Utah judge faces possible censure for making too much money
A Utah judge who presides over four justice courts is facing a possible censure from the Utah Supreme Court for making too much money.
Judge Kevin Christensen sits on the bench of the Box Elder County, Willard, Garland and Tremonton justice courts. Because of that, his combined salary is more than the $132,150 the state's district court judges make, a violation of state law, according to the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission. The report doesn't specify Christensen's income from the four courts.
Christensen is one of three judges named in the commission's annual report, which was released Wednesday. According to the report, Christensen has received "excessive salaries" from 2009 through 2011.
The JCC has recommended the Utah Supreme Court censure Christensen. The judge, who was not immediately available for comment Wednesday, has reserved his right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute.
The conduct commission received complaints against 72 judges in the fiscal year that ended in July. Twenty-four of those cases remain unresolved, according to the report.
In addition to Christensen, sanctions were recommended against two judges:
• West Valley City and Saratoga Springs Justice Court Judge Keith Stoney issued a $10,000 warrant allegedly in response to a woman behaving rudely toward court employees. The JCC recommended the Supreme Court reprimand Stoney for the warrant, but the high court later found the warrant was issued by accident and the reprimand was without merit. Stoney plans to retire at the end of the year, which will also mean a separate JCC complaint against him for jailing a woman without due process will be dismissed.
• The JCC recommended a reprimand for now-retired Justice Court Judge Robert Peters, who allegedly spoke to a law enforcement officer while a defendant's attorneys were not present, and used that information to decide to revoke the defendant's probation. The Utah Supreme Court has yet to rule on the recommended reprimand.