Emily Chiang, a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, was interviewed in a recent City Weekly newspaper article about Utah’s justice courts. The same article highlighted the work of the College of Law’s Civil Rights Practicum, which has recently monitored a Box Elder County Justice Court in response to complaints about the courtroom demeanor of Judge Kevin Christensen.
Chiang, the director of the Civil Rights Clinic, noted that Christensen’s courtroom actions, which allegedly include denying defendants their constitutional right to an attorney, are symptomatic of a larger problem. As she explained to City Weekly, Utah provides no state funding for public defense, leaving the funding to individual counties.
“I suspect what’s happening is not unusual,” Chiang opined to City Weekly. “I don’t think it’s this one rogue judge making ill-advised pronouncements in his courtroom. I think this is representative of a system broken, as a whole.”
To read the City Weekly article, click here.