Arizona Court of Appeals
The Arizona Court of Appeals was established in 1965 and is the intermediate appellate court for the state of Arizona. It is divided into two divisions, with a total of twenty-two judges on the court: sixteen in Division One, based in Phoenix, and six in Division Two, based in Tucson.
The court decides the cases that come before it in panels of three judges. These panels are called departments. Each of the three-judge departments has a presiding judge who is elected by the three judges of that department.
|Arizona Court of Appeals|
|Judge Patricia Norris||2003-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Donn Kessler||2003-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Joseph W. Howard||1997-2018||Gov. Fife Symington (R)|
|Judge Philip Espinosa||1992-2018||Gov. Fife Symington (R)|
|Chief judge Peter Eckerstrom||2003-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Lawrence Winthrop||2002-2016||Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R)|
|Judge Margaret Downie||2008-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Patricia Orozco||2004-2021||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Garye Vasquez||2005-2021||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Jon Thompson||1997-2016||Gov. Fife Symington (R)|
|Chief judge Diane Johnsen||2006-2021||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge John Gemmill||2001-2016||Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R)|
|Judge Peter Swann||2008-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Maurice Portley||2003-2018||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Virginia C. Kelly||2009-2018||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Judge Samuel A. Thumma||2012-2021||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Judge Michael O. Miller||2012-2018||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Judge Kenton Jones||2013-2016||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Judge Andrew W. Gould||2011-2021||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Vice chief judge Michael J. Brown||2007-2016||Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)|
|Judge Randall M. Howe||2012-2021||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
|Judge Kent Cattani||2/8/2013-2015||Gov. Jan Brewer (R)|
Selection of judges
Judges are selected by the commission/appointment method. The Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments interviews applicants and sends a list of nominees to the governor. The governor is required by law to appoint from this list based on merit, without regard to party affiliation. Judges are then retained for an initial period, after which they are subject to a retention election. If the judge wins the election, his/her term is six years.
The court hears appeals of civil and criminal cases from the Arizona Superior Courts, except for cases in which a death sentence has been imposed. Those go straight to the Arizona Supreme Court. The appellate court also reviews cases involving juveniles and domestic relations, workers' compensation and unemployment benefits, taxes and some corporation decisions. Finally, it may decide "petitions for special action," or petitions for special writs, such as certiorari, mandamus and prohibition.
The court decides cases in three-judge panels, which are referred to as "departments". The judges in each department elect one presiding judge for their department. In Division One, there is also a chief judge and vice chief judge.
| • Arizona Court of Appeals rules marijuana users able to get DUI even if not impaired||Click for summary→|
|The Arizona Court of Appeals' ruling on February 13, 2013, focused on two chemical compounds found in blood and urine of marijuana users. One compound impairs a driver's senses, while the second compound does not. The second compound, while not impairing the user, still stays in a person's system up to weeks after smoking and is detectable in a blood/urine test. The ruling by the court of appeals says that Arizona law applies to both chemical compounds and that as long as marijuana is detectable in a person's system he/she can be prosecuted for driving under the influence, even if the person is not actually impaired.
This decision overturned an earlier ruling that stated it didn't make sense to prosecute someone for being under the influence when there was no evidence of impairment.
| • Court orders sheriff to return confiscated marijuana||Click for summary→|
|Marijuana confiscated from a California woman was returned after the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed an earlier ruling by a superior court.
The marijuana was confiscated at a border checkpoint and the woman was cited for violating Arizona's drug laws. Those charges were dropped after she presented proof of her authorization, which allowed for the use and possession of medical marijuana in California and, according to Arizona’s 2010 voter-approved medical marijuana law, allowed for the possession of two and a half ounces as a visitor in Arizona. The Yuma County Superior Court then ordered the medical marijuana returned, but the sheriff argued that doing so would violate federal drug distribution laws.The case was decided in the Arizona Court of Appeals, where the court ordered the marijuana be returned because it should not have been confiscated in the first place. The court also stated that "the Sheriff is immune from prosecution under the federal law for acts taken in compliance with a court order."
- Azcourts.gov, "Court of Appeals," accessed July 7, 2014
- May vary for chief judge
- American Judicature Society, "Methods of Judicial Selection: Arizona," archived October 2, 2014
- American Judicature Society, "Judicial Nominating Commissions (Arizona)," archived January 13, 2014, 2014
- Arizona Secretary of State, "Court of Appeals," accessed February 12, 2015
- AZ Central.com, "Arizona court ruling upholds DUI test for marijuana," February 13, 2013
- The Daily Chronic, "Arizona Court Orders Sheriff to Return Medical Marijuana to California Woman," January 12, 2013
- The Republic, "Ariz. court orders county sheriff to return pot to California woman," January 10, 2013
|Randall M. Howe||71.7%|
|Andrew W. Gould||77.5%|
|Samuel A. Thumma||68.1%|
|Judge||Incumbency||Retention vote||Retention Vote %|
|Joseph W. Howard||Yes||121,064||76.59%|
|Virginia C. Kelly||Yes||199,865||77.51%|
Patricia Norris • Donn Kessler • Joseph W. Howard • Philip Espinosa • Peter Eckerstrom • Lawrence Winthrop • Margaret Downie • Patricia Orozco • Garye Vasquez • Jon Thompson • Diane Johnsen • John Gemmill • Peter Swann • Maurice Portley • Virginia C. Kelly • Samuel A. Thumma • Michael O. Miller • Kenton Jones • Andrew W. Gould • Michael J. Brown • Randall M. Howe • Kent Cattani •
|Former||Rebecca White Berch • Andrew Hurwitz • Michael D. Ryan (Arizona) • Ann Timmer • Patrick Irvine • Daniel Barker • John Pelander • Sheldon Weisberg • Philip Hall • John Roll • Thomas Kleinschmidt • William Brammer •|