ST. GEORGE – An assistant U.S. attorney serving in St. George has been appointed to fill the a newly created position on the 5th District Court.
Gov. Gary Herbert announced Wednesday that he has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Bell to the position, stating in his news release:
Matthew’s extensive experience, impressive work ethic, respectful temperament and understanding toward all people will elevate the practice of law in southern Utah. I am proud to appoint Matthew Bell to the Fifth District Court.
Confirmation of the appointment will be handled by the Utah Senate.
Bell has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Utah since 2008 and has prosecuted a plethora of federal cases. Prior to this, he served as a trial attorney for the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division in Dallas and as a police officer for the St. George Police Department.
“I am honored by Gov. Herbert’s appointment and humbled by his confidence in me,” Bell said, according to Herbert’s news release. “If confirmed, I pledge to diligently perform my judicial duties with integrity, reason and civility.”
The new position with the 5th District Court, which covers Beaver, Iron and Washington counties, was created by legislation passed by the Utah Legislature earlier this year. The addition of a new judge was deemed necessary due to the high caseloads the existing judges were facing.
“We have really grown in our population but still have the same number of judges we had 10 years ago,” Rep. V. Lowry Snow, who sponsored the bill for a new judge, previously told St. George News.
Bell said he is honored and humbled by the governor’s confidence in him.
Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap has worked with Bell for many years on various cases that crossed over into the federal realm.
“I believe he will make a terrific judge,” Belnap said. “Matt is a hard worker and humble.”
Melodie Rydalch, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, said much the same of Bell.
“We are proud of the work Matt has done in our office,” Rydalch said. “He works hard and exercises wisdom in what he does. We are looking forward to his confirmation by the Senate.”
In addition to having served as an assistant U.S. attorney, Bell also serves as an instructor for the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Academy at Dixie State University where he teaches seminars on criminal law, criminal procedure, courtroom testimony and other topics required for the POST certification.
Bell holds a Juris Doctor from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.
St. George New reporter Tracie Sullivan contributed to this story.
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