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SALT LAKE CITY - Governor Gary R. Herbert has selected Third District Court Judge Michele Christiansen to fill a vacant seat on the seven-member Utah Court of Appeals.

Former Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. appointed Judge Christiansen to the Third District Court, which serves Salt Lake, Summit and Tooele counties, in May 2007.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Christiansen served as General Counsel to the Office of the Governor, Executive Director of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah.

"Judge Christiansen has a breadth and depth of experience that will make her a valued member of the Court of Appeals," Governor Herbert said. "She has worked in private practice and the public sector, handling criminal and civil matters and interacting with all three branches of government."

Judge Christiansen has a juris doctorate from the University of Utah College of Law. She presently serves as a member of the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure and is a member of the State Advisory Board on Children's Justice. She is a former chair of the Utah Sexual Violence Council and co-chair of the Utah Methamphetamine Joint Task Force.

Judge Christiansen will fill the vacant seat created by the Jan. 1, 2010 retirement of Judge Russell Bench.

The Governor's appointment is subject to confirmation by the Utah State Senate.

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