Legal Ethics

Judge's Ethics Appeal Blames High Warrant Amount on Misplaced Comma Rather than Retaliation


A Utah judge is appealing a reprimand issued in the belief that he entered a $10,000 cash-only warrant for a woman accused of a minor traffic violation because she was rude to his law clerks.

Judge Keith Stoney of West Valley City Justice Court told the Utah Supreme Court the high amount was the result of an error, the Deseret News reports. “My conduct, at worst, was accidental,” he said. “Even in decisions this court handed down you said judges are human. I added an extra zero. I put a comma in the wrong spot. I don’t know what happened.”

The traffic defendant had asked to see the judge about a citation for expired registration, the story says. Clerks scheduled a hearing for the same day, but then the woman called back to say she wouldn’t be coming to court at all. Stoney said that when he issued the warrant, he wasn’t aware of allegations she had been rude.

Stoney was previously in the news for sentencing a litigant to a day in jail for recording courtroom proceedings on her cellphone. The Deseret News covered the controversy.

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