Taylorsville Judge Michael Kwan Dies At Age 58

Jul 21, 2020, 5:41 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm
Judge Michael Kwan died at age 58. (Utah State Courts)...
Judge Michael Kwan died at age 58. (Utah State Courts)
(Utah State Courts)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Judge Michael W. Kwan, who started one of the first DUI/drug courts in the nation and was suspended without pay for six months after making critical comments about President Donald Trump, has died.

The 58-year-old judge died from natural causes with his family at his side early Tuesday morning, according to a news release from the city of Taylorsville.

“We will sincerely miss Judge Kwan and all that he brought to the court,” said Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson. “He was organized and technically savvy. He was good-humored and goodnatured. He cared profoundly about our community and strived to make it better. But most importantly, he prized justice. He was intensely focused on providing equal protection under the law for all who entered his courtroom. He was compassionate and often extended a second chance for many. Above all, his model was fairness and he eschewed bigotry and racism with every essence of his being.”

Officials said Kwan had served the Taylorsville Justice Court since 1998.

He started one of the first DUI/drug courts in the nation in 1998, according to a news release from the Utah Judicial Council. The program was honored in 2008 with the Governor’s Award for reducing drug and alcohol abuse-related crimes.

Officials also said his domestic violence program was awarded the Peace on Earth Award from the Salt Lake Area Domestic Violence Advisory Council in 2002.

Kwan served on the Board of Justice Court Justices, the Judicial Council and taught judicial education courses, officials said.

He received a law degree from Whittier College School of Law and was certified in Chinese law.

Kwan’s colleagues recalled him as a warm and caring friend.

“Judge Kwan was a beloved friend and mentor,” said Taylorsville City Attorney Tracy S. Cowdell. “The world feels a little more empty without him here. We have lost a fierce advocate who believed no one was lost and anyone could change. I will miss him dearly.”

“Judge Kwan was an honorable man with strong principles and ideas,” said public defender Doug Stowell. “He made every effort to practice his profession in a manner which recognized and respected the people whom he served. We are better for having him in our lives.”

Kwan and his family were long-time residents of Taylorsville and have been actively involved in the community on many levels.

Kwan promoted civic engagement within the Asian American community through his work with the OCA — Asian Pacific American Advocates, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

He was also the president of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association, which worked to earn their ancestors proper credit during the recent celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.

“Today, we have lost a pillar in our community,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Judge Michael Kwan was a champion for social justice and racial equity. Judge Kwan worked tirelessly to elevate the contributions of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. He mentored generations of young leaders who will continue his legacy for many decades to come. I offer my sincere condolences to his family.”

The Utah Supreme Court suspended Kwan last year after he criticized Trump in court and online.

In 2016 and early 2017, Kwan repeatedly posted comments and shared articles on Facebook and LinkedIn about Trump.

He served a six-month suspension without pay for violating the Utah Code of Judicial Conduct.

A substitute judge will fill in until a replacement for Kwan can be appointed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Americans are using their credit cards more often as the economy opens....
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.
1 day ago
Matt Rascon

Man chases teens after shots fired at Taylorsville High

As parents and neighbors reacted to gunshots heard from the Taylorsville parking lot, one man ran towards the school.
1 day ago
Follow @KSL_AlexCabrero...
Alex Cabrero

Tragedy to triumph: how a Utah family is honoring their son

The heartwarming way a Utah family is honoring the life of their son while helping others.
1 day ago
Mike Hayes says he noticed changes when he started intermittent fasting...
Ayanna Likens

The health benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular and health experts say there are some benefits to it.
1 day ago
Candice Madsen

GM for Tabernacle Choir Retires after 21 Years

“For 21 years I’ve been part of the magic and I still pinch myself,” Scott Barrick said.
1 day ago
Ladd Egan

‘Ball of fire’: Utah man severely burned during backyard accident with gasoline

A Utah man suffered severe burns to his hands and face while trying to start a fire in his backyard fire pit.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Taylorsville Judge Michael Kwan Dies At Age 58