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September 2008 Archives

September 3, 2008

September e.Bulletin


Utah State Bar Joins the Utah Nonprofits Association

nate_alder_color.jpgI am pleased to announce that the Utah State Bar has joined the Utah Nonprofits Association. The UNA is Utah's official statewide affiliate of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). The Bar is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization that has developed some key partnerships to further achieve its public mission. The UNA’s membership includes over 470 nonprofit organizations and individual members. UNA members represent organizations of all sizes and mission areas, including educational outreach groups, legal services agencies, arts and cultural organizations, historical societies, homeless and battered women's shelters, agencies that provide services to children, at-risk youth and families, community development organizations, environmental groups, museums, food banks, and many other types of nonprofit organizations. We look forward to providing our members greater opportunities to collaborate with UNA member organizations and to provide valuable leadership on various community and nonprofit-related issues important to our community.

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Presiding Judges Named in Second Judicial District

Ogden, UT---Judge Parley R. Baldwin has been named presiding judge for the Second District Court effective through June 30, 2010. Judge Baldwin replaces Judge Glen R. Dawson. Judge Thomas L. Kay has been named associate presiding judge in the district court.

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Presiding Judge Named in Fifth Judicial District

St. George, UT---Judge Eric A. Ludlow has been named presiding judge for the Fifth District Court effective through June 30, 2010. Judge Ludlow replaces Judge Michael G. Westfall. Judge John Walton has been named associate presiding judge in the district.

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Justice Court Records Added to Database Program

Forty Justice Courts Added to XChange

Salt Lake City, UT--The Administrative Office of the Courts has announced the addition of 40 justice courts to the state court’s XChange service. XChange is a database of court case information that is available publicly for a monthly fee.

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Notice of Approved Amendments to Utah Court Rules: URCP, URCrP, URAP, ADR, URSCP, CJC, CJA

The Supreme Court and Judicial Council have approved amendments to the following Utah court rules. Many of the changes are merely to correct references to the Utah Code after the Legislature recodified former Title 78. These technical changes have been approved by the Supreme Court or Judicial Council but were not published for comment.

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September 5, 2008

Utah Supreme Court hears legal sanctions arguments

Utah Supreme Court hears legal sanctions arguments

Associated Press Writer

Utah's Supreme Court will decide whether a pair of attorneys representing a death row inmate should be sanctioned for violating a legal rule in a post-conviction appeal filing.
The Utah Attorney General's Office has asked for the sanctions, claiming that about a third of the 120 claims made by defense attorneys Edward K. Brass and Lynn Donaldson on behalf of Michael Anthony Archuleta were already decided by an earlier appeal or not supported by either factual evidence or law.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Brunker said the misstep — a violation of Rule 11 — was pointed out to Brass and Donaldson in January 2004, but the attorneys failed to correct it within the 21-day time period allowed.

Sanctions could range from monetary fines to disciplinary action by the Utah State Bar. Brunker said he withdrew a request for monetary sanctions and only wants a declaration from the court that Brass and Donaldson violated the rule.

"We want to get the playing field defined," he said.

Brass and attorney Richard Mauro, who represents Donaldson, deny any impropriety or unethical behavior and contend that they only sought to preserve every possible avenue of appeal for Archuleta.

The issue was argued before the Utah Supreme Court on appeal Thursday. A 4th District Court judge already held a daylong hearing and ruled that Brass and Donaldson made no deliberate attempt to deceive the court.

Brass said he thought justices should give deference to the 17-page opinion from Judge Donald J. Eyre, who found "there was no deception, there was no unethical behavior that he wasn't deceived and there wasn't an effort to deceive him."

Brass also said no lawyer should get a "pass" for unethical behavior, but hoped the court would consider a rule that prohibits seeking sanctions when cases are still pending. The effect is like shoving "a stick into our bicycle spokes," Brass said.

"What that does is put us automatically, in the middle of litigation, at odds with our client," he said.

After the hearing, Mauro said the state's actions against Brass and Donaldson are part of an effort to dissuade defense attorneys from taking death penalty appeals cases.

