LOGAN — After spending more than two decades on the bench and serving as the associate presiding judge in northern Utah, Judge Thomas L. Willmore has announced his retirement. He reportedly submitted his notice last week to Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant and Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
Utah State Court Communications Director Geoffrey Fattah confirmed that Judge Willmore will step off the bench February 16, 2020. His replacement will likely be announced in the beginning of the year, following a nomination process.
Judge Willmore was appointed to the First District Court in January 1999 by Governor Michael O. Leavitt. He has presided over several high-profile cases, including the murder trial for Heidi M. Rutchey, who was found guilty but mentally ill of killing her young son.
Judge Willmore graduated from Utah State University and received his law degree from the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Before his appointment, he practiced law with Olson & Hoggan Law Firm.
Judge Willmore publicly announced his retirement in court Monday morning. Although he joked that few people would actually miss him, his absence from the bench will be greatly felt.
During the past 20 years, Judge Willmore has overseen cases in Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties. He has served as the presiding judge since 2006, while previously being the chair and member of the Board of District Court Judges from 2001-2006. He also was a part of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure, and member of the Utah Access to Justice Council.
Judge Willmore established and presides over the First District Drug Court in Logan and Brigham City. He has been a strong proponent within the judiciary of drug rehabilitation and other judicial intervention programs for those struggling with substance abuse.