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TURNING ON TEARS AND MAKING UP EXCUSES WON’T WORK WHEN YOU’RE STANDING IN FRONT OF JUAB COUNTY JUDGE

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When visiting the judge in Juab County, it would be best to answer, "Yes, ma'am."

The judge of the Nephi Precinct Court for Juab County is Judge Sharla Williams. She is one of a growing number of judges who are female."That tickles me," said Williams. "We women see things in a different light."

For example, she said, a woman offender tried turning on the tears when she met with the judge. "It didn't work with me," she said.

Williams, like most judges, has heard the excuses before.

"I hear some far-out stories. There is no way you could swallow some of the stories," she said. Nevertheless, Williams says she listens carefully.

"Sometimes they speak the truth."

Williams sees a variety of cases from speeding tickets to open container violations to drug charges. Others appear before her accused of catching too many fish - something the judge still scratches her head about.

"How do they catch all those fish, where do they find them?"

One of her favorite duties as judge is the marriages she performs.

"I performed the ceremony for my own son," Williams said. "Not many moms get to perform the ceremony for their children. I was afraid the tears would roll."

However, her nervousness over performing the marriage kept her dry-eyed.

"I have performed marriages at the Sand Dunes, in cafes, back yards, in canyons and in many other places," said Williams.

She recalled one bride who wore a long white dress for a ceremony in Salt Creek Canyon. The unusual wedding took place on a busy Labor Day weekend, with Sundowners traveling by on motorcycles on one side and Boy Scouts passing by on the other.

"I married one middle-age couple upstairs (in the court room) and saw them a few minutes later in the clerk's office downstairs seeking an annulment. I always wondered what happened on the stairs," she recalled.

Another equally odd marriage was one she performed on Christmas Eve a year ago. She performed the ceremony for a couple from Salt Lake City.

"They seemed thrilled. Christmas night I received a call wanting to know how the couple could get the marriage annulled." Still stranger, she said, two weeks later she received a card thanking her for performing the ceremony and telling her the couple was happy.

"I once got a speeding ticket on the way to perform a marriage ceremony in Delta," said Williams. "That was a hoot.

"I was really late for that wedding," she quipped.

But the judge's sense of humor sometimes gets her in trouble, she said.

"One well-groomed man came into my office and said, `Will you marry me?' `Not until you fall on your knees,' I said.

"He didn't even crack a smile."