« March 2012 | Main | May 2012 »

April 2012 Archives

April 2, 2012

Meeting set to select Bluffdale Justice Court Judge


Bluffdale, UT---The Salt Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on April 4, 2012, to select candidates for the Bluffdale Justice Court to replace Judge Darwin Poulsen who is resigning effective May 1, 2012. The commission will begin meeting at 1:00 p.m. at the Bluffdale Court/Public Works Building, 14175 Redwood Road.

Continue reading "Meeting set to select Bluffdale Justice Court Judge" »

April 4, 2012

Court Launches Guardianship Monitoring Initiative


Salt Lake City, UT—The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has launched a Court Visitor Program and is seeking applicants to perform several volunteer roles. The Court Visitor Program is available in the 3rd Judicial District—Salt Lake, Tooele, and Summit counties—and 7th Judicial District—Carbon, Emery, Grand, and San Juan counties.

Volunteer court visitors are appointed by District Court judges to make inquiries and to observe incapacitated adults and to report back to the court. The information helps the court to make informed decisions about the appointment of a guardian for an incapacitated adult. An incapacitated adult—or protected person—lacks the capacity to make or communicate decisions and may need a court-appointed guardian to do so. The volunteer court visitor’s report helps to ensure the needs of the protected person are met, that their property is protected and being used for their benefit, and that court orders are being followed.

“The goal of the Court Visitor Program is to improve the lives of vulnerable adults in our community,” said Karolina Abuzyarova, program coordinator, Court Visitor Program. “The program provides training and information for families and others to help them become better guardians.” In 2011, there were more than 4,000 adult guardianship and conservatorship court cases in the 3rd District and about 240 cases in the 7th District.

The Court Visitor Program is recruiting volunteers to act as interviewers, auditors, researchers, trackers, and teachers. A volunteer interviewer is responsible for interviewing protected persons and others. In addition, a volunteer interviewer observes how the person is being cared for at

their place of residence. The volunteer auditor reviews financial reports filed by a guardian and reports any problems or concerns. A volunteer researcher helps the court prepare case files for hearings and monitors compliance with reporting requirements. A volunteer tracker locates guardians with whom the court has lost contact. And finally, a volunteer teacher trains other court visitors and also provides information to assist family members and others in their role as guardians.

Volunteer training sessions are planned for May 14, 16, and 18 in Salt Lake City and at the end of May in Price and Moab. Training will be available for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit for attorneys who apply to volunteer. Volunteers must be 18 years of age, will be subject to a background check, and must pass an in-person interview before being accepted into the training program.

Information about the Court Visitor Program, including a volunteer application form, is available on the court’s website at www.utcourts.gov/visitor or by calling (801) 578-3925.

# # #

April 5, 2012

e.Bulletin for April 2012


Disaster Recovery

Very doubtful it could ever happen here. Disasters happen elsewhere, not here of all places. After all, “this is the place.” Wishful thinking? Probably. We live in a state that is vulnerable to natural disasters, potential government debacles and man-made threats. On April 17th, our state will participate in the Be Ready Utah emergency preparedness campaign. This campaign is managed by the Division of Homeland Security under the direction of Lt. Governor Greg Bell. Be Ready Utah provides valuable information for individuals and families, public safety professionals, business and civic leaders, school administrators and volunteers. The Red Cross reports that only 7 percent of Americans have taken the recommended actions to prepare for disasters. If you are in the remaining 93 percent, like I am, it may be time to start thinking about getting ready. Consider what needs to be done at home. What about your law office, files and computer data? Have you assessed potential risks and vulnerabilities? Do you have a plan to reestablish normal business operations? Consider your community. There will not be sufficient emergency services to take care of all of us.

Ed Rutan, Salt Lake City Attorney, was appointed by the Utah State Bar Commission in 2010 to create a Disaster Legal Response Committee. The idea for our committee came from the problems that people were having in collecting on their insurance policies after hurricane Katrina and the shock Katrina and certain destructive tornados caused to law firms and the communities they serve. The resulting delay in the availability of private capital arguably delayed New Orleans' recovery efforts. One well-respected attorney from Texas (President of their Bar), knowing his building was hit by a tornado, decided what he should do was go to Lowes and buy all the industrial vacuums they had on site. When he discovered his entire office had been destroyed, the vacuums had little use and he and members of his firm had to start thinking about the numerous client issues, billings, files and computers that had been rendered totally useless. Do you have off-site backup for your files and accounting data? Utah attorneys continue to volunteer for our Disaster Legal Response Committee in every region of our state, have created master plans and contingency plans, and are coordinating efforts with Bar sections and regional Bar associations. Many Utah attorneys will be ready to step in when a disaster occurs in our state. We thank those of you who have worked so hard on this project. If you would like to volunteer your services to this important committee, please visit www.utahbar.org/committees/disasterresponse/volunteer.html.

