The Utah Supreme Court has rejected embattled Daggett County Attorney Wayne Searle's petition to run for re-election as a write-in candidate.

In a unanimous opinion issued late Tuesday, Justice Michael Zimmerman wrote for the court that "under the plain language of the statute," Searle's name must appear on the ballot.According to that statute, "if there is only one candidate for county attorney in a county with three or fewer electors who are eligible to fill that office, the name of that one candidate must appear on the ballot with the `yes' or `no' question," the opinion states.

Searle's name is already on the ballot, and Daggett County voters will be asked to answer "yes" or "no" to the question of whether Searle should be retained as county attorney.

Nearly half of the county's estimated 400 voters have signed a recall petition, and if most voters decide they don't want to retain Searle, a new attorney can be hired.

If Searle had been able to appear as the only candidate on the ballot as a write-in candidate, he technically would have needed only one vote to stay in office.

Searle is scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 7, the day after the election, on misdemeanor charges of theft and improper display of a license plate.

A complaint filed by Searle against Daggett County Sheriff Gaylen Jarvie the day after Searle was arrested near Manila for alleged drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident was dismissed.