Appointed in 1998, Judge Michael Kwan scores consistent with the average of his justice court peers in all survey categories, showing improvement from previous survey results. While many survey respondents describe Judge Kwan as knowledgeable and professional, some perceive him as arrogant and dismissive. Others praise Judge Kwan’s integrity and his fair and respectful treatment of those appearing before him. Courtroom observers, enthusiastically positive, all report they would feel comfortable appearing before Judge Kwan. They particularly note his patient explanation of decisions, focus on the parties appearing before him, and non-threatening, welcoming demeanor. As required by statute, the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission notes that the Utah Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Judge Kwan in 2005 for making a crude and inappropriate remark in court in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Of survey respondents answering the retention question, 79% recommend that Judge Kwan be retained.
The commission reviewed surveys and courtroom observation reports in addition to verifying that Judge Kwan has met all time standards, judicial education requirements, and discipline standards established by the judicial branch.
Judge Michael Kwan was appointed in 1998. A graduate of Whittier College School of Law, he received the Quality of Justice Award in 2001. His Domestic Violence Program received the Peace on Earth Award from the SL Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002. He started one of the nation’s first DUI/Drug Courts in 1998, for which he received the 2008 Utah Governor’s Award. Judge Kwan teaches courses across the country for state, national and international organizations. A past Chair of the Board of Justice Court Judges and member of the Utah Judicial Council, he currently serves on the Utah Substance Abuse Advisory Council, as Chair of the ABA Judicial Education Committee, and as a member of the National Asian Pacific American Judicial Council.