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Groups Call for Price Judge to be Impeached, Reprimanded


Two activist groups want Carbon County Juvenile Court Judge Scott Johansen to be punished for his decision to remove a baby from the custody of a same-sex couple because the couple is gay.

Johansen backed off his controversial order on Friday, permitting foster parents, April Hoagland and Beckie Pierce to retain custody of the child. He also removed himself from further involvement in the case. But Josh Kanter, chair of Alliance for a Better Utah’s Board says the judge has made a habit of outrageous courtroom decisions.

“You know, if you were a defended in Judge Johansen’s court room, you’d probably be subject to a three-strike rule and at least publicly this is the fourth strike against him,” Kanter says. “And there’s no corollary to that three-strike rule on the other side of the bench.”

Kanter’s group is asking members of the Utah legislature to initiate an impeachment process.

Meanwhile, officials with national LGBT rights advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign are asking Utah’s Judicial Conduct Commission to investigate Johansen’s actions. In Utah, discrimination is a violation of the judicial code of conduct.   Sarah Warbelow is HRC’s legal director. 

“Our goal is not to damage anyone’s job,” Warbelow says. “What we want is for people to take their jobs seriously and to do them within the confines of the law.”

Officials with the Judicial Conduct Commission say they investigate every complaint they receive. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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