"This is a personal attack on lawyers who do this work," Mauro said. "That's what our big concern is with this filing. The state now is not attacking the message (the appeal). They're attacking the messenger and that is the lawyer."

Mauro said the state's case against Brass and Donaldson has prompted other attorneys to refuse to take other death penalty appeals out of fear they'll face similar allegations. That could leave some wrongly-convicted death row inmates without a chance for exoneration, he said.

"A lot of guys get relief on claims of actual innocence and on all kinds of issue in post conviction," Mauro said. "If you don't have competent lawyers that are doing that work, some of this information is never discovered and there's a risk that you execute an innocent person."

Brunker doesn't deny the Brass/Donaldson case addresses a larger concern about post-conviction appeals that typically include the filing of massive petitions.

"We want to use it to curb abusive litigation and filing of these mega petitions, he said. It's just slowing it down and we're trying to stop that. That is our motive."

From a practical standpoint, the state's Rule 11 complaint shouldn't delay Archuleta's appeal, Brunker said.

Donaldson and Brass no longer represent Archuleta, who was recently appointed a new attorney.

Archuleta has been on death row since 1989. He was convicted of the 1988 rape, torture and death of a southern Utah college student in the mountains near Cedar City.

One of Archuleta's original defense attorneys was Ronald Nehring, who is now an Associate Utah Supreme Court justice. Nehring recused himself from Thursday's hearing. Third District Judge Paul Maughan sat on the panel instead.

Associated Press

State Bar launches 'find a lawyer' directory

State Bar launches 'find a lawyer' directory

The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 09/04/2008 01:49:58 PM MDT

Posted: 1:49 PM-

The Utah State Bar has launched a new Web site in an effort to help people seek attorneys and better understand how to successfully work with a lawyer.

The new "Find A Utah Lawyer Directory" is available at www.findautahlawyer.org.

A question-and-answer session at the site narrows the seeker's location, then a map lists lawyers in the seeker's county. The results include a lawyer's years of practice, location, area of practice and spoken language.

There are 427 lawyers participating in the voluntary program, which includes every county. There are 21 languages represented, including Farsi, Korean, Samoan and American Sign Language.

The bar anticipates more than 1,000 lawyers will volunteer by the year's end.

- Steve Gehrke

September 8, 2008

Ogden Courthouse Clerk's Office and Entrance to Undergo Construction

Ogden, Utah—Construction has begun in the first floor clerk’s office of the Ogden Courthouse, which is located at 2525 Grant Ave. Construction on the building entrance will begin at a later date and will result in security enhancements to the courthouse entrances.

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September 15, 2008

Judicial review panel names its chairman

Published: September 14, 2008


The newly created Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission at its first meeting this week chose attorney V. Lowry Snow to be commission chairman. Snow also has served as past president of the Utah State Bar.

The 13-member commission also is seeking an executive director.

The state Legislature this year revised the judicial performance evaluation process to oversee the evaluation and retention recommendations for the 219 judges and justices in Utah's court system. The commission is comprised of citizens nominated by the governor, Senate, House of Representatives and the Utah Supreme Court. Its membership also includes the executive director of the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

© 2008 Deseret News Publishing Company | All rights reserved

September 17, 2008

Notice of Approved Amendments to Utah Court Rules

The Judicial Council has approved amendments to the following Utah court rules.

Summary of amendments

Code of Judicial Administration

CJA 01-205. Standing and ad hoc committees. Amend. Adds an attorney with experience representing parents in abuse, neglect and dependency cases to the Committee on Children and Family Law.

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September 22, 2008

Juvenile Court Reports to the Community

Salt Lake City, Utah— When it comes to delinquency cases, Utah’s juvenile courts work to further community safety by helping juvenile offenders stop criminal behavior. At the same time, the courts work to provide justice to victims.

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Judge David Marx Receives 2008 Quality of Justice Award

Salt Lake City, UT---Justice Court Judge David Marx has received the Quality of Justice Award from the Utah State Courts for performance of judicial responsibilities with outstanding dedication to the highest quality of justice. Judge Marx serves two Cache County justice courts—North Logan and Hyde Park.

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About September 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Utah State Bar News & Announcements in September 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2008 is the previous archive.

October 2008 is the next archive.

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