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H.B. 324 Enrolled

    

JUSTICE COURT AMENDMENTS

    
1997 GENERAL SESSION

    
STATE OF UTAH

    
Sponsor: Christine R. Fox

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


        [(b) If municipality does not elect to assume local responsibility under Subsection (a), the
    district court of the county shall have the same jurisdiction as the justice courts.]
        (5) Election by these municipalities shall be made effective on January 1, 1992, by written
    declaration delivered to the Judicial Council on or before July 1, 1991. Municipalities not electing
    to assume local responsibility for the jurisdiction of the justice courts on January 1, 1992, may make
    [such] an election effective on July 1 of any even-numbered year starting in 1994 by written
    declaration delivered to the Judicial Council at least one year prior to the effective date of the
    election.
        (6) Once made, the election of a municipality to assume local responsibility for the
    jurisdiction of the justice court may not be revoked without the prior approval of the Legislature.
    To obtain the approval of the Legislature, the governing authority of the municipality shall petition
    the Legislature to adopt a joint resolution to approve the revocation. The municipality shall also
    provide notice to the Judicial Council not later than the July 1 immediately prior to the general
    session of its intent to seek legislative approval.
        (7) (a) For the purposes of this section, to "assume local responsibility for the jurisdiction
    of the justice court" means to:
        (i) establish a justice court within the municipality;
        (ii) establish a justice court under Title 11, Chapter 13, Interlocal Cooperation Act; or
        (iii) adjudicate those matters within the jurisdiction of the justice court in the county precinct
    justice court.
        (b) Except as provided in Subsections (2) and (3), a municipality may amend its method of
    assuming local responsibility for the jurisdiction of the justice court without legislative approval.
        (8) It is the intent of the Legislature that the Judicial Council by rule provide resources and
    procedures adequate for the timely disposition of all matters brought before the courts. It is the
    intent of the Legislature that based on the allocation of responsibility between courts of record and
    not of record, the administrative office of the courts and local governments cooperate in allocating
    resources to operate the courts in the most efficient and effective manner.
        Section 2. Section 78-3-4 is amended to read:

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         78-3-4. Jurisdiction -- Appeals.
        (1) The district court has original jurisdiction in all matters civil and criminal, not excepted
    in the Utah Constitution and not prohibited by law.
        (2) The district court judges may issue all extraordinary writs and other writs necessary to
    carry into effect their orders, judgments, and decrees.
        (3) The district court has jurisdiction over matters of lawyer discipline consistent with the
    rules of the Supreme Court.
        (4) The district court has jurisdiction over all matters properly filed in the circuit court prior
    to July 1, 1996.
        (5) The district court has appellate jurisdiction to adjudicate trials de novo of the judgments
    of the justice court and of the small claims department of the district court.
        (6) Appeals from the final orders, judgments, and decrees of the district court are under
    Sections 78-2-2 and 78-2a-3.
        (7) The district court has jurisdiction to review agency adjudicative proceedings as set forth
    in Title 63, Chapter 46b, Administrative Procedures Act, and shall comply with the requirements of
    that chapter, in its review of agency adjudicative proceedings.
        (8) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998, the district
    court has subject matter jurisdiction in class B misdemeanors, class C misdemeanors, infractions,
    and violations of ordinances only if:
        (a) there is no justice court with territorial jurisdiction;
        (b) the matter was properly filed in the circuit court prior to July 1, 1996;
        (c) the offense occurred within the boundaries of the municipality in which the district
    courthouse is located and that municipality has not formed a justice court; or
        (d) they are included in an indictment or information covering a single criminal episode
    alleging the commission of a felony or a class A misdemeanor.
        Section 3. Section 78-3-21 is amended to read:
         78-3-21. Judicial Council -- Creation -- Members -- Terms and election --
     Responsibilities -- Reports.

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        (1) The Judicial Council, established by Article VIII, Section 12, Utah Constitution, shall
    be composed of:
        (a) the chief justice of the Supreme Court;
        (b) one member elected by the justices of the Supreme Court;
        (c) one member elected by the judges of the Court of Appeals;
        (d) five members elected by the judges of the district courts;
        (e) two members elected by the judges of the juvenile courts;
        (f) three members elected by the justice court judges; and
        (g) a member or ex officio member of the Board of Commissioners of the Utah State Bar
    who is an active member of the Bar in good standing elected by the Board of Commissioners.
        (2) (a) The chief justice of the Supreme Court shall act as presiding officer of the council
    and chief administrative officer for the courts. The chief justice shall vote only in the case of a tie.
        (b) All members of the council shall serve for three-year terms. If a council member should
    die, resign, retire, or otherwise fail to complete a term of office, the appropriate constituent group
    shall elect a member to complete the term of office. In courts having more than one member, the
    members shall be elected to staggered terms. The person elected to the Judicial Council by the
    Board of Commissioners shall be a member or ex-officio member of the Board of Commissioners
    and an active member of the Bar in good standing at the time the person is elected. The person may
    complete a three-year term of office on the Judicial Council even though the person ceases to be a
    member or ex-officio member of the Board of Commissioners. The person shall be an active
    member of the Bar in good standing for the entire term of the Judicial Council.
        (c) Elections shall be held under rules made by the Judicial Council.
        (3) The council is responsible for the development of uniform administrative policy for the
    courts throughout the state. The presiding officer of the Judicial Council is responsible for the
    implementation of the policies developed by the council and for the general management of the
    courts, with the aid of the administrator. The council has authority and responsibility to:
        (a) establish and assure compliance with policies for the operation of the courts, including
    uniform rules and forms; and

