BECOMING A JUSTICE JUDGE
BY ROB BRIGHTON
CRIMINAL JUSTICE 1010 DECEMBER 2, 2011
I have been working in the Criminal Justice ﬁeld for over four years as a Police
Ofﬁcer. I have experienced many things and am always looking to better myself in education and training. I hope to build on the background that I have now and pursue a Bachelors degree and eventually a Law degree so that I can become a Justice of the Peace or Judge. This paper is about an interview with a local magistrate, Judge Keith L. Stoney of Utahʼs 3rd District for Salt Lake County Judicial, West Valley City and Saratoga Springs Justice Courts. The time, the education, the beneﬁts and the sometimes lengthy process ...view middle of the document...
Reuben Clark School of Law. Judge Stoney was the Chief Prosecutor for West Valley City for 17 years. During this time he also managed a private law practice. In 2001 Judge Stoney was appointed to the West Valley City Justice Court where he currently serves as the presiding Judge. Judge Stoney has taught an BYU as well as his former law school. He has been an instructor at Utahʼs POST or Peace Ofﬁcer Standards and Training, Salt Lake Community College and the Department of Corrections. He has served as the chairman of the Justice Court Curriculum Subcommittee and currently serves as a Justice Court representative on the Utah Judicial Council. EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS ! When Judge Stoney was asked about what type of education requirements
needed to be met to obtain the position of a Judge, he stated that a Bachelorʼs degree is a good start. Usually it is not noted what your four year degree need be in but if you plan to sit on the bench then you will need to continue your education. The majority of Judges have law degrees and are expected to be lawyers before they are appointed. A law degree accompanied by work experience in the ﬁeld is highly favored for your resume. If you really want to beef up that resume then a Doctorate will deﬁnitely help. In the state of Utah, Justice Judges need to be attorneys; Outside of the state the minimal requirements for a judgeship are a bachelorʼs degree and work experience.
Let it also be noted that most of these positions require you to be appointed to
the judgeship. Once the judgeship is obtained, the training and education they receive is always on going. With the laws always changing, Judges need to stay up to date with the most current legal training. All Justice Court Judges are required to attend 30 hours of continuing judicial education each year to remain certiﬁed. The Federal Judicial Center, American Bar Association, National Judicial College and National Center for State Courts all provide continuing judicial education and training. If you do not stay up on this continual education, your certiﬁcation may be revoked and you may be removed from the bench at worst. At minimum you will not be allowed to sit on the bench until the training is complete. Most Judges go beyond the 30 hours of judicial training and continue to keep themselves well educated. WAGE SCALE ! The wage scale for a judge can widely vary depending upon which type of judge
you are. In the Federal court system, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is well over $200,000 and the Associate Justices are in the high $100,000 to the low $200,000. In the state system, the average salary is around $125,000 while the local government can range from $75,000 to $100,000. Again all of this depends on the type of Judge your are and which court system you work for (Federal, State or Local governments). When asked about his salary, Judge Stoney did not want to give an exact number. However when he was presented with an average salary...