June July 2016
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Utah Judge Who Sought to Take Foster Child From Lesbians Retires

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The judge in Utah who last fall ordered that a 9-month-old girl be removed from her lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple has laid down his gavel forever.

Court officials announced Monday that juvenile court Judge Scott Johansen retired New Year's Day, the Associated Press reports.

Johansen made headlines when he ordered the foster child removed from the home of April Hoagland and Beckie Pierce of Carbon County, Utah, last November. The judge said the baby would be better off with heterosexual parents.

Johansen reversed the ruling three days later and then recused himself from the case. The child remained with Hoagland and Pierce.

At least two petitions on Change.org urged his impeachment by the Utah legislature, and the Human Rights Campaign has filed a complaint with the state’s Judicial Conduct Commission seeking an investigation into his conduct. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert were also among those criticizing his attempt to remove the child from Hoagland and Peirce’s home.

Johansen did not immediately return a call from the AP seeking comment Monday.

He’s been on the bench in Price, about 120 miles south of Salt Lake City, since 1992, the wire service reports.

The judge was reprimanded by the Judicial Conduct Commission on other occasions for “demeaning the judicial office.” In 1995 he slapped a 16-year-old boy in his chambers; in a case in 2012 a woman complained that he told her to chop off her daughter's ponytail.

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