SALT LAKE CITY — Recently retired Utah Court of Appeals Judge James Z. Davis died Saturday evening, it was announced Monday.

Davis was hailed as a "longtime leader of Utah's judicial system" in a prepared statement from Geoffrey Fatah, Utah State Courts spokesman.

Davis was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals by Gov. Mike Leavitt in 1993 and twice served as presiding judge of that court. He retired in November 2015.

"(Davis) was a towering presence with a personality to match,” Utah Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Fred Voros said in a statement. “His legal learning, common sense and practical wisdom allowed him to cut right to the heart of even a complex case."

Davis earned his law degree from the University of Utah in 1968. His career included time working as a Weber County prosecutor, several years in private practice and a stint with the U.S. Army. He was president of the Utah State Bar in 1991-92 and received a Lifetime Service Award from the Bar in 2014.

— Ben Lockhart