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Bill to overhaul Utah court system shelved for further study
Legislature » Lawmaker wanted to rein in power and reach of local justice courts.

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Schwermer, who sits on the committee that recommends judicial appointees to local leaders, said this has made a difference and the court system is functioning today at its highest level in decades.

Even if the task force finds issues to address, he said, it’s unlikely that it would recommend a complete overhaul — like Peterson’s original proposed legislation did.

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"We look forward to demonstrating why the rest of the country looks to Utah for effective court administration and efficient court services to the public," Schwermer said. "We have an awfully thoughtful and progressive court system here."

According to Peterson’s new proposal — HB336 — the appointed task force would study the court system top to bottom, including juvenile courts, district courts, justice courts and appellate courts, to determine whether "adding specialized divisions or modifying existing divisions" would improve the system.

Peterson said any proposed changes would be drawn from the task force’s final report, which would be issued by November 2015.

"[The courts] talk about being extra efficient, and that’s to be applauded because we’re not wasting tax-payer money," Peterson said. "But if we’re too efficient, there may be collateral damage that we’re not recognizing. Due process could be suffering because of that. We need to make sure it’s balanced."

If approved, the task force will cost the state $27,800, according to state fiscal analysts.


Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

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