Judge Stream to pick-up Green River justice court judge duties
The Commission decides to leave Judge Burns' Green River Justice Court position unfilled at this time.
In the Commission meeting held in Green River, Commissioner Gary Kofford said the county has two other positions they are trying to fill and in order to establish a position you need to have money to fill that position. The position of ambulance supervisor was recently created and filled and this was a position that didn't exist last year at budget time and this position was not in the budget.
Anytime someone retires as in the case recently with Judge Burns that position needs to be looked at said Kofford. The road department is still doing the same job and their department has shrunk from 35 people to 18.
Kofford said he had several people tell him the county could do without a Green River Justice Court Judge. Judge Steven Stream will come to Green River at least once a week. If someone is picked up in Green River they are transported to Castle Dale anyway for incarceration. The computer also has a webcam and business can be conducted on the computer between Castle Dale and Green River if needed.
Kofford said it is better to try it this way, than to hire someone and put them in that position and then eliminate that position at a later date.
Commissioner Horrocks said he has a different philosophy on the situation. Right now the county is trying to fund other positions. He is not against putting in a judge, but finances must be looked at. The caseloads also must be looked at. County Attorney David Blackwell said that the effects of the new law that comes into play on July 1, 2009 must be taken into consideration as well. Those new requirements must be weighed into the decision to maintain a judge in Green River or not.
In an interview with Judge Steven Stream who will fill in the gap with Green River, he said he will go down once a week and hold court as needed. If he is needed more than once a week he is willing to go down then as well. When in the office in Green River he will address administrative duties and take care of warrants and just be available as needed for as long as needed. He will also take care of normal court cases and small claims court cases. Judge Stream said it shouldn't affect any of the services in Green River nor the services on the western end of the county either. If an emergency situation came up, even though Judge Burns is retired, she still has the authority and senior judge status that she could do whatever needed to be done. As long as she stays active, she can fill in as needed if a matter needed immediate attention. Judge Stream said video arraignments can also be utilized.
Judge Stream said he is glad to go down to Green River and anxious to get to know the Green River people better. He thinks the judge position can be handled without hiring anyone new which will save the county money which can be utilized elsewhere. "I don't foresee any problems," said Judge Stream. "We will just wait and see how it's going to work out. Judges training is held once or twice a year. Someone new couldn't be trained at least until January. I don't think anything will suffer. A lot of times when Green River has an arraignment arrest, the subject has to be transported back to Green River from Castle Dale. One benefit would be the arraignment could take place in Castle Dale saving a transport and an officer's time," said Judge Stream.