U.S. District Judge Dee Benson dies at 72

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson. Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia/Dee Benson

SANDY, Utah, Nov. 30, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — U.S. District Judge Dee Benson has died at age 72.

According to an article in the Deseret News, Benson passed at his home in Sandy Monday.

The well-known Utah jurist was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer in April.

Current U.S. Attorney for Utah John W. Huber released the following statement on Benson’s passing: “It is difficult to imagine Utah’s federal bench and bar without Judge Dee Benson’s presence and positive influence. Judge Benson served as United States Attorney before his appointment as federal district judge. His portrait hangs outside my office.

“Many attorneys and support professionals in our office have personal connections with him. As a judge, practitioners knew they would get a fair shake and thoughtful consideration from Judge Benson. In an age of growing incivility, Judge Benson served as a shining example of professionalism, kindness and courtesy. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Judge Benson’s family at this time.”

Retired Sen. Orrin Hatch also released a statement: “Judge Dee Benson was an exemplary jurist, a sharp legal mind, and above all, a cherished friend. As a counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he brought invaluable insight to the issues of the day, so much so that I asked him to serve as my chief of staff.

“Later, as a United States District Court Judge, he brought experience, wit and wisdom to the federal bench — and a smile to everyone he knew. Dee’s heart was as big as his intellect, and it’s for his trademark kindness and humility that I will remember him most. He had a tremendous legal career, but most importantly, he had a rich and meaningful family life and was always there for his loved ones. My prayers are with the Benson family at this difficult time.”

Benson was a former Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Utah, according to his Wikipedia page. He was nominated as judge by President George H. W. Bush in May 1991, and confirmed by the United States Senate in September 1991. Benson served as chief judge of the district from 1999 until 2006. He took senior status in January 2014.

In May 2004, Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed Benson to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a seven-year term.

Benson was born in Sandy, and graduated from Jordan High School. In 1973, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University, and a Juris Doctor as a member of the charter class of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in 1976. That year he also played professional soccer with the Utah Golden Spikers of the American Soccer League, according to Wikipedia.

From 1976 to 1984, Benson practiced law in private practice. He was a counsel, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution from 1984 to 1986. He was a chief of staff for Hatch from 1986 to 1988. He was a counsel, Iran-Contra Congressional Investigating Committee in 1987. He was an associate deputy U.S. attorney general from 1988 to 1989. He was a U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah from 1989 to 1991.


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