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        (b) publish and submit to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the
    Legislature an annual report of the operations of the courts, which shall include financial and
    statistical data and may include suggestions and recommendations for legislation.
        (4) (a) The Judicial Council shall make rules establishing:
        (i) standards for judicial competence; and
        (ii) a formal program for the evaluation of judicial performance containing the elements of
    and meeting the requirements of this subsection.
        (b) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
    program has improvement in the performance of individual judges, court commissioners, and the
    judiciary as its goal.
        (c) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
    program includes at least all of the following elements:
        (i) a requirement that judges complete a certain number of hours of approved judicial
    education each year;
        (ii) a requirement that each judge certify that he is:
        (A) physically and mentally competent to serve; and
        (B) in compliance with the Codes of Judicial Conduct and Judicial Administration; and
        (iii) a requirement that the judge receive a satisfactory score on questions identified by the
    Judicial Council as relating to judicial certification on a survey of members of the Bar developed by
    the Judicial Council in conjunction with the American Bar Association.
        (d) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
    program considers at least the following criteria:
        (i) integrity;
        (ii) knowledge;
        (iii) understanding of the law;
        (iv) ability to communicate;
        (v) punctuality;
        (vi) preparation;

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        (vii) attentiveness;
        (viii) dignity;
        (ix) control over proceedings; and
        (x) skills as a manager.
        (e) (i) The Judicial Council shall provide the judicial performance evaluation information
    required by Subsection 20A-7-702(2) to the Lieutenant Governor for publication in the voter
    information pamphlet.
        (ii) Not later than August 1 of the year before the expiration of the term of office of a
    municipal court judge, the Judicial Council shall provide the judicial performance evaluation
    information required by Subsection 20A-7-702(2) to the appointing authority of a municipal justice
    court judge.
        (5) The council shall establish standards for the operation of the courts of the state including,
    but not limited to, facilities, court security, support services, and staff levels for judicial and support
    personnel.
        (6) The council shall by rule establish the time and manner for destroying court records,
    including computer records, and shall establish retention periods for these records.
        (7) (a) Consistent with the requirements of judicial office and security policies, the council
    shall establish procedures to govern the assignment of state vehicles to public officers of the judicial
    branch.
        (b) The vehicles shall be marked in a manner consistent with Section 41-1a-407 and may
    be assigned for unlimited use, within the state only.
        (8) (a) The council shall advise judicial officers and employees concerning ethical issues and
    shall establish procedures for issuing informal and formal advisory opinions on these issues.
        (b) Compliance with an informal opinion is evidence of good faith compliance with the
    Code of Judicial Conduct.
        (c) A formal opinion constitutes a binding interpretation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
        (9) (a) The council shall establish written procedures authorizing the presiding officer of the
    council to appoint judges of courts of record by special or general assignment to serve temporarily

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    in another level of court in a specific court or generally within that level. The appointment shall be
    for a specific period and shall be reported to the council.
        (b) These procedures shall be developed in accordance with Subsection 78-3-24(10)
    regarding temporary appointment of judges.
        (10) The Judicial Council may by rule designate municipalities in addition to those
    designated by statute as a location of a trial court of record. There shall be at least one court clerk's
    office open during regular court hours in each county. Any trial court of record may hold court in
    any municipality designated as a location of a court of record. Designations by the Judicial Council
    may not be made between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998.
        (11) The Judicial Council shall by rule determine whether the administration of a court shall
    be the obligation of the administrative office of the courts or whether the administrative office of the
    courts should contract with local government for court support services.
        (12) The Judicial Council may by rule direct that a district or circuit court location be
    administered from another court location within the county.
        (13) The Judicial Council shall establish and supervise the Office of Guardian Ad Litem
    Director, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 78-3a-911 and 78-3a-912, and assure
    compliance of the guardian ad litem program with state and federal law, regulation, and policy, and
    court rules.
        Section 4. Section 78-5-101 is amended to read:
         78-5-101. Creation of justice court -- Not of record.
        Under Article VIII, Section 1, Utah Constitution, there is created a court not of record known
    as the justice court. The judges of this court are justice court judges. Except for those municipalities
    listed in Subsection 10-3-923(4), a municipality or county may not establish a justice court between
    July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998.
        Section 5. Effective date.
        This act takes effect on July 1, 1997.

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