Gov. Spencer Cox has nominated Sean Petersen to fill a vacancy on the Fourth District Court, and Utah lawmakers are now seeking public comment on the judicial nomination.

Petersen currently serves as a court commissioner of Fourth District Court and previously worked as a personal injury and criminal defense attorney at Howard, Lewis and Peterson in Provo, and also as an attorney for Burt, Swanson, Lathan, Alexander and McCann in Oregon. He received his J.D. from Willamette University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University.

If his nomination is approved by the Utah State Senate, Petersen will replace Judge Darold J. McDade, who is retiring on Friday. Petersen was one of five nominees selected by the Fourth District Judicial Nominating Commission, including Shawn Howell and Douglas Thompson of the Utah County Public Defender Association, Lindon City Justice Court Judge Brook Sessions and Provo-based attorney Kara North.

In a press release on Thursday, Cox said Petersen’s “experience as both a court commissioner and an attorney in the private sector have prepared him well for this new responsibility on the bench.”

“I’m pleased that he is willing and able to serve the people of Utah in this way,” the governor said.

In a written statement, Petersen said he was “humbled by Gov. Cox’s appointment.”

“If confirmed, I commit to serve my community and the state of Utah with fidelity and respect,” the Fourth District Court judicial nominee said.

On Thursday, the Utah State Senate announced that the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on Peterson’s nomination.

Those who wish to make public comments can contact Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee staff Jerry Howe at the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel by 5 p.m on July 22.

Statements can be mailed to the Utah State Capitol, House Building, Suite W210, P.O. Box 145210, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84114. All statements should include the respondent’s name, telephone number and mailing address.

The Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee — which includes Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Draper, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, Sen. Don Ipson, R-St. George, Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City and Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton — plans to hold a public hearing and will then issue a recommendation to the full Senate.

Peterson has held his position as a court commissioner of the Fourth District Court since 2018, according to the governor’s office.

The Fourth District Court includes Utah, Wasatch, Juab and Millard counties.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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