The Senate confirmed Friday the appointments of Anne M. Stirba to the 3rd District Court bench and C. Grant Hurst to the Utah State Board of Education.

Stirba, 39, has been an assistant U.S. attorney for the district of Utah since May 1987. She directed the Financial Litigation Enforcement Unit and was responsible for collecting on judgments and defending the federal government on tort claims.She graduated from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and received her law degree from the University of Utah in 1978. She was the youngest attorney and first woman ever elected to the Utah State Bar Commission.

She replaces Judge Leonard Russon, who resigned to accept an appointment to the Utah Appellate Court.

Hurst, 50, was appointed to the state school board to replace Richard Maxfield, who resigned last month. Maxfield is now the liaison between the State Office of Education and five applied technology centers located throughout Utah.

Hurst will represent the Holladay-Cottonwood area of Salt Lake County on the nine-member board. He is senior vice president and director of corporate sales. He has served on the Sandy City Council and the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District.

He is chairman of the Sandy Arts Council, a member of the Utah Opera board, chairman of the Utah State Advisory Committee for Vocational Education, chairman of the Jordan School District Education Foundation and a member of the Salt Lake County Committee on Youth.

Both votes were unanimous.Panel shelves trials bill

The House Judiciary Committee shelved a bill Friday that would require juries to determine both law and fact in criminal trials.

After hearing nearly 1 1/2 hours of debate on the bill both Wednesday and Friday, the committee voted to refer HB171 to interim study.

Former Salt Lake County Attorney Ted Cannon testified on behalf of the bill Friday. He said he believes allowing juries to judge the merits of the law would not hurt the judicial process. "I see no harm in telling them so they could do their jobs better," Cannon said.

Although the bill, sponsored by J. Reese Hunter, R-Salt Lake, would express that juries could judge the merits of the law and merits of applying the law to a particular criminal case, Cannon said he believes jurors do that now.

"I bet you anything they won't go berserk with power of their innate responsibilities and the fact that they take their jobs very seriously," Cannon said.

The bill was backed by Fully Informed Jurors Act-Utah, an affiliate of the national grassroots jury-rights movement.

Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, said the bill would enable juries to "override the Legislature if they don't like the law."

"That would invite anarchy, in my opinion and invite juries to vote against the law," he said.