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H.B. 324

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JUSTICE COURT AMENDMENTS

2    
1997 GENERAL SESSION

3    
STATE OF UTAH

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Sponsor: Christine R. Fox

5    AN ACT RELATING TO CITIES AND TOWNS AND THE JUDICIAL CODE; PROVIDING
6    FOR MUNICIPALITIES TO ELECT TO CREATE OR REVOKE AN ELECTION TO
7    CREATE A JUSTICE COURT; MAKING TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS; AND
8    PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
9    This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
10    AMENDS:
11         10-3-923, as last amended by Chapter 198, Laws of Utah 1996
12         78-3-4, as last amended by Chapter 198, Laws of Utah 1996
13         78-3-21, as last amended by Chapters 1, 198 and 254, Laws of Utah 1996
14         78-5-101, as enacted by Chapter 157, Laws of Utah 1989
15    Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
16        Section 1. Section 10-3-923 is amended to read:
17         10-3-923. Authority of municipality to create justice court.
18        (1) A municipality may create a justice court under Title 78, Chapter 5.
19        (2) Except under the provisions of Section 78-5-139, a justice court established under this
20    section [shall] may not be eliminated prior to December 31, 1992, without the approval of the
21    Legislature.
22        (3) The governing body of the municipality shall petition the Legislature to adopt a joint
23    resolution to approve the dissolution of the justice court.
24        (4) [(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the] The following municipalities may
25    elect to assume local responsibility for those matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the justice
26    courts: Brigham City, Logan, Ogden, Roy, Clearfield, Layton, Bountiful, Kaysville, Salt Lake
27    City, Murray, Sandy, West Valley City, Tooele, Park City, Orem, Provo, Spanish Fork, American


1    Fork, Elk Ridge, Salem, Cedar City, St. George, Richfield, Price, Moab, h TAYLORSVILLE, h
1a     Vernal, and Roosevelt.
2        [(b) If municipality does not elect to assume local responsibility under Subsection (a), the
3    district court of the county shall have the same jurisdiction as the justice courts.]
4        (5) Election by these municipalities shall be made effective on January 1, 1992, by written
5    declaration delivered to the Judicial Council on or before July 1, 1991. Municipalities not electing
6    to assume local responsibility for the jurisdiction of the justice courts on January 1, 1992, may
7    make [such] an election effective on July 1 of any even-numbered year starting in 1994 by written
8    declaration delivered to the Judicial Council at least one year prior to the effective date of the
9    election.
10        (6) Once made, the election of a municipality to assume local responsibility for the
11    jurisdiction of the justice court may not be revoked without the prior approval of the Legislature.
12    To obtain the approval of the Legislature, the governing authority of the municipality shall petition
13    the Legislature to adopt a joint resolution to approve the revocation. The municipality shall also
14    provide notice to the Judicial Council not later than the July 1 immediately prior to the general
15    session of its intent to seek legislative approval.
16        (7) (a) For the purposes of this section, to "assume local responsibility for the jurisdiction
17    of the justice court" means to:
18        (i) establish a justice court within the municipality;
19        (ii) establish a justice court under Title 11, Chapter 13, Interlocal Cooperation Act; or
20        (iii) adjudicate those matters within the jurisdiction of the justice court in the county
21    precinct justice court.
22        (b) Except as provided in Subsections (2) and (3), a municipality may amend its method
23    of assuming local responsibility for the jurisdiction of the justice court without legislative
24    approval.
25        (8) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Judicial Council by rule provide resources and
26    procedures adequate for the timely disposition of all matters brought before the courts. It is the
27    intent of the Legislature that based on the allocation of responsibility between courts of record and
28    not of record, the administrative office of the courts and local governments cooperate in allocating
29    resources to operate the courts in the most efficient and effective manner.
30        Section 2. Section 78-3-4 is amended to read:
31         78-3-4. Jurisdiction -- Appeals.
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1        (1) The district court has original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal, not excepted
2    in the Utah Constitution and not prohibited by law.
3        (2) The district court judges may issue all extraordinary writs and other writs necessary
4    to carry into effect their orders, judgments, and decrees.
5        (3) The district court has jurisdiction over matters of lawyer discipline consistent with the
6    rules of the Supreme Court.
7        (4) The district court has jurisdiction over all matters properly filed in the circuit court
8    prior to July 1, 1996.
9        (5) The district court has appellate jurisdiction to adjudicate trials de novo of the
10    judgments of the justice court and of the small claims department of the district court.
11        (6) Appeals from the final orders, judgments, and decrees of the district court are under
12    Sections 78-2-2 and 78-2a-3.
13        (7) The district court has jurisdiction to review agency adjudicative proceedings as set
14    forth in Title 63, Chapter 46b, Administrative Procedures Act, and shall comply with the
15    requirements of that chapter, in its review of agency adjudicative proceedings.
16        (8) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998, the district
17    court has subject matter jurisdiction in class B misdemeanors, class C misdemeanors, infractions,
18    and violations of ordinances only if:
19        (a) there is no justice court with territorial jurisdiction;
20        (b) the matter was properly filed in the circuit court prior to July 1, 1996; h [ or ] h
21        (c) the offense occurred within the boundaries of the municipality in which the district
22    courthouse is located and that municipality has not formed a justice court h [. ] : OR
22a         (d) THEY ARE INCLUDED IN AN INDICTMENT OR INFORMATION COVERING A SINGLE
22b     CRIMINAL EPISODE ALLEGING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY OR A CLASS A MISDEMEANOR. h
23        Section 3. Section 78-3-21 is amended to read:
24         78-3-21. Judicial Council -- Creation -- Members -- Terms and election --
25     Responsibilities -- Reports.
26        (1) The Judicial Council, established by Article VIII, Section 12, Utah Constitution, shall
27    be composed of:
28        (a) the chief justice of the Supreme Court;
29        (b) one member elected by the justices of the Supreme Court;
30        (c) one member elected by the judges of the Court of Appeals;
31        (d) five members elected by the judges of the district courts;

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1        (e) two members elected by the judges of the juvenile courts;
2        (f) three members elected by the justice court judges; and
3        (g) a member or ex officio member of the Board of Commissioners of the Utah State Bar
4    who is an active member of the Bar in good standing elected by the Board of Commissioners.
5        (2) (a) The chief justice of the Supreme Court shall act as presiding officer of the council
6    and chief administrative officer for the courts. The chief justice shall vote only in the case of a tie.
7        (b) All members of the council shall serve for three-year terms. If a council member
8    should die, resign, retire, or otherwise fail to complete a term of office, the appropriate constituent
9    group shall elect a member to complete the term of office. In courts having more than one
10    member, the members shall be elected to staggered terms. The person elected to the Judicial
11    Council by the Board of Commissioners shall be a member or ex officio member of the Board of
12    Commissioners and an active member of the Bar in good standing at the time the person is elected.
13    The person may complete a three-year term of office on the Judicial Council even though the
14    person ceases to be a member or ex officio member of the Board of Commissioners. The person
15    shall be an active member of the Bar in good standing for the entire term of the Judicial Council.
16        (c) Elections shall be held under rules made by the Judicial Council.
17        (3) The council is responsible for the development of uniform administrative policy for
18    the courts throughout the state. The presiding officer of the Judicial Council is responsible for the
19    implementation of the policies developed by the council and for the general management of the
20    courts, with the aid of the administrator. The council has authority and responsibility to:
21        (a) establish and assure compliance with policies for the operation of the courts, including
22    uniform rules and forms; and
23        (b) publish and submit to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the
24    Legislature an annual report of the operations of the courts, which shall include financial and
25    statistical data and may include suggestions and recommendations for legislation.
26        (4) (a) The Judicial Council shall make rules establishing:
27        (i) standards for judicial competence; and
28        (ii) a formal program for the evaluation of judicial performance containing the elements
29    of and meeting the requirements of this subsection.
30        (b) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
31    program has improvement in the performance of individual judges, court commissioners, and the

