The late Taylorsville Municipal Justice Court Judge, Michael W. Kwan — who died at home on July 21 — will lie in state Friday in the Council Chambers at Taylorsville City Hall.
Kwan, 58, had been on the bench since 1998. He was widely known for his advocacy for Asian Americans and, more recently, criticism of President Donald Trump.
Kwan also founded one of the first drug courts in the country, which favor rehabilitation over punishment for drug offenders and drunken drivers. He received a governor’s award in 2008 for reducing drug and alcohol-related crimes.
Additionally, Kwan’s Domestic Violence Program was awarded the Peace on Earth Award in 2002.
As a descendant of one of Utah’s Chinese workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, Kwan also advocated for Chinese Americans to receive more recognition for their contributions to the railroad.
Kwan made national headlines last year when he was suspended for six months without pay by the Utah Supreme Court for making politically charged comments about Trump both from the bench and on his social media accounts.
He returned to the bench upon completion of his suspension.
He received a law degree from Whittier College School of Law and was certified in Chinese law by the East China University of Politics and Law. He served as pro tempore judge in 3rd District Court from 1996 to 1998, before presiding over the Taylorsville Justice Court.
At 1:30 p.m. on Friday, a procession will make its way to Taylorsville City Hall. Utahns wishing to pay their respects and watch the procession can come to City Hall, 2600 W. Taylorsville Blvd., where Kwan’s body will lie in state from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Masks will be required and social distancing protocols will be followed.
To honor Kwan, Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson mandated that the city’s flags be lowered to half-staff on Friday, and she is asking businesses and individuals to also lower their flags in his honor.
“The City of Taylorsville owes a great debt of gratitude to Judge Kwan for his tireless efforts to serve his community,” Overson wrote in a proclamation, “especially as the city’s justice court judge, advocating for the rule of law through his compassion, patience, and good humor.”
Flowers may be sent to MacDougall Funeral Home on Friday morning, where a private service will be held. As an alternative to flowers, his family suggests donating to Asian Pacific Advocates (OCA) in memory of Kwan at www.ocanational.org/donate.