34 apply to replace judge in 2nd District Court in Ogden

May 12 2013 - 11:13pm

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Michael Lyon is retiring as 2nd District Court judge, effective Sept. 1.
Michael Lyon is retiring as 2nd District Court judge, effective Sept. 1.

OGDEN -- Thirty-four hopeful lawyers have stepped forward to vie for the opening in 2nd District Court here with the looming retirement of Judge Michael Lyon.

Most came in during the last week, as expected by the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice staffers in the Governor's Office, which processes the applications.

The application period began March 27 and closed May 8. By the end of April, only four applications had been received.

The applications can come from anywhere, but the appointee has to agree to reside in the 2nd District, covering Weber, Davis and Morgan counties, said Monica Taylor, the CCJJ staffer over judicial nominations.

The process is confidential, and she couldn't comment further on the demographics of the hopefuls.

But Taylor noted the volume of applicants for the 2nd District vacancy exceeded that of the most recent vacancy in the much more populous 3rd District Court, covering Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties.

In the application period to replace 3rd District Judge Judith Atherton, which ended March 29, only 21 candidates applied. The 3rd District has had more vacancies of late, Taylor said.

"Maybe they're just taking a break from applying for a while," she quipped.

For the 2nd District, the vacancy is the first in more than two years, according to the state courts website, while the 3rd District has appointed at least nine judges in the same time frame.

Lyon's retirement takes effect Sept. 1, ending 39 years on the bench, including 18 years as the South Ogden city judge before his 1992 ascension to the district court.

According to the announcement of the vacancy, the position will pay $134,800 a year, with 20 days of paid vacation, 11 holidays and the choice of four medical and three dental plans, all requiring an employee contribution.

The 2nd District Nominating Commission, appointed by the governor in April with a four-year term, will screen the nominees.

The commission will forward five finalists to Gov. Gary Herbert within 45 days of its first meeting, set for June 19.

According to the CCJJ, Herbert will then have 30 days to name his selection 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 local attorneys Mara Brown, Catherine Hoskins, Brian Namba and Patrick Tan. The three nonlawyer members are Brent Bishop, local businessman; Darcy Kruitbosche, of West Weber; and retired legislator LaWanna Shurtliff.

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