Five judicial nominees have been selected by the 1st District Judicial Nominating Commission to fill the vacancy left by Judge Thomas Willmore.
According to a press release from the State Of Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, the nominees are Shawn Bailey of Peck, Hadfield Baxter & Moore; Wayne Caldwell of Bearnson & Caldwell; Christian Hansen of Hillyard, Anderson & Olsen; Matthew Lorz, a judge in the North Logan and Hyde Park Justice Court; and Spencer Walsh of the Cache County Attorney’s Office.
Prior to his nomination, Caldwell had been a board member of the nominating commission. Caldwell has resigned from the commission since its last meeting, according to CCJJ Executive Director Kim Cordova, and has been replaced by local defense attorney Shannon Demler.
The vacancy was created by the retirement of Willmore in February. Willmore has since been presiding as a vacancy judge in the 1st District along with Judge Edwin Peterson of the 8th District and Judge Jeremiah Humes of the 7th district among others.
The list of new nominees marks the second attempt to fill the vacancy. On Feb. 25, Gov. Gary Herbert appointed Robert Lund, the National Security and Anti-Terrorism coordinator for the United State Attorney’s Office, to fill the vacancy. The appointment left some in the local legal community feeling like local, qualified applicants had been overlooked.
Lund was not confirmed by the Utah State Senate during the regular session; at the time, Cordova said the confirmation never occurred due to “technical problems with deadlines.”
Cordova did not confirm if Lund applied for the position a second time.
Written comments can be submitted to the 1st District Judicial Nominating Commission Chair at email@example.com or Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, P.O. Box 142330, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2330.
The deadline for written comments is noon Aug. 23, 2020. The nominating commission may request further information or conduct an investigation of the nominees after reviewing public comments. After the public comment period, the names will be sent to Gov. Gary Herbert, who will have 30 days to make an appointment. Herbert’s appointee is then subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate.