Judicial Council Meeting Minutes



Monday, November 26, 2001

Council Room, Matheson Courthouse
450 South State
Salt Lake City, Utah

Members Present: Staff Present:

Chief Justice Richard C. Howe 
Hon. James Z. Davis 
Justice Michael J. Wilkins
Hon. Ben Hadfield
Hon. Clair Poulson 
Hon. Lyle Anderson
Hon. Lee Dever 
Hon. Robert Hilder 
Hon. Andrew Valdez 
Hon. Lynn Davis 
Hon. Ronald Hare
Hon. Scott Johansen
Debra Moore, esq. 

Daniel J. Becker
Myron K. March
Sandy Iwasaki

Ray Wahl
D. Mark Jones
Richard H. Schwermer
Jan Thompson
Joyce Robbins


Hon. Jerald Jensen


Hon. Russell W. Bench, Judge, Court of Appeals

  1.   WELCOME/APPROVAL OF MINUTES: (Chief Justice Richard C. Howe)

All members and staff were welcomed to the meeting. Chief Justice Richard Howe asked for a motion on the October minutes.

Motion: Judge Clair Poulson moved to approve as written the October Judicial Council meeting minutes. Justice Michael Wilkins seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

  2.   REPORT FROM CHAIRMAN: (Chief Justice Richard C. Howe)

Chief Justice Richard Howe advised the Judicial Council that the revenue shortfall continues to grow and Mr. Daniel Becker will be reporting on how this will impact the judiciary. Chief Justice Howe also advised the Judicial Council that the Supreme Court Study Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, which is chaired by Justice Michael Wilkins, has met. Justice Wilkins and Mr. Richard Schwermer will give an update of that meeting.

  3.   ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT: (Daniel J. Becker)

Mr. Daniel J. Becker reported on the following items:

Management Committee: (Hon. Lyle Anderson)
Judge Anderson briefly reviewed the Management Committee minutes with the Council. The Management Committee approved for the consent calendar the appointments of Judge Glen Dawson to the Standing Committee on Judicial Performance Evaluation, Judge Russell Bench to the Standing Committee on Court Facilities Planning and Judge Judith Billings to the Standing Committee on Education. The survey of presiding judges and TCEs to evaluate senior judges was also approved. The Management Committee approved the recommendation to cancel individual subscriptions to Utah Advance Reports and Annotations, which would result in a savings of at least $14,274 annually.

Policy and Planning: (Debra Moore, esq.)

Ms. Moore reported that the Policy and Planning Committee had reviewed a proposed policy on equal opportunity for judicial applications. There was some question regarding the form which requests information on Viet Nam era veterans or disabled veterans, but does not request information for other veterans.

The committee also considered the extraction of rules that are in the exclusive province of the Supreme Court from the Code of Judicial Administration. The committee decided to propose to the Judicial Council that the rules of procedure or practice be extracted from the Code of Judicial Administration and referred to the Supreme Court for further action. The possible outcome of these rules could be that some would be blended into the existing rules of procedure or that separate rules of practice could be created that would correspond to the rules of procedure.

The committee discussed the possibility of rescheduling Judicial Council meetings from Mondays to Fridays because Mondays are typically high-volume days for trial court judges. The proposal to reschedule the Judicial Council meetings would not be implemented this year because the schedule has already been set. Therefore, a decision regarding this issue will not be made until later.

Justice Wilkins pointed out that the equal opportunity form is on the consent calendar and that the memo dated November 9th from Barbara Hanson to the Judicial Council (under Tab 7) indicates that the form was approved for implementation by the Policy and Planning Committee. The Policy and Planning Committee members responded that they had not approved the form.

Motion:Ms. Moore moved to remove the form from the consent calendar since it was the intent of the Policy and Planning Committee to have the form revised and presented to the Policy and Planning Committee for reconsideration. Justice Wilkins seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Liaison Committee:(Justice Michael Wilkins)

Justice Wilkins reported that the Liaison Committee met briefly after the Judicial Council meeting in Vernal. The committee discussed three items of legislation that were being advanced in the interim committees. Judge Lynn Davis reported that the three items of legislation which the Liaison Committee considered were related to the following:

Bar Commission: (Debra Moore, esq.)

Ms. Moore reported that the Bar Commission discussed the impact of the budget cuts on the courts. The Executive Committee of the Bar Commission will be considering how to encourage judges to attend the bar conferences in light of the budget cuts.

The Bar Commission also discussed the formation of a task force or committee to respond to criticism of judges. This item has been referred to the Courts and Judges Committee to consider. Judge James Davis indicated that he has discussed this issue with the Juvenile Court Board and the board was fairly enthusiastic about proceeding with forming some type of structure to respond to criticism of judges.

  5.   BUDGET REDUCTION UPDATE: (Daniel J. Becker)

Mr. Becker reported that he and Mr. Myron March have identified two items that need to be brought to the Judicial Council's attention.