Make it a priority to prepare yourself, your home, your business, and your community. Visit www.BeReadyUtah.gov for more information on how you can get started with simple, basic steps to preparedness.

Continue reading "e.Bulletin for April 2012" »

April 6, 2012

Bluffdale Justice Court Nominees Named



Bluffdale, UT—The Salt Lake County Nominating Commission has selected four nominees for a vacancy at the Bluffdale Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Darwin Poulsen who is retiring May 1, 2012.

Continue reading "Bluffdale Justice Court Nominees Named" »

Meeting Set to Select New Hildale Justice Court Judge


Hildale City, UT---The Washington County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on April 10, 2012, to select candidates for the Hildale Justice Court to replace Judge Richard Carr. The commission will begin meeting at 1:30 p.m. at the Hildale City Hall, 320 E. Newell Ave.

The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and refinements or improvements to the system. Public comments are being accepted from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Following the public hearing, the meeting is closed to allow commission members to select a slate of three to five candidates for each vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission should contact the Administrative Office of the Courts at (801) 578-3800 to request an appointment. Information on the Justice Court Nominating Commission members is available at www.utcourts.gov.

# # #

April 9, 2012

Grand Jury to Hear Testimony in Box Elder County


Brigham City, UT---A panel of judges is scheduled to meet on May 10, 2012 to hear testimony to determine if reasonable cause exists to call a grand jury. The meeting will take place in the First Judicial District, Box Elder County Courthouse, 43 North Main, Brigham City.

Those wanting to testify before the panel of judges should contact District Court Administrator Debra Moore at (801) 578-3800 by April 27, 2012, to schedule an appointment. If no appointments are scheduled by April 27, the meeting will be canceled without further notice.

Continue reading "Grand Jury to Hear Testimony in Box Elder County" »

Utah Supreme Court Hits the Road



The Utah Supreme Court periodically holds court sessions in other locations to provide an opportunity to enhance public understanding of the court’s work and to provide law students with an opportunity to see the Supreme Court in session.

Cases to be heard are as follows:

9:30 a.m.-Gregory v. Shurtleff, case # 20110277

10:30 a.m.-State v. Ramirez, case #20110174


Wednesday, April 11 at 9:30 a.m. to approx. 12:00 p.m.

Continue reading "Utah Supreme Court Hits the Road" »

April 11, 2012

Hildale Justice Court Nominees Named

Correction: Please note Mr. Palma's first name is spelled Manuel. The release sent out yesterday listed an incorrect spelling. My apologies.




Hildale, UT—The Washington County Nominating Commission has selected three nominees for a vacancy at the Hildale Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Richard Carr who has been hearing cases the past six years.

Following are the nominees followed by place of employment and residence:

· K. Jake Graff, Bingham Snow & Caldwell, Washington

· Honorable Karlin S. Myers, Hurricane Justice Court, Ivins

· Manuel M. Palma, retired, Dept. of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration, St. George

A comment period will be held through April 19, 2012, before a final candidate is selected by

Hildale Mayor Phillip Barlow, who has 30 days to make an appointment, which is subject to ratification by the Hildale City Council. The Utah Judicial Council must then certify the appointment. To submit written comments about the candidates, contact Shari Veverka, Administrative Office of the Courts, shariv@email.utcourts.gov.

# # #

April 12, 2012

Utah State Bar to Sponsor E-Waste Recycling Event

Young Lawyers Division-led program to celebrate Earth Day 2012

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah State Bar is offering Utah lawyers an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day and do a little spring cleaning at the same time, with a free E-waste recycling event this Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Bar’s Young Lawyers Division is working with Salt Lake City’s Metech Recycling to provide a staging area at the Utah Law & Justice Center, 645 South 200 East in Salt Lake City, where all Utah State Bar Members can drop off unwanted electronic equipment.

Continue reading "Utah State Bar to Sponsor E-Waste Recycling Event" »

April 25, 2012


Nibley, UT—Nibley City Mayor Gerald Knight has announced the appointment of Trevor L. Cook to fill an upcoming vacancy at the Nibley City Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Jack L. Stevens who will retire effective July 27, 2012.

