Skip to main content

The City Journals

Outgoing Judge Catherine Johnson to be replaced by one of five nominees

Oct 31, 2016 02:18PM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

South Salt Lake, Utah - Outgoing South Salt Lake Justice Court Judge Catherine M. Johnson will retire January 1, 2017, leaving in her wake a sizable void for those who knew her and stood before her. 

Five candidates have announced their candidacy for the position. 

After the comment period ended on October 17, South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood has 30 days to decide which of these five candidates will best fulfill the duties required of a justice court judge. 

Several candidates in the running for South Salt Lake Justice Court Judge (including Katherine Peters, Anna Lisa Rossi Anderson and George Vo-Duc of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office) are also in the running for justice court judge vacancies in Midvale and South Jordan. 

In no particular order, below are the five candidates and some interesting details this writer was able to find on each candidate—public information you might like to know about each individual running for this important city judicial position. 

Gretchen Johns, J.D., Office of Guardian ad Litem, South Jordan resident

Johns, 41, handles cases of neglected and abused children on a daily basis for the state of Utah. Johns passed her bar in 2009 in California and again in 2011 in Utah, at which point she became a criminal defense attorney at the Vernal, Utah firm of Sam, Reynolds & Evershed P.C.—a position she held for nearly three years. 

From that point forward, Johns relocated to Salt Lake City where she started working with the Office of Guardian ad Litem’s office. Many cases that come before the Justice Court judge may involve such domestic disturbances such as ones she handles daily. She has also taught Music Appreciation courses online at Utah State University for five years. 

Scott Reed J.D., Utah Attorney General’s Office, West Jordan resident

Reed spent more than 20 years facilitating area youth and adults in a program that may be known to some South Salt Lake residents. Reed oversaw the county’s “drug court,” a program designed to reduce recidivism and help treat those addicted to alcohol and drugs. 

For his efforts, Reed was honored in May with a commendation by Salt Lake County “for his role with Utah’s drug courts over the last two decades.” Sean Reyes, the state’s attorney general, wrote, “The work that Scott Reed has done with the drug courts—from helping to start the program to developing it over the last 20 years—has helped change the lives of thousands of people,” said Reyes. “By helping drug court participants—high risk, high-need individuals with addiction problems—stay clean and beat their addictions, the drug courts help individuals transform their lives for good and positively re-integrate with society instead of relegating them to incarceration or likely re-offense without any healing or addiction recovery.”  

George Vo-Duc J.D., Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Bountiful resident

A recipient of a Juris Doctorate in 2002 from the University of Utah, Vo-Duc is bilingual in both English and French according to his LinkedIn profile. He is also a part-time teacher at the Guadalupe School in downtown Salt Lake City where he teaches education courses. 

Katherine Peters J.D., Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Salt Lake City resident and Anna Lisa Rossi Anderson, J.D., Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, Salt Lake City resident

A licensed attorney since 2001, Peters is also a graduate of Chicago-Kent Law School. As for Anderson, she had less publicly obtainable information than any of the candidates at press time.  

The chosen candidate would receive a salary ranging from $100,000 to $115,000. After Mayor Wood has appointed the candidate she feels is best suited to the position, the next step is for the city council to ratify said candidate before the Utah Judicial Council approves the appointment.