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1    judiciary as its goal.
2        (c) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
3    program includes at least all of the following elements:
4        (i) a requirement that judges complete a certain number of hours of approved judicial
5    education each year;
6        (ii) a requirement that each judge certify that he is:
7        (A) physically and mentally competent to serve; and
8        (B) in compliance with the Codes of Judicial Conduct and Judicial Administration; and
9        (iii) a requirement that the judge receive a satisfactory score on questions identified by the
10    Judicial Council as relating to judicial certification on a survey of members of the Bar developed
11    by the Judicial Council in conjunction with the American Bar Association.
12        (d) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
13    program considers at least the following criteria:
14        (i) integrity;
15        (ii) knowledge;
16        (iii) understanding of the law;
17        (iv) ability to communicate;
18        (v) punctuality;
19        (vi) preparation;
20        (vii) attentiveness;
21        (viii) dignity;
22        (ix) control over proceedings; and
23        (x) skills as a manager.
24        (e) (i) The judicial council shall provide the judicial performance evaluation information
25    required by Subsection 20A-7-702(2) to the Lieutenant Governor for publication in the voter
26    information pamphlet.
27        (ii) Not later than August 1 of the year before the expiration of the term of office of a
28    municipal court judge, the Judicial Council shall provide the judicial performance evaluation
29    information required by Subsection 20A-7-702(2) to the appointing authority of a municipal
30    justice court judge.
31        (5) The council shall establish standards for the operation of the courts of the state

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1    including, but not limited to, facilities, court security, support services, and staff levels for judicial
2    and support personnel.
3        (6) The council shall by rule establish the time and manner for destroying court records,
4    including computer records, and shall establish retention periods for these records.
5        (7) (a) Consistent with the requirements of judicial office and security policies, the council
6    shall establish procedures to govern the assignment of state vehicles to public officers of the
7    judicial branch.
8        (b) The vehicles shall be marked in a manner consistent with Section 41-1a-407 and may
9    be assigned for unlimited use, within the state only.
10        (8) (a) The council shall advise judicial officers and employees concerning ethical issues
11    and shall establish procedures for issuing informal and formal advisory opinions on these issues.
12        (b) Compliance with an informal opinion is evidence of good faith compliance with the
13    Code of Judicial Conduct.
14        (c) A formal opinion constitutes a binding interpretation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
15        (9) (a) The council shall establish written procedures authorizing the presiding officer of
16    the council to appoint judges of courts of record by special or general assignment to serve
17    temporarily in another level of court in a specific court or generally within that level. The
18    appointment shall be for a specific period and shall be reported to the council.
19        (b) These procedures shall be developed in accordance with Subsection 78-3-24(10)
20    regarding temporary appointment of judges.
21        (10) The Judicial Council may by rule designate municipalities in addition to those
22    designated by statute as a location of a trial court of record. There shall be at least one court clerk's
23    office open during regular court hours in each county. Any trial court of record may hold court
24    in any municipality designated as a location of a court of record. Designations by the Judicial
25    Council may not be made between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998.
26        (11) The Judicial Council shall by rule determine whether the administration of a court
27    shall be the obligation of the administrative office of the courts or whether the administrative
28    office of the courts should contract with local government for court support services.
29        (12) The Judicial Council may by rule direct that a district or circuit court location be
30    administered from another court location within the county.
31        (13) The Judicial Council shall establish and supervise the Office of Guardian Ad Litem

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1    Director, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 78-3a-911 and 78-3a-912, and assure
2    compliance of the guardian ad litem program with state and federal law, regulation, and policy,
3    and court rules.
4        Section 4. Section 78-5-101 is amended to read:
5         78-5-101. Creation of justice court -- Not of record.
6        Under Article VIII, Section 1, Utah Constitution, there is created a court not of record
7    known as the justice court. The judges of this court are justice court judges. h [ A ] EXCEPT FOR
7a     THOSE MUNICIPALITIES LISTED IN SECTION 10-3-923(4), A h municipality or
8    county may not establish a justice court between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998.
9        Section 5. Effective date.
10        This act takes effect on July 1, 1997.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-5-97 11:20 AM


A limited legal review of this bill raises no obvious constitutional or statutory concerns.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


















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