Midvale City appoints new judge to city’s justice courtDec 01, 2016 02:56PM ● By Travis Barton
George Vo-Duc stands next to Midvale City Manager Kane Loader at the Midvale City Council meeting on Nov. 1. Vo-Duc was ratified by the city council to the Midvale City Justice Court. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Midvale City Council voted to ratify the appointment of George Vo-Duc in the Midvale City Justice Court. The appointment must be certified by the Utah Judicial Council before being finalized.
Vo-Duc, a prosecutor in the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office, will replace Judge Ronald Wolthuis who is set to retire effective Jan. 1 2017.
“We were very impressed with [Vo-Duc’s] credentials and how he presented himself,” said Kane Loader, city manager.
Four nominees were selected from 50 applicants by the Salt Lake County Nominating Commission for the upcoming vacancy. Each nominee was interviewed by a committee assembled by Mayor JoAnn Seghini made up of Loader, assistant city manager Phillip Hill, assistant city manager Laurie Harvey and human resources director Rori Andreason.
Loader said while it was a difficult selection with four qualified candidates, it was a unanimous decision amongst the committee to choose Vo-Duc.
“We feel very confident that we have chosen the right candidate and the right person to fulfill this position for Midvale City,” Loader said during the city council meeting.
Before the ratification, Vo-Duc had the opportunity to address the city council and answer any questions.
“I know in the end, your trust in me and your faith in me will be rewarded and the court in Midvale will have a good name because of my work,” Vo-Duc told the city council.
Seghini said she wanted someone who desired to be a part of the Midvale community and Vo-Duc, a Bountiful resident, asked her during the interview if he could come to the neighborhood picnics held in the summer.
“The professionalism of a judge on the bench is sacred, but I was looking for someone who wanted to meet people not in trouble as well as people who were troubled and I got that message from [Vo-Duc] loud and clear,” Seghini said.
“The lodestone by which I measure my conduct is the constitution and I think people will see that,” Vo-Duc said.
As a practicing lawyer, Councilman Quinn Sperry said it is important for the judge to have the proper disposition.
“It’s the temperament of the judge, in addition to the legal mind that makes a big difference for me,” Sperry said. After asking around the legal community, he said he heard reassuring comments about Vo-Duc.
“Temperament is extremely important. When you show anger or arrogance, what you do is you lose everybody, most importantly the person in front of you whose case you have,” Vo-Duc said. He added he wants people who see him in the courtroom to be proud of what they see.
“Not a judge who yells at people and throws the book and acts like he’s just seen Judge Judy and decided to copy her,” Vo-Duc said.
Vo-Duc has been a prosecutor for almost 15 years and he said becoming a judge was the natural evolution for him.
“Over 15 years I’ve developed a good sense of myself, from early on I had a philosophy I wanted to adhere to and a reputation I wanted to develop not by tooting my own horn but by doing my job,” Vo-Duc said.
Vo-Duc said it takes many years to become secure in your judgment, which brings about experience “that you can’t just buy.”
“I think I’ve acquired perspective of the defendants I deal with, the crimes I deal with and how it impacts the community,” Vo-Duc said.
With that experience, Vo-Duc said he’s looked at judges he admires and wished to emulate along with ways to improve the position. He said being a judge carries weight and it’s not something everybody can do.
“It’s a natural evolution [for me], I think that now I have the tools, the attributes, the experience and the perspective to provide my talents and services in the service of something greater,” Vo-Duc said.