Mayor says court should be in Coalville
February 2, 2010
When Summit County officials moved the 3rd District Court from Coalville to the Snyderville Basin they violated the law, according to Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt.
State law says district courts must be located in county seats, Schmidt said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
The county seat in Summit County is Coalville, which is about 25 miles from Park City.
Several years ago officials should not have moved 3rd District Court from Coalville to the Snyderville Basin without "prior legislative approval," Schmidt said.
"It takes a resolution by the Legislature to move courts out of a county seat," Schmidt said. "That’s never taken place."
However, the County Courthouse at 60 N. Main Street still has a courtroom just in case proceedings need to be scheduled in Coalville. When 3rd District Court was moving out of Coalville to the Summit County Justice Center on the West Side, then-Summit County Commissioner Sheldon Richins was adamant that a courtroom remain in the North Summit area.
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"The courtroom is still there. Nobody has taken the space over," Summit County Clerk Kent Jones said. "It still remains the same today."
If the courtroom in Coalville is removed as the County Courthouse undergoes a remodel, Jones said state court officials would likely arrange for space someplace else in Coalville to hold court proceedings if necessary.
"They do want to comply with the law," Jones said.
But county officials needed approval from the Legislature before moving the court nearly a decade ago, Schmidt said.
"According to my research, there was no legislative approval for the court to be moved out of Coalville," Schmidt states in a Jan. 27 letter to Utah Court Administrator Daniel Becker. "The District Court must be located back to Coalville, which is the county seat for Summit County."
In moving other county departments out of Coalville officials have taken a bite out of the local economy, Schmidt said.
"What has taken place in regards to tearing apart the county seat has had tremendous financial implications for our city," Schmidt said. "People are tired of it. They feel like they just haven’t had a say in it."
Actions by past County Commissions, which have taken the Summit County Health Department, Public Works and Sheriff’s Office away from Coalville, have devastated some merchants in the North Summit area, Schmidt said.
"The current Summit County Council has continued the dismantling and dismissed concerns and issues raised by Coalville city and other concerned Summit County residents," Schmidt stated in his letter to court officials. "I intend on taking these issues to our state representatives. I also expect your office to abide by the laws of the state of Utah."
Schmidt said that he is not "anti-Park City" and he did not raise the issue to punish the West Side of Summit County.
"When you look around anywhere in the country you are going to find that the highest populated areas are not always the county seat or the state capitol," Schmidt said. "It’s a 15-minute ride. It’s not that far."