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First Substitute S.B. 93

Senator Thomas V. Hatch proposes the following substitute bill:




Sponsor: Thomas V. Hatch

             5      This act modifies the Judicial Code as it pertains to justice court judges. It requires them
             6      to abide by all administrative policies of the county or municipality in which they are
             7      employed.
             8      This act affects sections of Utah Code Annotated 1953 as follows:
             9      AMENDS:
             10          78-3-21, as last amended by Chapter 221, Laws of Utah 2000
             11          78-5-110, as enacted by Chapter 157, Laws of Utah 1989
             12      ENACTS:
             13          78-5-106.5, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             14      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             15          Section 1. Section 78-3-21 is amended to read:
             16           78-3-21. Judicial Council -- Creation -- Members -- Terms and election --
             17      Responsibilities -- Reports.
             18          (1) The Judicial Council, established by Article VIII, Section 12, Utah Constitution,
             19      shall be composed of:
             20          (a) the chief justice of the Supreme Court;
             21          (b) one member elected by the justices of the Supreme Court;
             22          (c) one member elected by the judges of the Court of Appeals;
             23          (d) five members elected by the judges of the district courts;
             24          (e) two members elected by the judges of the juvenile courts;
             25          (f) three members elected by the justice court judges; and

             26          (g) a member or ex officio member of the Board of Commissioners of the Utah State
             27      Bar who is an active member of the Bar in good standing elected by the Board of
             28      Commissioners.
             29          (2) (a) The chief justice of the Supreme Court shall act as presiding officer of the
             30      council and chief administrative officer for the courts. The chief justice shall vote only in the
             31      case of a tie.
             32          (b) All members of the council shall serve for three-year terms. If a council member
             33      should die, resign, retire, or otherwise fail to complete a term of office, the appropriate
             34      constituent group shall elect a member to complete the term of office. In courts having more
             35      than one member, the members shall be elected to staggered terms. The person elected to the
             36      Judicial Council by the Board of Commissioners shall be a member or ex officio member of
             37      the Board of Commissioners and an active member of the Bar in good standing at the time the
             38      person is elected. The person may complete a three-year term of office on the Judicial Council
             39      even though the person ceases to be a member or ex officio member of the Board of
             40      Commissioners. The person shall be an active member of the Bar in good standing for the
             41      entire term of the Judicial Council.
             42          (c) Elections shall be held under rules made by the Judicial Council.
             43          (3) The council is responsible for the development of uniform administrative policy for
             44      the courts throughout the state. The presiding officer of the Judicial Council is responsible for
             45      the implementation of the policies developed by the council and for the general management of
             46      the courts, with the aid of the administrator. The council has authority and responsibility to:
             47          (a) establish and assure compliance with policies for the operation of the courts,
             48      including uniform rules and forms; and
             49          (b) publish and submit to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and the
             50      Legislature an annual report of the operations of the courts, which shall include financial and
             51      statistical data and may include suggestions and recommendations for legislation.
             52          (4) (a) The Judicial Council shall make rules establishing:
             53          (i) standards for judicial competence; and
             54          (ii) a formal program for the evaluation of judicial performance containing the
             55      elements of and meeting the requirements of this Subsection (4).
             56          (b) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation

             57      program has improvement in the performance of individual judges, court commissioners, and
             58      the judiciary as its goal.
             59          (c) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
             60      program includes at least all of the following elements:
             61          (i) a requirement that judges complete a certain number of hours of approved judicial
             62      education each year;
             63          (ii) a requirement that each judge certify that he is:
             64          (A) physically and mentally competent to serve; and
             65          (B) in compliance with the Codes of Judicial Conduct and Judicial Administration; and
             66          (iii) a requirement that the judge receive a satisfactory score on questions identified by
             67      the Judicial Council as relating to judicial certification on a survey of members of the Bar
             68      developed by the Judicial Council in conjunction with the American Bar Association.
             69          (d) The Judicial Council shall ensure that the formal judicial performance evaluation
             70      program considers at least the following criteria:
             71          (i) integrity;
             72          (ii) knowledge;
             73          (iii) understanding of the law;
             74          (iv) ability to communicate;
             75          (v) punctuality;
             76          (vi) preparation;
             77          (vii) attentiveness;
             78          (viii) dignity;
             79          (ix) control over proceedings; and
             80          (x) skills as a manager.
             81          (e) (i) The Judicial Council shall provide the judicial performance evaluation
             82      information and the disciplinary data required by Subsection 20A-7-702 (2) to the Lieutenant
             83      Governor for publication in the voter information pamphlet.
             84          (ii) Not later than August 1 of the year before the expiration of the term of office of a
             85      [municipal] justice court judge, the Judicial Council shall provide the judicial performance
             86      evaluation information required by Subsection 20A-7-702 (2) to the appointing authority of a
             87      [municipal] justice court judge.

