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Johnson v. Office of Professional Conduct

Supreme Court of Utah

February 6, 2017

Stacey Austin Johnson, Appellant,
v.
Office of Professional Conduct, Appellee.

         On Direct Appeal Fourth District, Provo The Honorable Fred D. Howard No. 120400436

         Chief Justice Durrant authored the opinion of the Court, in which Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Durham, Justice Himonas, and Justice Pearce joined.

          Stacey Austin Johnson, Orem, pro se appellant

          Adam C. Bevis, Salt Lake City, for appellee

          OPINION

          Durrant, Chief Justice

         Introduction

         ¶ 1 Petitioner Stacey Austin Johnson appeals from an attorney discipline order suspending him from the practice of law. We conclude that we lack jurisdiction because Mr. Johnson failed to timely appeal the district court's order, which was final under Utah Rules of Civil Procedure 54 and 58A. We therefore do not consider his appeal on the merits.

         ¶ 2 Following a formal disciplinary proceeding under rule 14-511 of the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability (RLDD), the district court entered its "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order of Suspension" (Order) on June 15, 2015. On that date, rule 58A of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure provided that a judgment is "deemed entered for all purposes" when it is "signed by the judge and filed with the clerk."[1] Because the Order was electronically signed by the district court and was filed with the clerk on June 15, 2015, it was final and appealable on that date.

         ¶ 3 Rule 4 of the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure provides that a petition for review must be filed within 30 days from the entry of an appealable order. Mr. Johnson's petition, filed 150 days after the district court's Order, was therefore untimely. Accordingly, we lack jurisdiction and do not consider the merits of Mr. Johnson's appeal.

         Background

         ¶ 4 The Office of Professional Conduct (OPC) filed a formal complaint against Mr. Johnson in district court for alleged violations of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct. After a two-day bench trial, the court concluded that Mr. Johnson's conduct violated those rules. The district court then held a sanctions hearing to hear evidence of aggravation and mitigation. It later signed and entered its Order on June 15, 2015.

         ¶ 5 Mr. Johnson took no action until 56 days later, August 10, 2015. On that day, rather than file a notice of appeal or a petition for review, he filed two motions with the district court: an "Application for Stay Pending Review" and a "Motion to Dismiss; or, in the Alternative, Reinstate Appeal Time." The district court denied both motions in an order dated October 13, 2015. Mr. Johnson then filed a petition for review with this court on November 12, 2015, which was 150 days after the court's June 15, 2015 Order.

         Standard of Review

         ¶ 6 "Because we lack jurisdiction, we do not review the decision of the district court and no ...


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