Gov. Gary R. Herbert has appointed Judge Paige Petersen to serve as a justice on the Utah Supreme Court. If confirmed Judge Petersen will fill the vacancy created by Justice Christine Durham, who will retire on Nov. 15, 2017.
“The judicial appointments I make are among the most significant and enduring things I will do as governor,” said Gov. Herbert. “This is particularly true with appointments to Utah’s Supreme Court. I am very pleased to appoint Judge Petersen to the Utah Supreme Court. Judge Petersen has served with distinction and earned a reputation as a thoughtful, deliberative, prepared jurist who has demonstrated a dedication to the rule of law above all. Her intellect and her calm, confidence-instilling demeanor will serve this state well.”
Petersen was raised in Emery County, Utah. She is a graduate of Carbon High School, the College of Eastern Utah, the University of Utah and Yale Law School.
Petersen has served as a judge of the Utah Third Judicial District Court since 2015. In her current capacity, she handles a full civil caseload in Salt Lake County. From May 2015 to May 2017, Petersen oversaw a combined civil and criminal caseload, which included a civil calendar in Salt Lake County, the entire criminal docket in Summit County and the Summit County Drug Court. Petersen chairs the Pretrial Release and Monitoring Committee, and serves on the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee of the Utah State Bar.
“It has been my honor to serve the people of Utah as a district court judge,” Petersen said. “I am deeply grateful to Gov. Herbert for the confidence he has placed in me. If confirmed, I will work hard, and interpret the laws of Utah with fidelity.”
From 2012 to 2015, Petersen was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Violent Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, where she prosecuted violent crimes including bank robberies, child pornography, gun crimes and sexual abuse, domestic violence and aggravated assault cases. In this capacity, she briefed and argued a case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Petersen was a legal officer in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at the Hague in the Netherlands from 2009 to 2011. While serving in the Netherlands, Petersen served as a trial attorney on Prosecutor v. Vlastimir Dordevic, the successful prosecution of the former Serbian chief of police for committing crimes against humanity in Kosovo. Petersen also conducted direct and cross-examination of witnesses as trial, including the cross-examination of several former Yugoslav Army generals.
From 2003 to 2008, Petersen was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Organized Crime Section, Narcotics Section and General Crimes Section for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Petersen handled all phases of litigation, including discovery, written and oral motion practice, all court appearances, evidentiary hearings, trial, sentencing hearings and appeals. She briefed and argued numerous cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. As an assistant U.S. attorney, Petersen worked in concert with federal agents on criminal investigations and served as a lead and co-counsel in numerous complex criminal litigations such as U.S. v. Pizzonia, et al., U.S. v. Peter Gotti, U.S. v. Khan, U.S. v. Adams, et al., U.S. v. Bouloute, and U.S. v. Uvino, et al.
Prior to her service for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Petersen was a litigation associate with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York, New York from 2001-2003. From 1999 to 2001, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan Dlott in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Judge Peterson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Utah in political science and english. She received her Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School.
The governor’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate.