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Dee Benson

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Dee Brown
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Utah
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #5
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   9/16/1991 - 1/1/2014
Chief:   1999 - 2006
Senior:   1/2/2014 - Present
Preceded by:   104 Stat. 5089
Personal History
Born:   1948
Hometown:   Sandy, UT
Undergraduate:   Brigham Young University, 1973
Law School:   Brigham Young University Law, 1976

Dee Vance Benson is an Article III federal judge on senior status for the United States District Court of Utah. He joined the court in 1991 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Prior to appointment, Benson was a US Attorney for the District of Utah. Benson assumed senior status on January 1, 2014.[1]

Early life and education

A native of Utah, Benson graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with both his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his J.D. degree in 1976.[1]

Professional career

  • 1989-1991: U.S. Attorney, District of Utah
  • 1988-1989: Associate Deputy Attorney General, United States Department of Justice
  • 1987: Counsel, Iran-Contra Congressional Investigating Committee
  • 1986-1988: Chief of staff, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah
  • 1984-1986: Counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution
  • 1976-1984: Private Practice, Salt Lake City, Utah[1]

Judicial career

District of Utah

On the recommendation of Senator Orrin Hatch, Benson was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on May 16, 1991 to a new seat judgeship created by 104 Stat. 5089. Benson was confirmed by the Senate on September 12, 1991, on a Senate vote and received commission on September 16, 1991. Benson served as the chief judge of the court from 1999 to 2006. On January 1, 2014, Benson assumed senior status after 22 years on the bench.[1]

Notable cases

FLDS property trust case (2011)

     United States District Court for the District of Utah
In 2005 the State of Utah took control of the FLDS Church’s United Effort Plan Trust because of allegations of mismanagement by sect leader Warren Jeffs. Last February, Judge Benson ruled that the State’s takeover was unconstitutional, and violated the group’s First Amendment rights to practice their religion. Benson’s decision April 8 gave back temporary control to the FLDS Church.[2]

His decision made it the first time since 2005 that the polygamous sect would control the $110 million trust that holds most of the land, homes, and businesses in Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah, as well as some Canadian properties.[2]

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg issued an order saying the state would maintain control over the trust, and ordered Bruce Wisan, the man overseeing the trust for the state to resist the federal order. Lindberg told the federal court that returning the control back to the church would “cause irreparable harm to those who, directly or indirectly, have relied on the decisions of the state court over the nearly six years that Judge Lindberg has overseen the trust at issue.”[2]

As a result, Judge Benson ordered Judge Lindberg to appear in his courtroom on April 15. He wanted an explanation of her decision admonishing the trust administrator of the FLDS to not comply with Benson's federal order giving the group temporary control of a property trust.[2]

Judge Lindberg refused, leading Judge Benson to threaten to use the U.S. Marshals to haul her into his courtroom.[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
NA-New Seat
District of Utah
Seat #5
Succeeded by: