Whether it’s for a traffic ticket or for crimes up to a Class B misdemeanor, most Utahns only interact with the criminal justice system at the justice court level. These courts have little oversight from state court administration, and are instead tied into the budgets of their local governments, where those officials act in some capacity as their overseers.
This structure has fostered a public perception of skewed financial incentives among justice courts. These institutions must be held accountable with transparent budgetary practices that don’t tolerate potentially perverse incentives. They also should ensure that the constitutional and financial needs of Utahns are put first.