Tooele County’s top law official might get a change of title: judge.
Tooele County Attorney Doug Hogan was named one of five finalists for Judge Terry Christiansen, who is retiring from his 3rd District Court judgeship Oct. 1.
Monica Taylor, coordinator over judicial nominations for the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, said 21 applicants applied for the position, which was whittled down to five finalists through an application review and interview process.
She said four other judicial positions have also opened, with 10 total finalists between them. The selection process typically takes four to six months.
The 3rd District Court covers Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties.
Hogan said while he doesn’t necessarily want to leave his current job, he applied for the vacancy in May because vacancies don’t often occur and the odds of him being picked were remote.
“I don’t want people to think I don’t want to be the county attorney. I very much appreciate the support people have given me,” he said. “This is the kind of thing where sometimes peoples’ names are sent up multiple times and they’re never chosen.”
In two weeks, Hogan — and the other finalists — will interview with members of Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff, and will talk to the governor the following week. The finalist selected by Herbert will also have to be confirmed in a Senate hearing.
The new judge will start either Nov. 1 or Jan. 1; neither Hogan nor Taylor knew which date applied to Christiansen’s position. Taylor said the start date will depend on which Senate hearing the candidate is presented in.
Hogan said if he is picked and the start date is Nov. 1, his then-vacant current position will be considered a vacancy of candidacy, and the local Republican party will select someone to run in his place. If the start date is Jan. 1 and he is selected, his position will be considered a vacancy of office, and the party will choose someone to serve in his stead until the next election.
Whether or not he is selected, Hogan said the coming weeks will be emotional.
“I’ve got really mixed emotions. It’s a goal I’ve always thought I’ve always wanted, and it’s an honor to even get an interview,” he said. “But there are parts of my job now that I really love and I’m hesitant to give up.
“You never know when there’s going to be another vacancy,” he added. “If you want to do it, the timing’s not always ideal. But if I tried to wait for the perfect time for me, odds are there wouldn’t be a vacancy. So when they open up, you need to put in.”