7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill amends provisions regarding the judiciary and judges.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This bill:
12 ▸ requires a mayor of a city or town to fill the vacancy of a municipal justice court
13 judge and, until the position is filled, allows the city or town to contract with
14 another jurisdiction for judicial services;
15 ▸ requires a county appointing authority to fill the vacancy of a county justice court
17 ▸ repeals the provision allowing a will to be deposited with a court for safekeeping
18 during the testator's lifetime;
19 ▸ modifies a provision concerning delivery of a will;
20 ▸ amends provisions regarding the Online Court Assistance Program;
21 ▸ amends provisions regarding an appeal to the district court of a justice court
23 ▸ amends a provision regarding an appeal of a small claims court decision;
24 ▸ amends provisions regarding jury selection and service; and
25 ▸ makes technical changes.
26 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
28 Other Special Clauses:
30 Utah Code Sections Affected:
32 20A-1-506, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapters 3 and 19
33 75-2-902, as repealed and reenacted by Laws of Utah 1998, Chapter 39
34 77-10a-5, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapters 3 and 382
35 78A-2-501, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapters 94 and 263
36 78A-2-502, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2014, Chapter 387
37 78A-7-118, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2016, Chapter 33
38 78A-8-106, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3
39 78B-1-102, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3
40 78B-1-106, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter 3
41 78B-1-107, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 202
42 78B-1-110, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 17
44 75-2-901, as repealed and reenacted by Laws of Utah 1998, Chapter 39
46 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
47 Section 1. Section 20A-1-506 is amended to read:
48 20A-1-506. Vacancy in the office of justice court judge.
49 (1) As used in this section:
50 (a) "Appointing authority" means:
51 (i) for a county:
52 (A) the chair of the county commission in a county having the county commission or
53 expanded county commission form of county government; and
54 (B) the county executive in a county having the county executive-council form of
55 government; and
56 (ii) for a city or town, the mayor of the city or town.
57 (b) "Local legislative body" means:
58 (i) for a county, the county commission or county council; and
59 (ii) for a city or town, the council of the city or town.
60 (2) (a) If a vacancy occurs in the office of a municipal justice court judge before the
61 completion of [
62 (i) shall fill the vacancy [
63 procedures and requirements for appointments in Section 78A-7-202; [
64 (ii) may contract with a justice court judge of the county, an adjacent county, or another
65 municipality within those counties for judicial services until the vacancy is filled.
70 Administrator in writing of [
73 (3) (a) If a vacancy occurs in the office of a county justice court judge before the
74 completion of [
75 vacancy [
76 for appointments in Section 78A-7-202.
77 (b) The appointing authority shall notify the Office of the State Court Administrator in
78 writing of [
79 days after the appointment is made.
80 (4) (a) When a vacancy occurs in the office of a justice court judge, the appointing
81 authority shall:
82 (i) advertise the vacancy and solicit applications for the vacancy;
83 (ii) appoint the best qualified candidate to office based solely upon fitness for office;
84 (iii) comply with the procedures and requirements of Title 52, Chapter 3, Prohibiting
85 Employment of Relatives, in making appointments to fill the vacancy; and
86 (iv) submit the name of the appointee to the local legislative body.
87 (b) If the local legislative body does not confirm the appointment within 30 days of
88 submission, the appointing authority may either appoint another of the applicants or reopen the
89 vacancy by advertisement and solicitations of applications.
90 Section 2. Section 75-2-902 is amended to read:
91 75-2-902. Duty of custodian of will -- Liability.
92 After the death of a testator and on request of an interested person, a person having
93 custody of a will of the testator shall deliver it with reasonable promptness to a person able to
94 secure its probate [
95 liable to [
96 person who wilfully refuses or fails to deliver a will after being ordered by the court in a
97 proceeding brought for the purpose of compelling delivery is subject to penalty for contempt of
99 Section 3. Section 77-10a-5 is amended to read:
100 77-10a-5. Grand jurors -- Qualification and selection -- Limits on disclosure.
101 (1) Grand jurors shall meet the qualifications provided for jurors generally in Title
102 78B, Chapter 1, Part 1, Jury and Witness Act. Grand jurors shall be selected from the
104 (2) The names of grand jurors are classified as protected records under Title 63G,
105 Chapter 2, Government Records Access and Management Act.
106 Section 4. Section 78A-2-501 is amended to read:
107 78A-2-501. Definitions -- Online Court Assistance Program -- Purpose of
108 program -- Online Court Assistance Account -- User's fee.
109 (1) As used in this part:
110 (a) "Account" means the Online Court Assistance Account created in this section.
111 (b) "Board" means the Online Court Assistance Program Policy Board created in
112 Section 78A-2-502.
113 (c) "Program" means the Online Court Assistance Program created in this section.
115 Court Assistance Program" administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide
116 the public with information about civil procedures and to assist the public in preparing and
117 filing civil pleadings and other papers in:
118 (a) uncontested divorces;
119 (b) enforcement of orders in the divorce decree;
120 (c) landlord and tenant actions;
121 (d) guardianship actions; and
122 (e) other types of proceedings approved by the [
125 (a) minimize the costs of civil litigation;
126 (b) improve access to the courts; and
127 (c) provide for informed use of the courts and the law by pro se litigants.
