

Nancy Sylvester
Email: nancyjs@utcourts.gov
Fax:  801-578-3843
Administrative Office of the Courts
P.O. Box 140241
Salt Lake City, Utah  84114-0241

One method of submitting a comment is sufficient. If you email a comment, please list the relevant instruction(s) in the message line and include your comment in the message text, not in an attachment.

How to view published Model Civil Jury Instructions

Visit http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/muji/.

How to view the Model Civil Jury Instructions Committee’s work

Visit http://www.utcourts.gov/committees/muji/.

Notice of Approved Amendments to Utah Court Rules

The Utah Judicial Council has approved amendments to the following court rules. The amendments are effective November 1, 2016.

Code of Judicial Administration

CJA 03-0403.pdf Judicial branch education. Amend. Gives the Management Committee authority to excuse an active senior judge applying for reappointment from completing the annual 30 hour education requirement based on good cause. To be eligible, the senior judge must have completed at least 60 total education hours in the two years preceding the effective date of reappointment.

CJA 04-0202.02.pdf Records classification. Amend. Classifies jail booking sheets and nonresident violator notices of compliance as private. Deletes language addressing appellate brief addenda as they are governed by other rules.

CJA 04-0404.pdf Jury selection and service. Amend. Incorporates recent amendments to the statute regarding a juror’s term of service.

CJA 04-0903.pdf Uniform custody evaluations. Amend. Clarifies the list of professionals who may perform custody evaluations. Eliminates the provision allowing two custody evaluators to be appointed if one party resides out of state. Adds additional factors for a custody evaluator to consider when conducting an evaluation.

To see approved rule amendments, click on the rule number above, or click on this link to: http://www.utcourts.gov/resources/rules/approved/. Then click on the rule number.