             88          (5) The council shall establish standards for the operation of the courts of the state
             89      including, but not limited to, facilities, court security, support services, and staff levels for
             90      judicial and support personnel.
             91          (6) The council shall by rule establish the time and manner for destroying court
             92      records, including computer records, and shall establish retention periods for these records.
             93          (7) (a) Consistent with the requirements of judicial office and security policies, the
             94      council shall establish procedures to govern the assignment of state vehicles to public officers
             95      of the judicial branch.
             96          (b) The vehicles shall be marked in a manner consistent with Section 41-1a-407 and
             97      may be assigned for unlimited use, within the state only.
             98          (8) (a) The council shall advise judicial officers and employees concerning ethical
             99      issues and shall establish procedures for issuing informal and formal advisory opinions on
             100      these issues.
             101          (b) Compliance with an informal opinion is evidence of good faith compliance with the
             102      Code of Judicial Conduct.
             103          (c) A formal opinion constitutes a binding interpretation of the Code of Judicial
             104      Conduct.
             105          (9) (a) The council shall establish written procedures authorizing the presiding officer
             106      of the council to appoint judges of courts of record by special or general assignment to serve
             107      temporarily in another level of court in a specific court or generally within that level. The
             108      appointment shall be for a specific period and shall be reported to the council.
             109          (b) These procedures shall be developed in accordance with Subsection 78-3-24 (10)
             110      regarding temporary appointment of judges.
             111          (10) The Judicial Council may by rule designate municipalities in addition to those
             112      designated by statute as a location of a trial court of record. There shall be at least one court
             113      clerk's office open during regular court hours in each county. Any trial court of record may
             114      hold court in any municipality designated as a location of a court of record. Designations by
             115      the Judicial Council may not be made between July 1, 1997, and July 1, 1998.
             116          (11) The Judicial Council shall by rule determine whether the administration of a court
             117      shall be the obligation of the administrative office of the courts or whether the administrative
             118      office of the courts should contract with local government for court support services.

             119          (12) The Judicial Council may by rule direct that a district court location be
             120      administered from another court location within the county.
             121          (13) The Judicial Council shall establish and supervise the Office of Guardian Ad
             122      Litem Director, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 78-3a-911 and 78-3a-912 , and
             123      assure compliance of the guardian ad litem program with state and federal law, regulation, and
             124      policy, and court rules.
             125          (14) The Judicial Council shall establish and maintain, in cooperation with the Office of
             126      Recovery Services within the Department of Human Services, the part of the state case registry
             127      that contains records of each support order established or modified in the state on or after
             128      October 1, 1998, as is necessary to comply with the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 654a.
             129          Section 2. Section 78-5-106.5 is enacted to read:
             130          78-5-106.5. Justice court judge administrative responsibilities.
             131          (1) Justice court judges shall comply with and ensure that court personnel comply with
             132      applicable county or municipal rules and regulations related to personnel, budgets, and other
             133      administrative functions.
             134          (2) Failure by the judge to comply with applicable administrative county or municipal
             135      rules and regulations may be referred, by the county executive or municipal legislative body, to
             136      the state Justice Court Administrator.
             137          (3) Compliance with appropriate administrative requirements shall be considered as
             138      part of the Judicial Council's judicial performance evaluation program for justice court judges.
             139          (4) Repeated or willful non-compliance may be referred, by the county executive or
             140      municipal legislative body, to the Judicial Conduct Commission.
             141          Section 3. Section 78-5-110 is amended to read:
             142           78-5-110. Compensation and expenses -- Clerical personnel.
             143          (1) The county, city, or town creating or maintaining a justice court shall provide and
             144      compensate clerical personnel to conduct the business of the court.
             145          (2) The selection, supervision, and discipline of court clerical personnel shall be in
             146      accordance with local government personnel policies[, with the concurrence of the justice court
             147      judge].
             148          (3) Clerical personnel are governed by Title 52, Chapter 3, regarding employment of
             149      relatives.

             150          (4) The county, city, or town assumes the cost of travel and training expenses of
             151      clerical personnel at training sessions conducted by the Judicial Council.

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