Group seeks removal of Utah judge in gay foster parent case

Foster parents April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce are photographed on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015 in Salt Lake City. A judge who ordered that a baby be taken away from April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, her lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple should follow the law and not inject his personal beliefs into the matter, Utah's Republican governor said Thursday, Nov. 12. Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP

SALT LAKE CITY — A watchdog group is calling for the impeachment of a Utah judge who had ordered a baby taken away from lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple.

The Alliance for a Better Utah called Monday for state lawmakers to begin removal proceedings against Judge Scott Johansen. The state’s legislative session begins Jan. 25.

Johansen reversed his Nov. 10 order after it was widely criticized, but he could still have the baby removed from the couple’s home at a Dec. 4 hearing.

Group founder Josh Kanter points to the judge’s previous controversial conduct, including a 1995 reprimand from the Utah Judicial Conduct Commission after he slapped a 16-year-old boy.

Johansen is barred from speaking about pending cases, and a call to his publicly listed phone number went unanswered Monday.

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