OGDEN -- So far only four attorneys have applied to fill the vacancy that will be left with Judge Michael Lyon's coming retirement from 2nd District Court in Ogden.
And in an odd confluence of retirements, Gov. Gary Herbert is well on his way to becoming the governor who will have appointed almost a third of the state's judiciary.
Lyon's replacement will be the 31st state judge Herbert has appointed since he took office in August 2009, according to officials with the state Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, which oversees the appointment process for the judges.
Utah currently has 70 district judges sitting in its eight judicial districts statewide as well as 30 juvenile court judges, said Ron Gordon, CCJJ director.
"It's remarkable, no question," Gordon said of the growing count of appointees by Herbert and the unexplained numbers of retiring judges. The 31 vacancies Herbert will have filled when Lyon is replaced does not include two new judgeships created in the 8th District, he noted.
Lyon's retirement after 39 years on the bench, including 18 years as the South Ogden city judge before his 1992 elevation to the district court, takes effect Sept. 1.
Formal call for applications for his position began March 27 and will close May 8.
"I only have four so far," Monica Taylor, the CCJJ staffer for judicial affairs said Friday afternoon of the number of hopefuls to step forward. "They usually all come in during the last week," she said, the vacancies typically drawing 25 or more candidates.
The 2nd District Nominating Commission, appointed by the governor last April with a four-year term, will screen the nominees and forward five finalists to the governor within 45 days of its first meeting, which is set for June 19.
The governor then has 30 days to name his selection, according to the CCJJ, for the consideration of the Utah Senate, which then has 60 days to approve or reject the nominee. In that time, the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee will meet with the candidate then make a recommendation to the full Senate.
The seven-member nominating commission includes four local attorneys: Mara Brown, Patrick Tan, Brian Namba and Catherine Hoskins. The three nonlawyer members are Darcy Kruitbosche, of West Weber, retired legislator LaWanna Shurtliff, and Brent Bishop, local businessman.