The Utah Senate has confirmed Cache County Attorney Lanny Gunnell as a 1st District judge.
Gunnell, 51, said that after serving as a prosecutor and 10 years before that as a defense attorney, he sees the new post as a "professional graduation."Gunnell's appointment to the bench by Gov. Norm Bangerter was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday.
Although he expects people to view him initially as a "law-enforcement type" because of his recent work as a prosecutor, Gunnell said, "I don't go onto the bench with a particular point of view or crusade."
But he believes his past experience will be beneficial.
"If you learn anything as a prosecutor, you learn not to be quite so naive," he said. "If I were to have a criticism of defense attorneys, it is that, in many cases, they are very naive. Now, maybe they are paid to be naive and it's in there best interest to be naive, so they can represent with full confidence the people that they are obligated to represent. But I hear the most absurd statements made by defense attorneys on behalf of clients."
Gunnell said he is in favor of the death penalty, "but it ought to be used very cautiously and with extreme sensitivity for protection because it is the only penalty without ultimate appeal."