129 78A-2-301 and 78A-2-301.5 if a person files a complaint, petition, answer, or response
130 prepared through the program. There shall be no fee for using the program or for papers filed
131 subsequent to the initial pleading.
132 (b) There is created within the General Fund a restricted account known as the Online
133 Court Assistance Account. The fees collected under this Subsection [
134 in the restricted account and appropriated by the Legislature to the Administrative Office of the
135 Courts to develop, operate, and maintain the program and to support the use of the program
136 through education of the public.
139 available to all pro se litigants within the program.
140 Section 5. Section 78A-2-502 is amended to read:
141 78A-2-502. Creation of policy board -- Membership -- Terms -- Chair -- Quorum
142 -- Expenses.
143 (1) There is created a 13 member policy board to be known as the "Online Court
144 Assistance Program Policy Board," which shall:
145 (a) identify the subject matter included in the [
147 (b) develop information and [
149 (c) conform court-approved forms for use in the program; and
151 the program.
152 (2) The voting membership shall consist of:
153 (a) two members of the House of Representatives designated by the speaker, with one
154 member from each party;
155 (b) two members of the Senate designated by the president, with one member from
156 each party;
157 (c) two attorneys actively practicing in domestic relations designated by the Family
158 Law Section of the Utah State Bar;
159 (d) one attorney actively practicing in civil litigation designated by the Civil Litigation
160 Section of the Utah State Bar;
161 (e) one court commissioner designated by the chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court;
162 (f) one district court judge designated by the chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court;
163 (g) one attorney from Utah Legal Services designated by its director;
164 (h) one attorney from Legal Aid designated by its director; and
165 (i) two persons from the Administrative Office of the Courts designated by the state
166 court administrator.
167 (3) (a) The terms of the members shall be four years and staggered so that
168 approximately half of the board expires every two years.
169 (b) The board shall meet as needed.
170 (4) The board shall select one of its members to serve as chair.
171 (5) A majority of the members of the board constitutes a quorum.
172 (6) (a) A member who is not a legislator may not receive compensation or benefits for
173 the member's service, but may receive per diem and travel expenses as allowed in:
174 (i) Section 63A-3-106;
175 (ii) Section 63A-3-107; and
176 (iii) rules made by the Division of Finance according to Sections 63A-3-106 and
178 (b) Compensation and expenses of a member who is a legislator are governed by
179 Section 36-2-2 and Legislative Joint Rules, Title 5, Legislative Compensation and Expenses.
180 Section 6. Section 78A-7-118 is amended to read:
181 78A-7-118. Appeals from justice court -- Trial or hearing de novo in district
183 (1) In a criminal case, a defendant is entitled to a trial de novo in the district court only
184 if the defendant files a notice of appeal within 28 days of:
185 (a) sentencing, except as provided in Subsection (4)(b); or
186 (b) a plea of guilty or no contest in the justice court that is held in abeyance.
187 (2) Upon filing a proper notice of appeal, any term of a sentence imposed by the justice
188 court shall be stayed as provided for in Section 77-20-10 and the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
189 (3) If an appeal under Subsection (1) is of a plea entered pursuant to negotiation with
190 the prosecutor, and the defendant did not reserve the right to appeal as part of the plea
191 negotiation, the negotiation is voided by the appeal.
192 (4) A defendant convicted and sentenced in justice court is entitled to a hearing de
193 novo in the district court on the following matters, if the defendant files a notice of appeal
194 within 28 days of:
195 (a) an order revoking probation;
196 (b) imposition of a sentence, following a determination that a defendant failed to fulfill
197 the terms of a plea in abeyance agreement;
198 (c) an order denying a motion to withdraw a plea, if the plea is being held in abeyance
199 and the motion to withdraw the plea is filed within 28 days of the entry of the plea;
200 (d) a postsentence order fixing total or court ordered restitution; or
201 (e) an order denying expungement.
202 (5) The prosecutor is entitled to a hearing de novo in the district court if an appeal is
203 filed within 28 days of the court entering:
204 (a) a final judgment of dismissal;
205 (b) an order arresting judgment;
206 (c) an order terminating the prosecution because of a finding of double jeopardy or
207 denial of a speedy trial;
208 (d) a judgment holding invalid any part of a statute or ordinance;
209 (e) a pretrial order excluding evidence, when the prosecutor certifies that exclusion of
210 that evidence prevents continued prosecution of an infraction or class C misdemeanor;
211 (f) a pretrial order excluding evidence, when the prosecutor certifies that exclusion of
212 that evidence impairs continued prosecution of a class B misdemeanor;
213 (g) an order granting a motion to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest;
214 (h) an order fixing total restitution at an amount less than requested by a crime victim;
216 (i) an order granting an expungement, if the expungement was opposed by the
217 prosecution or a victim before the order was entered.
