This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine Durham, in her State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature on Monday, cited justice court reform as the most pressing issue facing the courts.
She fretted about the public perception that justice courts are not there to administer justice but simply to generate revenue for city and county coffers.
Gee, ya think?
I wonder if this example might contribute to that public perception.
Judges order bail amounts to ensure defendants will appear in court for hearings and trials if they are let out of jail. If they don't show, they forfeit the bail to the courts.
So Taylorsville Judge Michael Kwan, upset that a defendant in a routine traffic offense missed a couple of court appearances, ordered bail of $105,000, according to Gary Walton of Beehive Bail Bonds. The company puts up the money, then generally keeps 10 percent for the service. That would have been $10,000 for a traffic violation. Walton felt sorry for the guy and gave him a discount.
Another time, Kwan ordered $150,000 bail for a Beehive Bail Bonds client accused of class B misdemeanor domestic assault.
That contrasts with $100,000 Beehive recently put up for a murder suspect in district court.
The typical district court bail for aggravated assault with a knife, by the way, is $25,000. It's also $25,000 for possession of cocaine or heroin with the intent to distribute.
Do it yourself: Lobbyists and other deep-pocketed folks who need to stay friendly with legislative leaders to protect their interests may be getting tired of the lawmakers asking for handouts.
Some grumbled about a recent letter from House Speaker Greg Curtis asking them to buy a table and contribute items for a silent auction at the Salt Lake County Lincoln Day Dinner on Feb. 8 to raise money for the county's Republican Party.
Curtis has a combined $320,000 between his personal campaign fund and his speaker's campaign fund for Republican legislative candidates, and much of that money was raised from these same lobbyists.
They'd like to tell him to give some of that money to the party and leave them alone for a change.
But they won't.
For what it's worth: For those Utah political wonks still discussing, haranguing or flagellating over the significance of Mitt Romney's Dec. 6 speech regarding his religion, here is something to ponder.
According to Google Hot Trends, the most Utah-related topic searched for on Google that day was not the Romney speech. In fact, that came in 12th. The top Utah-related subject was Sgt. Jill Stevens, better known as Miss Utah. In fact, word combinations relating to "G.I. Jill" were first-, fifth-, 13th- and 86th-most-searched. All of these topics were in competition with "Gilligan's Island lyrics," which ranked ninth.