Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas retires, plans return to private sector

Justice Deno Himonas plans to transition to a major law firm after almost two decades in public service.

Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas submitted his resignation to Gov. Spencer Cox on Friday — a little over six years since his appointment by former Gov. Gary Herbert.

According to his retirement letter, the Justice’s last day on the court will be March 1, 2022. He wrote that the departure is bittersweet, but the time has come for him to “begin writing a new chapter” in his professional life after almost two decades in public service.

Although he will be leaving the bench, Himonas will remain in Utah’s legal community to “help anchor” the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Salt Lake City.

“It has been my singular honor to have served the people of Utah, first as a trial judge on the Third Judicial District Court (2004-2015) and then as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court (2015-2022),” Himonas wrote. “I pray that I have served with some modicum of merit and that I have not disappointed those who appointed me to the bench — Governors Olene Walker and Gary Herbert.”

Himonas wrote that during his tenure, he was particularly proud of the Utah Supreme Court’s efforts to develop and launch “the world’s first legal regulatory sandbox,” for individuals to submit ideas that may help increase Utahns’ access to legal services. Utah’s “sandbox” already serves as a model for other states and countries considering regulatory reform, he wrote.

The justice also thanked Gov. Cox for his service to the state, writing that though their interactions had been few, he “enjoyed them all,” and will watch with joy as Cox stocks the courts with other talented individuals.

“During my time on the bench, I have had the joy of working with some of the most dedicated public servants in the nation,” Himonas wrote. “And I say with absolute confidence that there are no better colleagues than those with whom I have had the privilege of serving on the Utah Supreme Court.”