When the Judicial Council decided to retain the use of freed up clerk resources to fund the creation of a juvenile court commissioner position, the decision was based on the assumption that it would require five clerk positions to fund the commissioner position (three clerk resources to create the commissioner position and two clerks to accompany the commissioner position). In actuality, it should require only three clerk positions to create the commissioner position since the Ad Hoc Committee on Resources had recommended that deputy clerks should only be considered in the context of the weighted caseload and that deputy clerks should not be assigned to any judicial positions relating to reallocation. As a consequence, the creation of a commissioner position from reallocated clerk resources was overfunded by approximately $60,000. Therefore, this amount can be put back on the table for reconsideration by the Judicial Council.

The second area identified for reconsideration is the $60,000 which had been allotted for funding interns. Mr. Becker and Mr. March decided that if court positions are being eliminated, funding for interns should also be put back on the table for reconsideration by the Judicial Council.

After discussion as to what to do with the additional $120,000 identified as being available, the following motion was made.

Motion:Judge Lynn Davis moved to reinstate funding of two district court law clerk positions. Judge Hadfield seconded the motion. The motion carried with one opposition.

Mr. Becker reminded the Judicial Council that the consideration of every other month meetings for the Judicial Council, Committees, Boards, TCEs, Clerks and CPOs in order to reduce travel costs by $50,000 had been deferred from the last Judicial Council meeting. Mr. Becker stated that the Judicial Council's position had been that the Judicial Council, its Committees and the Boards should continue to meet monthly. Mr. Becker has discussed with the TCEs, Clerks and CPOs the recommendation of having them go to an every other month meeting schedule. This would reduce travel costs by approximately $40,000. Mr. Becker proposed that the additional $10,000 could be generated by expediting the cancellation of the lease on the probation unit on 53rd South before July 1st.

Motion:Judge Valdez moved to have the TCEs, Clerks and CPOs as well as committees which are non-Council committees go to an every other month meeting schedule. Justice Wilkins seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

  6.   SPECIAL SESSION UPDATE: (Richard Schwermer)

Mr. Schwermer advised the Council that during the 2001 Special Session there was an attempt to get back some authority for the Bar to pursue people who are engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Mr. Schwermer reviewed with the Judicial Council the proposed legislation, sponsored by Representative Stephen Urquhart, entitled Unauthorized Practice of Law Amendments. The legislation creates legislative findings on the accessibility of legal services and charges the judiciary to study the issue and suggest changes. Justice Wilkins has been made Chair of the Supreme Court Study Committee on Delivery of Legal Services which will study this issue.

Justice Wilkins reported that the committee is comprised of: five legislators (Representative Greg Curtis, Representative Stephen Urquhart, Representative Patrice Arent, Senator Karen Hale and Senator Michael Waddoups), two Supreme Court Justices (Justice Michael Wilkins and Justice Leonard Russon), one District Court Judge (Judge Rodney Page) and two representatives of the State Bar (Mr. John Adams and Mr. John Baldwin). The first meeting of the committee was spent discussing what the committee should be studying. Justice Wilkins stated that no final conclusions were made as to what will be studied. The committee will meet monthly except during the legislative session.

Mr. Schwermer reported on three proposed bill requests which he wanted the Judicial Council to be aware of.

  7.   GOVERNOR'S DUI TASK FORCE: (Richard Schwermer)

Mr. Schwermer distributed copies of the draft report from the Governor's Council on Driving Under the Influence. He has been serving on the Governor's Council on DUI for the last two years. He briefly reviewed the items from the draft report which affect the courts.

Mr. Schwermer informed the Judicial Council that some people are encouraging the notion of separate DUI courts either in district courts or justice courts. The University of Utah is looking at the Substance Abuse Court that Justice Court Judge Michael Kwan has implemented in his Taylorsville Justice Court.


Mr. Shea joined the Judicial Council to present his memo outlining the recommendations from the Policy and Planning Committee regarding the issue of supplementing the court commissioner's retirement benefits. He indicated that the Policy and Planning Committee had considered two alternatives:

Motion: Justice Wilkins moved to refer the recommendations to the Board of District Court Judges, the Board of Juvenile Court Judges and the Court Commissioners for their review and comment. Judge James Davis seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

  9.   "CHOOSE FREEDOM: KIDS AND THE LAW": (Jan Thompson)

Ms. Thompson informed the Judicial Council that a new video has been produced to be shown in schools. Most of the video is excerpted from the "Parent to Parent" video. Judge Ric Oddone, Third District Juvenile Court Judge, speaks directly to the juveniles in the new video. The video has been enthusiastically reviewed by the Jordan School District and the Granite School District. It will be sent to the Utah State Board of Education to be part of the curriculum to be used on a statewide basis. The production of the video was funded by grant money provided by the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. The total funding was $5,000. The Judicial Council viewed the video and Ms. Thompson distributed copies of the video to all Judicial Council members.


Judge Russell Bench, former Judicial Council member, joined the Judicial Council for lunch. Chief Justice Howe presented an award to Judge Bench for recognition of his three-year service on the Judicial Council.


There was no Executive Session held.


Monday - December 17, 2001

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.