Roger I. McDonough

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Roger I. McDonough
Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court
In office
Preceded by Martin M. Larson
Succeeded by Eugene C. Pratt
Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court
In office
Preceded by James H. Wolfe
Succeeded by J. Allen Crockett
Personal details
Born September 29, 1892
Park City, Utah
Died November 25, 1966
Spouse(s) Mildred Anne Devine

Roger I. McDonough (September 29, 1892 – November 25, 1966) was an American judge. He was judge of the Third Judicial District Court from 1928 to 1938, then served on the Utah Supreme Court from 1938 to 1966. It was the longest tenure of any judge in Utah's history at the time of his death.[1] He was the Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court from 1947 to 1948 and from 1954 to 1959,[2] and was called upon by President Harry S. Truman to serve on emergency fact-finding boards to help settle labor disputes in the steel and railroad industries.

Early life[edit]

Roger I. McDonough was born September 29, 1892, in Park City, Utah. He was the son of Irish immigrants Bartley and Minnie Power McDonough.[3] Upon graduation from Park City High School, he was hired to teach history and geography in the Park City Schools, and eventually was made principal of the Jefferson School.[4]

A veteran of World War I, McDonough joined the army October 3, 1917, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the field artillery in September 1918.[5]

He attended Notre Dame University and the University of Utah Law School. He was the state deputy for the Knights of Columbus from 1921-1922.[6] He served as Summit County Attorney prior to being elected Third District Court judge. He was married to Mildred Ann Devine by Catholic Archbishop John Joseph Mitty in San Francisco in May, 1932.[7]

On the bench[edit]

McDonough was a judge in the Third District Court from 1928 to 1938.[3] For six of those years, his fellow justices selected him to serve as presiding judge of the district court. One of the interesting cases before Judge McDonough's court was the 1935 conviction of Secretary of State Milton Welling on the charge of submitting a false salary request. Before sentencing, the Utah Supreme Court intervened; ultimately, Judge McDonough ordered a new trial, and the Secretary of State was acquitted.[8] In 1938, he called a grand jury to investigate vice protection payoffs in Salt Lake County.[3]

He was elected to the Utah Supreme Court in 1938.

Like previous justices of the Utah Supreme Court, McDonough was called upon to rule in polygamy prosecutions. In 1950, he was on a three-member panel that dismissed a polygamy prosecution on the grounds that the statute was too vague.[9]

On December 31, 1945, President Harry S. Truman appointed Judge McDonough, with University of Wisconsin Law Professor Nathan Feinsinger and Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice James Marsh Douglas, to a presidential fact-finding board, to investigate an ongoing labor dispute in the steel industry in which 700,000 steelworkers threatened to strike. The strike was not averted, but the board's report contributed to the eventual settlement.[10] [11][12]

In 1950, President Truman again appointed McDonough to an Emergency Board to help settle a labor dispute, this time between the railroads and their workers, to try to avoid a railroad strike.[13]

He died in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 25, 1966.


  1. ^ "Justice Roger I. McDonough," By F. Henri Henriod, Utah Law Review, Volune 1966, December, Number 3
  2. ^ Supreme Court Arency History, Utah Division of Archives and Records Service
  3. ^ a b c "Illustrious Park Native, Justice McDonough, Dies on Nov. 25," Park Record, December 1, 1966
  4. ^ Park Record, August 30, 1913
  5. ^ "Commissioned Second Lieutenant McDonough," Park Record, September 6, 1918
  6. ^ Utah Knights of Columbus, Utah Past State Deputies
  7. ^ "Utah Judge Weds on Coast" Salt Lake Telegram, May 14, 1932
  8. ^ Park Record, July 5, 1935
  9. ^ Kidnapped from That Land: The Government Raids on the Short Creek Polygamists, Martha Sonntag Bradley, University of Utah Press, 1993
  10. ^ Bernstein, "The Truman Administration and the Steel Strike of 1946," Journal of American History, March 1966; Whitney, "President Names Steel Fact Board, Asks Price Study," New York Times, January 1, 1946.
  11. ^ "National Affairs: Catalytic Agent," Time, Jan. 14, 1946
  12. ^ Harry S. Truman, Letter to the Chairman and Members of the President's Steel Fact-Finding Board, January 22, 1946
  13. ^ Guide to the United States Emergency Board No. 81 Transcripts and Exhibits, 1950