Judge Thomas Higbee, an experienced judge, receives outstanding evaluations from survey respondents, earning scores above the average of his juvenile court peers in all survey categories. In particular, survey respondents give him very high scores for properly applying legal rules and precedent. From a list, survey respondents select 95% positive adjectives to describe him, emphasizing his knowledge, confidence, and consistency. Both survey respondents and courtroom observers characterize Judge Higbee as fair and impartial, demonstrating genuine concern for the well-being of juveniles and families appearing in his court. Some observers and survey respondents note that his personal or religious views influence his judicial outlook. All observers are strongly positive about Judge Higbee and report they would feel comfortable appearing before him in court. Of survey respondents answering the retention question, 98% recommend that Judge Higbee be retained.
The commission reviewed surveys and courtroom observation reports in addition to verifying that Judge Higbee has met all time standards, judicial education requirements, and discipline standards established by the judicial branch.
Judge Thomas M. Higbee was appointed to the Fifth District Juvenile Court in 2001 by Gov. Michael O. Leavitt. Judge Higbee earned his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1980. He practiced law for 20 years and was the senior partner at Higbee & Jensen and a trustee of Southern Utah University at the time of his appointment. He has served as a board member and chair of the Board of Juvenile Court Judges, the co-chair of the Judicial Council’s Standing Committee on Children and Family Law, and on several other committees. Judge Higbee currently serves on the Utah Judicial Council.