BRIGHAM CITY — A former clerk in Ogden's 2nd District Court is facing a forgery charge, accused of putting a judge's signature on a document in a civil lawsuit she was involved in.

Maria Gomez, 38, appeared here in 1st District Court where the case has been transferred to avoid any conflicts of interest or appearance of impropriety. She is charged with a single count of forgery, a third-degree felony.

Gomez said nothing during her brief appearance before Judge Ben Hadfield on Monday.

"Technically, I should go to Weber County to hold a hearing, but that's a long way out," the judge told the attorneys in the case. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to come here for Gomez's preliminary hearing on April 15.

According to Weber County prosecutors, Gomez used Judge Parley S. Baldwin's signature in an eviction lawsuit she was involved in that was filed in 1st District Court.

"The allegation is she generated an order and put the judge's signature on it," said deputy county attorney Gary Heward.

Defense attorney Matthew Nebeker did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the case.

The Utah State Office of the Courts declined to comment on the matter because it is a pending case.

"The court is aware of the situation," said state courts spokeswoman Nancy Volmer. "The employee no longer works for the court."

She said the 2nd District Court has since implemented additional oversight and tighter scrutiny over the use of judges' signature stamps.

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