ST. GEORGE – Friday, Gov. Gary R. Herbert appointed Paul Dame and Michael Leavitt to the 5th District Juvenile Court. The 5th District includes Beaver, Iron and Washington counties.
“I am proud to appoint Paul and Michael and welcome them into this new position,” Herbert said. “I have complete confidence they will uphold the highest principles of justice, kindness, civility and integrity as they serve on the 5th District Juvenile Court.”
Dame served as a Washington County Justice Court judge in St. George from 2004 to 2014. There he handled misdemeanor criminal cases, felony and misdemeanor search warrants, and probable cause bail reviews. Between 1995 and 2004, Dame worked as the St. George city prosecutor and then as chief deputy Washington County prosecutor. Dame received his Juris Doctor in 1990, graduating cum laude from Brigham Young University.
“I’ve known Paul for nearly 19 years. His intellect and dedication to justice, to fairness, are estimable,” Deputy Washington County Attorney Brian Filter, who worked with Dame, said. “I am sure he will make a fine judge and do great things for the young people and families who appear before him.”
“It’s an honor to be appointed. I’m grateful to Gov. Herbert and his staff,” Dame said. “I’m excited to work with the judges, attorneys and contributing agencies in the 5th District. I will work very hard, and I look forward to serving my community in this new capacity.”
Michael Leavitt served as an attorney at Durham Jones & Pinegar from 2002 to 2014. There he practiced commercial and business litigation, property and domestic disputes, collections and representation of creditors in bankruptcy, among others. From 2004-2006, Leavitt taught paralegal skills, including business law and ethics, at Dixie State College. He has also served as a member of the Utah State Bar Board of Commissioners since 2012. Leavitt graduated from the University of Idaho, College of Law, with his Juris Doctor in 2002.
“I am passionate about seeing families grow together and young people grow up to become successful adults,” Leavitt said. “I am honored to be part of that process in the 5th District Juvenile Court and grateful for Gov. Herbert’s confidence in me in this endeavor.”
Dame fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Hans Chamberlain on May 1. Leavitt fills the vacancy created by the resignation, due to personal health concerns, of Judge Karla Staheli on Feb. 1. The governor’s appointments are subject to confirmation by the Utah State Senate.
“I don’t foresee any issue with their confirmation,” Utah Sen. Evan Vickers said. “I think they will do a great job.” Vickers, who represents Beaver and Iron counties and a portion of Washington County, said both judges would have to be confirmed by the state senate. “We try to take care of the confirmations as soon as possible.”
“I think they will be great,”Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart said. “I have known both of them for several years. I have known Judge Dame since 1990.” Urquhart, who sits on the six-member Judicial Confirmation Committee, also said he did not feel any issues would prevent the approval of Judge Dame and Judge Leavitt. “Two great individuals who I think will be wonderful,” Urquhart said.
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