218 (6) A notice of appeal for a hearing de novo in the district court on a pretrial order
219 excluding evidence under Subsection (5)(e) or (f) shall be filed within 28 days of the order
220 excluding the evidence.
222 the case to the justice court unless:
223 (a) the decision results in immediate dismissal of the case; or
224 (b) [
225 parties and the district court [
230 district court rules on the constitutionality of a statute or ordinance.
231 Section 7. Section 78A-8-106 is amended to read:
232 78A-8-106. Appeals -- Who may take and jurisdiction.
233 (1) Either party may appeal the judgment in a small claims action to the district court
234 of the county by filing a notice of appeal in the original trial court within [
235 of the judgment. If the judgment in a small claims action is entered by a judge or judge pro
236 tempore of the district court, the notice of appeal shall be filed with the district court.
237 (2) The appeal is a trial de novo and shall be tried in accordance with the procedures of
238 small claims actions. A record of the trial shall be maintained. The trial de novo may not be
239 heard by a judge pro tempore appointed under Section 78A-8-108. The decision of the trial de
240 novo may not be appealed unless the court rules on the constitutionality of a statute or
242 Section 8. Section 78B-1-102 is amended to read:
243 78B-1-102. Definitions.
244 As used in this part:
245 (1) "Clerk" or "clerk of the court" means the person so designated by title and includes
246 any deputy clerk.
247 (2) "Court" means trial court.
248 (3) "Jury" means a body of persons temporarily selected from the citizens of a
249 particular county invested with the power to present and indict a person for a public offense or
250 to try a question of fact.
251 (4) "Master jury list" means the source lists as prescribed by the Judicial Council under
252 Section 78B-1-106.
254 names are drawn at random from the master jury list and are determined to be qualified to serve
255 as jurors.
257 prospective juror to members of the public in either a public or a private capacity cannot
258 adequately be performed by others.
259 (7) "Trial jury" means a body of persons selected from the citizens of a particular
260 county before a court or officer of competent jurisdiction and sworn to try and determine by
261 verdict a question of fact.
262 (8) "Undue hardship" means circumstances in which the prospective juror would:
263 (a) be required to abandon a person under his or her personal care or incur the cost of
264 substitute care which is unreasonable under the circumstances;
265 (b) suffer extreme physical hardship due to an illness, injury, or disability; or
266 (c) incur substantial costs or lost opportunities due to missing an event that was
267 scheduled prior to the initial notice of potential jury service.
268 Section 9. Section 78B-1-106 is amended to read:
269 78B-1-106. Master jury list -- Inclusive -- Review -- Renewal -- Public
271 (1) The Judicial Council shall designate one or more regularly maintained lists of
272 persons residing in each county as the source lists for the master jury list [
273 master jury list shall be as inclusive of the adult population [
275 (2) The Judicial Council shall by rule provide for the biannual review of the master
276 jury list to evaluate [
278 (3) Not less than once every six months the Administrative Office of the Courts shall
279 renew the master jury list [
280 amendments to the source lists. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall include any
281 additional source lists designated by the Judicial Council upon the next renewal of the master
282 jury list [
283 (4) The person having custody, possession, or control of any list used in compiling the
284 master jury list shall make the list available to the Administrative Office of the Courts at all
285 reasonable times without charge.
286 Section 10. Section 78B-1-107 is amended to read:
287 78B-1-107. Prospective jury list -- Term of availability -- Juror qualification form
288 -- Content -- Joint jury list for court authorized.
295 (1) When a jury trial is anticipated, the jury clerk shall obtain from the master jury list
296 the number of prospective jurors necessary to qualify jurors to empanel a jury in that case.
297 (2) Prospective jurors shall be randomly selected from the county in which the trial will
298 be held. A prospective juror shall remain on the prospective jury list until there is no longer a
299 need to empanel a jury in that case.
301 jurors and the selection of qualified jurors for voir dire.
304 (4) The process shall gather the following from a prospective juror:
305 (a) [
306 daytime telephone number [
307 (b) [
308 competent under statute to serve as a juror; and
309 (c) the [
311 Section 11. Section 78B-1-110 is amended to read:
312 78B-1-110. Limitations on jury service.
313 (1) In any two-year period, a person may not:
314 (a) be required to serve on more than one grand jury;
315 (b) be required to serve as both a grand and trial juror;
316 (c) be required to attend court [
317 one court day, except if necessary to complete service in a particular case; or
318 (d) if summoned for [
319 directed, be selected for the [
320 (2) (a) Subsection (1)(d) does not apply to counties of the fourth, fifth, and sixth class
321 and counties of the third class with populations up to 75,000.
322 (b) (i) All population figures used for this section shall be derived from the most recent
323 official census or census estimate of the United States Census Bureau.
324 (ii) If population estimates are not available from the United States Census Bureau,
325 population figures shall be derived from the estimate of the Utah Population Estimates
327 Section 12. Repealer.
328 This bill repeals:
329 Section 75-2-901, Deposit of will with court in testator's lifetime.
Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel