US: Criticised Anti-gay Utah Judge Retires


Judge Scott Johansen

A Utah judge has retired, following widespread criticism of how he handled a case involving lesbian foster parents and their 9 month old baby, according to Associated Press (AP).

Judge Scott Johansen, who was appointed to the bench in Price, 120 miles south of Salt Lake City, retired on January 1 of this year.  He had ordered that the baby girl should be taken away from April Hoagland and Beckie Pierce last November, and placed with a heterosexual couple, stating that she would be better off with straight parents. However, he subsequently recused himself and reversed the order.

Hoagland and Pierce had been married in 2014, and had been approved by Utah child services for fostering.  Plans to adopt had been agreed with the child’s biological mother, and the lesbian couple were looking forward to having a new member of the family, who would join their other two biological children.

Johansen, a juvenile court judge in Utah’s seventh district, has also been the subject of other complaints, and was reprimanded for slapping a 16 year old boy in his chambers in 1995.


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