Jon Carpenter appointed to Justice Court in Carbon County
Jon Randall Carpenter was selected as the new Justice Court Judge for Carbon County April 2 after a long selection process involving a committee that sorted out the candidates and recommended a pair of possibilities to the Carbon County Commission for consideration.
In an executive session the three commissioners met for 50 minutes to make the selection after the two candidates were revealed to those present. The nominating committee had forwarded two names to the commissioners, Carpenter and David Allred, both local attorneys.
"I am so excited about this," Carpenter said in an interview on Wednesday. "I see this as a real chance to serve the community."
Carpenter has been a practicing attorney eight years. He will replace Judge Elayne Storrs, who is retiring May 1.
Storrs has also filled the position of Justice Court Judge in Wellington. What will now happen with that position is up to the city council in that town.
Carpenter is presently a partner at Jensen & Carpenter Law Office in Price. He grew up in Utah and has practiced law all across the state. Jon's practice at Jensen & Carpenter includes many areas: divorce, custody, parent time, adoption, grandparent visitation, juvenile defense, parental defense, civil litigation and criminal defense.
"I think we have been very respectful of our clients," he said. "Obviously no one comes to us when things are going well in their lives. When you have clients, random things pop up and often they are beyond the legal realm. You just have to try to help them."
He graduated from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Neb. While attending law school, Carpenter worked on cases in a variety of legal fields: criminal, divorce and custody, economic development, and others. After law school, he worked with a small firm in rural Nebraska, and then moved to Utah, to clerk for five judges in the Seventh District in southeastern Utah.
Before attending law school, he attended the University of Utah, where he received a bachelor's degree in communication and also studied science and mathematics. While attending the University of Utah, he worked in construction, both residential and commercial.
In his job as a Justice Court Judge he will find a variety of types of cases that he will preside over. Justice Courts are set up to handle different kinds of cases than District Courts are. They are established by counties and municipalities and have the authority to deal with class B and C misdemeanors, violations of ordinances, small claims situations, and infractions committed within the governmental entities territorial jurisdiction. Justice Court jurisdictions are determined by the boundaries of local government entities such as cities or counties, which hire the judges.
There are two types of Justice Court judges: county judges who are initially appointed by a county commission and then stand for retention election every four years, and municipal judges who are appointed by city officials for a 4-year term. Some are both county and municipal judges. This is the case here
Some judges hear cases daily, and others have limited court hours each week. Justice Court judges need not be attorneys, although they receive extensive and continuing legal training. All Justice Court judges must attend 30 hours of continuing judicial education each year to remain certified.
At present in Utah 108 Justice Court judges serve in 134 county and municipal courts around the state.
Carpenter's present practice will have to be at the least diminished because of the new duties he will assume.
"I have a lot of clients that are in the middle of things," said Carpenter. "We will work to either get their cases completed of find someone else to help them. I am very sensitive to the fact that this is happening and want them to be assured they will be taken care of."
(Some information in this article came from the Utah State Courts as well as the website of the Jensen & Carpenter law firm).