Memorandum

To: From: Date: Re: Utah State Senators John L. Fellows, General Counsel January 18, 2013 Utah Impeachment Process

Impeachment: Utah Process
Michael E. Christensen Director John L. Fellows General Counsel

I. Introduction:
This memo provides information about the impeachment process in Utah. Although this memo provides a summary of the process, OLRGC has done more in-depth legal and policy research on impeachment and the impeachment process. Legislators with questions or seeking more detail may contact me. Utah's constitution, statutes, and legislative rules provide general guidelines and requirements for the impeachment process. They also grant virtually absolute discretion to the House and Senate to establish the detailed procedures for a particular impeachment. (If the House or Senate must adopt detailed procedures because an impeachment resolution is filed, OLRGC staff can assist the House and Senate in developing those procedures by providing the House and Senate with examples of processes used in Congress and other states.)

II. Sources for information about impeachment in Utah:
< < < < Utah Constitution Article VI, Sections 17-20 Utah Code Sections 77-5-1 through 77-5-12 House Rule 1-6-101 Senate Rule 1-6-101

III. Concepts
<
Utah State Capitol Complex House Building, Suite W210 PO Box 145210 Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-5210 Phone (801) 538-1032 Fax (801) 538-1712 www.le.utah.gov

A Utah state or judicial officer is "impeached" if the House of Representatives adopts one or more articles of impeachment by a 2/3 vote.

Utah Impeachment Process January 18, 2013 Page 2 of 3 < A Utah state or judicial officer is removed from office only if the Senate convicts the officer in a trial in the Senate after the House has impeached the officer. For example, former President Bill Clinton was "impeached" because the U.S. House adopted Articles of Impeachment, but he was not removed from office because the U.S. Senate did not "convict" him.

<

IV. Summary of Impeachment Process in Utah:
< Resolution Initiates Impeachment --A member of the House files a resolution calling for the impeachment of a state or judicial officer (Utah Code §77-5-3) (See Appendix A for example of an impeachment resolution for Judge Harding in 2003) House Establishes Rules of Process -- If resolution passes, House adopts, by constitutional majority vote, policies establishing procedures for, and governing the conduct of, the impeachment process (House Rule 1-6-101) (See Appendix B for an example of the policies adopted by the House for the Judge Harding impeachment in 2003) Constitutional Standard for Impeachment -- "The Governor and other State and Judicial officers shall be liable to impeachment for high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office; . . . ." Utah Constitution Article VI, Section 19. (Because impeachment is constitutionally vested in the legislative branch, courts have generally declined to interfere in the process, including declining to second guess the legislative branch on the meaning and scope of the terms "high crimes, misdemeanors, or malfeasance in office.") House Committee Action -- Because the policies usually require referral of the impeachment to a House committee, the committee meets, subpoenas and examines witnesses, documents, and other relevant material, and, if the evidence warrants, draws up Articles of Impeachment and recommends that the entire House adopt them. (Articles of Impeachment are similar to an information or indictment -they lay out, article by article, the specific charges against the person being impeached.) House Floor Action -- The House votes on each article separately. If one or more articles receive a 2/3 vote in favor, the officer or judge is impeached and the House submits the Articles of Impeachment to the

<

<

<

<

Utah Impeachment Process January 18, 2013 Page 3 of 3 Senate for trial. < Impeached Officer Suspended If Impeached -- When the House submits Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, the Senate must serve a copy of the articles on the impeached state officer or judge. Once served, the impeached officer is temporarily suspended from his office and may not exercise the duties of the office until/unless the officer is acquitted by the Senate. The governor temporarily appoints a person to fill the office, with confirmation by the Senate, unless the officer is convicted. (Utah Code §77-5-6) Senate Establishes Rules of Process -- Senate adopts, by majority vote, policies establishing procedures for, and governing the conduct of, the trial process. (Senate Rule 1-6-101) Senate Trial -- At the trial, each senator must swear an oath to do justice according to the law and evidence. Two-thirds of the senate must be present in order for the trial to proceed. To convict, a constitutional 2/3 of the senators (20 Senators) must vote that one or more articles of impeachment has been proved. (Utah Code §§77-5-7, 77-5-8) Impeachment Not a Bar To Prosecution -- The state officer or judge can still be prosecuted criminally whether the officer is convicted or acquitted. (Utah Constitution Article VI, Section 19; Utah Code §77-511)

<

<

<

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful