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Utah News

Juvenile Court Vacancy Short-List Announced

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The Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice has released a list of finalists to fill a vacancy on the First District Juvenile Court. 

Ron Gordon, the executive director of the state Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, said that in addition to possessing abilities to understand the law, judges on the juvenile court must be able to build connections with the youth and their families.

“There’s additional interaction with the participants in juvenile court. There’s a need for juvenile court judges in particular to be able to relate to the young people, to be able to relate to the families,” Gordon said. “The juvenile court judge really gets involved in the case. They become involved in trying to help not just rehabilitate the young person but sometimes the entire family.”

When there is a vacancy on the juvenile court in Utah, a notice is sent out to attorneys in the state, who can then put their own names forward for consideration. After an initial review process and public comment period, a short-list of finalists will be sent to Gov. Gary Herbert.

Even though he only has 30 days to make an appointment, Gordon added that Herbert conducts extra interviews with each of the finalists.

“The way that Gov. Herbert approaches that is that he has three of his staff members conduct an interview with each of the nominees,” he said. “The Governor and those same staff members meet again on a second interview with each of the nominees so, at the Governor’s level, there will be two rounds of interviews. Then the Governor makes an appointment.”

The finalists for the vacant First District Juvenile Court judgeship are Jacob Gordon, R. Christian Hansen, Kirk Morgan, James Swink, and Janette White.