Cook received a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University in 2002, and a Juris Doctorate from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, where he graduated Cum Laude in 2006. Cook is an attorney with the law firm of Ericson & Shaw, LLP in Logan where he has worked for four years with a practice focusing on family law and bankruptcy. Prior to pursuing his law practice, he served as a law clerk in the First District Court where he became familiar with criminal prosecution and defense and civil litigation. He currently volunteers for Utah Law Related Education and Thursday Night at the Bar.

Cook’s appointment to the bench is subject completion of the court’s new judge orientation and certification by the Utah Judicial Council.

Contact: Nancy Volmer
(801) 578-3994
(801) 712-4545


Salt Lake City, UT—Nearly 12,000 Utah children are impacted by divorce each year, including more than 5,000 children in Salt Lake County. To address the needs of these children, the Utah State Courts offers a Divorce Education for Children class twice each month at no charge to participants. Classes take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. Following are the dates for upcoming classes: May 5 and 21; June 4 and 16.

The Divorce Education for Children class is for children 9- to 12-years-old whose parents have filed for divorce or whose parents are divorced. The class takes place at the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse at 450 South State Street. Advance registration is required by calling (801) 578-3897 or e-mail sabrinap@email.utcourts.gov.There is no charge to attend the class.

The program’s curriculum provides children with skills they can use to better communicate their feelings to parents. A mental health professional teaches the class with the assistance of a state court commissioner. Participation in the children’s class is voluntary.

For more information, go to www.utcourts.gov and search for divorce education classes.

Contact: Nancy Volmer
(801) 578-3994
(801) 712-4545

April 26, 2012


Hyrum, UT—Hyrum City Mayor W. Dean Howard has announced the appointment of Paul K. Larsen to fill an upcoming vacancy at the Hyrum City Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Jack L. Stevens who will retire effective July 27, 2012.

Larsen received a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University in 1973 and a Juris Doctorate from Western State University in San Diego, Calif., in 1977. He served as the judge for the Smithfield Justice Court from 1980 through 1990. Larsen also served for five years on the Logan City Planning Commission. He currently owns and operates an online retail business and serves as an administrative hearing examiner for Logan City.

Larsen’s appointment to the bench is subject completion of the court’s new judge orientation and certification by the Utah Judicial Council.

Contact: Nancy Volmer
(801) 578-3994
(801) 712-4545

April 30, 2012

Chief Justice Durrant Editorial @SLTrib: Been Called to Jury Duty?

Been Called to Jury Duty?
By Matthew B. Durrant, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court
Published: April 28, 2012 01:01AM
Updated: April 28, 2012 01:01AM

Have you been called for jury duty? Are you 18 or older? Are you a citizen of the United States and a resident of Utah? If so, then I would like to request your experience, your judgment and some of your time to serve on a jury.

We all have busy lives and I know that you might feel like you do not have time to be a juror. But serving on a jury is a special privilege. Jurors are the backbone of the American legal system. And a juror’s vote is the ultimate act of democracy.

You do not need any special training or preparation to be a juror. The witnesses will describe all the evidence you will need to consider. And the judge will explain all the laws you will need to understand as you make your decision. As a juror, your job is to use your experience and judgment to find the facts, apply the law, and decide the outcome. Sound simple? Yes and no.

Jury service can be thrilling. You might have the opportunity to decide whether a defendant committed a crime. Or you might have the opportunity to decide whether one person harmed another and what award should be made to compensate the injured person. Your vote helps to promote justice, one case at a time.

You will not be alone. Most juries in Utah consist of eight people, but there are 12 jurors in capital homicide trials and four or six jurors for misdemeanor crimes. The master list of potential jurors is as inclusive as we can make it. If you are 18 or older, a citizen, and a resident, your name is probably on that list. The names of the people who might serve are selected randomly. A person can be excused from jury service for undue hardship, public necessity, or because the person is incapable of serving. But no one is exempt.

If your name is randomly selected from the master jury list, the court clerk will send you a qualification form with a few simple questions. You can either answer these questions online or fill out the form and mail it back. Returning the qualification form might be the sum total of your jury experience because not everyone who qualifies is called to serve. And not everyone who is called is selected to try a case.

If you are selected, your service could last for one day or for the duration of a trial, although most trials do not last longer than one day. Even just one day’s service means you will not be called again for at least two years. And if you are called to service on a date that does not work with your schedule, the court clerks will try to schedule your service at a time when it is convenient. There are limits, but they will try. So just ask.

