Controversial judge agrees to retire; pending complaints will be dismissed

Published: Monday, Sept. 17 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

Laycock later vacated the contempt conviction and said Stoney's testimony in her courtroom, including his assertion that he had seen Damron-Peltekian make a second recording, "lacked credibility." Laycock called Stoney's mistake that day "egregious" and its consequences "severe."

The prosecutor who handled the cases resigned. The family testified before the Legislature and a new law was enacted requiring all justice courts in the state to have recording systems. All the charges stemming from the dog incident were eventually dismissed. Damron-Peltekian's conviction was vacated.

"It's because we were fighting back," she said. "Most people don't have the time and resources to fight back. But we're not the only ones who have been abused in his courtroom. ... I just didn't want this to happen to anyone else."

The conduct commission also reprimanded Stoney for another incident, saying he intentionally issued a $10,000 cash-only warrant against a woman for a minor traffic violation in 2009 because he believed she had mistreated his clerks. A clerk who issued the warrant called it "overkill" and believed Stoney wanted to "make a point," according to court documents.

Stoney said he most likely meant to issue a $100 warrant and made a mistake. He challenged the commission's reprimand before the Utah Supreme Court in June. The high court has not yet issued a ruling.

Damron-Peltekian said her family moved to Utah from Southern California to get away from crime and have a quiet life. What happened in Saratoga Springs left them disappointed in the city and its leadership. They have since relocated to Sandy.

"It changed the way I view the system," she said. "There is corruption. We thought we would go in there and tell the truth and everything would be fine and that's not what happened. But, on the other hand, justice did prevail when it went into higher courts."

The Peltekians' attorney, Jerry Salcido, said neither he nor his clients were party to the agreement and that it was not expected. Ryan Peltekian said he felt the agreement was the product of an unjust "back door meeting."

"I guess my thoughts on the whole matter is that the JCC is letting Stoney off the hook, basically," Ryan Peltekian said. "The JCC is not there to make sure judges retire, the JCC is there to look at complaints and make sure everything is kosher with the way judges are operating."

He, too, said he feels disillusioned by both the justice system and the Saratoga Springs government. And while he is glad Stoney will no longer be on the bench, he was unhappy with the way the complaints were resolved.

"I would have hoped to have seen my complaint investigated properly," he said. "Whatever was found would be heard by everybody, the truth would come out. They're covering up the truth. They're protecting their backsides and they're protecting Judge Stoney."

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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