Online petition hopes to get judge recalled
UTAH COUNTY – An online petition is circulating, asking the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission to recall a judge some say gave a light sentence to a former BYU student accused of sexually abusing young children and soliciting sex from what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
Judge Darold McDade gave 300 days in jail to Nicholas Lewis, with credit for time served. This would put him in jail for roughly 100 more days.
The author of the petition declined an interview, but, posted on his petition that McDade has “put Utah children in danger by treating sexual violence lightly.”
However, Lewis’ defense attorney, John Allan, says there’s more to that sentence than the petitioners know about. First, he says the crimes Lewis is accused of do not have a mandatory minimum sentence, like some people believe. Also, Allan says the more egregious crimes Lewis is accused of happened ten years ago, when he was a minor.
If Lewis were to be convicted back then, “The most he would have got at that stage was 30 days in detention,” Allan says.
Also, Allan says the victims, themselves, didn’t want Lewis to go to prison.
“The victims actually wrote letters and appeared in court asking Judge McDade to show mercy upon Nicholas Lewis. They felt like he had made some positive changes,” Allan says, adding they believed Lewis could be well treated with counseling.
But the petitioners also say this isn’t the first time McDade has issued a lenient sentence for sexual abuse.
Plus, he quoted the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission’s latest review of McDade, saying, “Judge Darold McDade fails to meet the minimum performance standard for legal ability and scores below the average of his district court peers in all other survey categories. Survey respondents express doubt about the depth of Judge McDade’s legal knowledge and his ability to properly adjudicate complex matters. They question the clarity and reasoning of his oral and written rulings.”
The UJCC will make their own decision on whether or not they’ll do an investigation stemming from this petition.
Allan says, “The judiciary committee sits over and watches the judges, and, if there are complaints made, it’s just like a bar complaint on an attorney. They look at it to determine whether there’s any merit.”
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