Our legal system could not function without your service. We are very grateful to each person who serves, and we have built an environment that supports and encourages jurors. We have spread the responsibility as broadly as possible to minimize the commitment of any one person. We have written jury instructions, which are summaries of the law, in plain and simple language. We try to be efficient so we do not waste your time. And our courthouses are modern and clean.

Have you been called for jury duty? If so, please serve. Someone very much like you has a case in Utah’s courts. Your participation helps to ensure its fair and just resolution.

For more information, and to qualify online, please see the court’s website at www.utcourts.gov/juryroom.

Matthew B. Durrant is Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. His op-ed was written to coincide with Law Day on Tuesday, May 1.


President Snow OpEd @Desnews: Education on the Fundamentals of Democracy is on Life Support

Rod Snow
Published: Sunday, April 29 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

As a nation, we are facing some of the most difficult decisions that have challenged us in a long time.

As reported by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics at the University of Pennsylvania and the article "Guardian of Democracy" by Jonathan Gould, the lack of high-quality civic education in America's schools leaves millions of citizens without the wherewithal to make sense of our system of government.

Consider, for a moment, that most high school graduates can name the three judges on American Idol, but very few know the number or the names of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Surveys conducted over the past decade reveal alarming facts about the state of civics education in this country. Only one-third of Americans could name all three branches of government, while another one-third could not name any. Less than one-third of eighth graders could identify the historical purpose of the Declaration of Independence, and less than a fifth of high school seniors could explain how citizen participation benefits democracy.

High school student Shae Thompson participates in events developed to spur civic engagement from teens. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Civic learning is, at its heart, necessary to preserving our system of self-government. In a representative democracy, government is only as good as the citizens who elect its leaders, demand action on pressing issues, hold public officials accountable and take action to solve problems in their communities.

In some states, civics is not taught at all in junior high or high school. In Utah, civics education is a required course at the high school level. While we are fortunate in that respect, much more could be done and the Utah State Bar is committed to improving Utah's civics education standards.

The Bar's Committee on Civics Education is supporting public education by supplementing high school students' classroom learning about civics, specifically with regard to the judiciary and the rule of law, with an interactive program focusing on analytical and language art skills. Already, more than 200 lawyers have volunteered to teach a one-hour course in judicial independence in this exciting pilot program.

Another Bar-sponsored program aims to ensure that low-income students have access to reading material. Sadly, in certain communities, the ratio of books to children is an unacceptable one book for every 300 children. "Books from Barristers" provides new books, donated by Utah lawyers and other generous individuals and entities, to underserved children in Utah on the topics of law, government, history and civics.

Also, the Utah State Bar's Young Lawyer's Division has instituted a "Choose Law Program," which encourages students in middle school and high school, particularly underprivileged students, to "choose law" early in their educational careers.

As a State Bar, we are excited about these programs because we see the very real need in our communities. We also recognize there are many other actions we can take to improve education on the fundamentals of our democracy, including electing people who recognize the importance of civics education, encouraging teachers and administrators to take advantage of related Bar programs and volunteering, as individual lawyers, to participate in these programs.

A citizenry educated regarding the concepts of our system of government is critical to our free society, and the members of the Utah State Bar are committed to ensuring that our students have access to quality civics education.

Rod Snow is president of the Utah State Bar. On May 1, the Bar and its 10,000-plus members will celebrate Law Day 2012, with the theme of "No Courts, No Justice, No Freedom."


Hildale, UT—Hildale City Mayor Phillip Barlow has announced the appointment of K. Jake Graff to fill a vacancy at the Hildale City Justice Court. The position will replace Senior Judge Richard Carr who has served in the position for the past six years.

Graff received his undergraduate degrees from Dixie State College and Brigham Young University. He received a Juris Doctorate from William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas, Nev. During law school, Graff externed for Judge Jennifer L. Elliott of the Eighth District Court in Clark County, Nev. Following law school, he worked as an associate attorney at a St. George law firm before joining the law firm Bingham Snow & Caldwell in 2008. He is a native of St. George.

Graff’s appointment to the bench is subject completion of the court’s new judge orientation and certification by the Utah Judicial Council

Contact: Nancy Volmer
(801) 578-3994
(801) 712-4545

About April 2012

This page contains all entries posted to Utah State Bar News & Announcements in April 2012. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

May 2012 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

The Utah State Bar presents this web site as a service to our members and to the public. Information presented in this site is NOT legal advice. Please review the Terms of Use for more policy, disclaimer & liability information - ©Utah State Bar email: info@utahbar.org