By Myrna Trauntvein
Another employee is needed in the county justice court but it may not happen for awhile.
Sharla Williams, Juab County Justice Court Judge, and Ryan Peters, Juab County Attorney, discussed recertification of the county court, which happens every four years, with Juab County commissioners.
“The certification is due in February,” said Peters, “but the paperwork is due in November.”
Justice courts are divided into the following classes: (a) Class I: 501 or more case filings per month; (b) Class II: 201-500 case filings per month; (c) Class III: 61-200 case filings per month; and (d) Class IV: 60 or fewer case filings per month.
The Utah Judicial Council ensures that procedures for judicial courts include requirements that every municipality or county that establishes or maintains a justice court provide for certain minimum operating standards.
One of those is that sufficient clerical personnel are required to serve the needs of the justice court, said Peters.
“Under regulations for Class II,” he said, “we need two employees.”
Williams said that, while she would love to have two employees, so many people paid their fines online that she thought the county should request a waiver.
If the state court approved the waiver request, the court administrator would notify the county.
Peters said that the volume of the filings handled by the county justice court continues to climb. Each year there are more than the year before and it is a trend that has continued for the past few years
“The court is now handling approximately 400 filings per month,” Peters said.
He said that the court, for its present size should have, under state court rulings, two full-time employees.
“We understand the need,” said Byron Woodland, commissioner.
Technically, if both Peters and Williams request a waiver it should be granted.
Judicial Council’s rules and procedures presume that existing justice courts will be recertified at the end of each four-year term if the court continues to meet the minimum requirements for the establishment of a justice court.
Clinton Painter, commission chairman, suggested that both Peters and Williams enter a request for a waiver and that, as budget time drew near they add a request for another half-time employee.
“I am in favor of looking at that,” said Painter. “In four more years, there may be even greater need.”
“If we continue to increase our filings,” said Peters, “we will move into a different class.”
Judge Williams was appointed as the Juab County Justice Court Judge in 1991 and has been the Judge since that time. She attended the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Judge Williams was given the Honor of “Dedicated Service” in the year 1995.