Arizona Court of Appeals

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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.

When litigants disagree with a decision of this court, they can file an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court.[1]


Arizona Court of Appeals
Court information
Judges:   22
Founded:   1965
Salary:   $150,000[2]
Judicial selection
Method:   Commission-selection, political appointment
Term:   6 years


JudgeTermAppointed byParty
Judge Patricia Norris2003-2018Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Donn Kessler2003-2018Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Joseph W. Howard1997-2012
Judge Philip Espinosa1992-2018
Judge Peter Eckerstrom1997-2018Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Lawrence Winthrop2002-2016
Judge Margaret Downie2008-2018Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Patricia Orozco2004-2021Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Garye Vasquez2005-2021Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Jon Thompson1997-2016Gov. Fife Symington
Judge Diane Johnsen2006-2021Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge John Gemmill2001-2016Gov. Jane Dee Hull
Judge Peter Swann2008-2018Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Maurice Portley2003-2018
Judge Virginia C. Kelly2009-2018Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Samuel A. Thumma2012-2021Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Michael O. Miller12/2012-2018Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Kenton Jones2013-2016Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Andrew W. Gould2011-2021Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Michael J. Brown2007-2016Gov. Janet Napolitano
Judge Randall M. Howe2012-2021Gov. Jan Brewer
Judge Kent Cattani2/8/2013-PresentGov. Jan Brewer

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.[3][4]

Seal of the Arizona Court of Appeals


The court has jurisdiction to consider appeals in civil cases from the Arizona Superior Court. The court also reviews juvenile and domestic relations matters from the superior court, workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits decisions, Arizona Tax Court decisions, and certain corporation commission decisions.

The court also has jurisdiction over appeals in criminal matters from superior court, except for cases in which a death sentence has been imposed. Death penalty cases go directly to the Arizona Supreme Court.

The court may also decide "petitions for special action," which is Arizona’s term for petitions for special writs, such as certiorari, mandamus and prohibition.

Deciding cases

The court decides cases in panels of three judges, called "departments". Each department chooses a presiding judge from among the three. Division One also has a chief judge and vice chief judge, elected by all judges in the division.

Notable cases

See also

External links



JudgeElection Vote
ThummaSamuel A. Thumma 68.1% ApprovedA
VasquezGarye Vasquez 70.4% ApprovedA
HoweRandall M. Howe 71.7% ApprovedA
OrozcoPatricia Orozco 75.1% ApprovedA
JohnsenDiane Johnsen 66.7% ApprovedA
GouldAndrew W. Gould 77.5% ApprovedA


JudgeIncumbencyRetention voteRetention Vote %
KesslerDonn Kessler   ApprovedAYes477,97466.68%ApprovedA
HowardJoseph W. Howard   ApprovedAYes121,06476.59%ApprovedA
DownieMargaret Downie   ApprovedAYes512,26070.06%ApprovedA
PortleyMaurice Portley   ApprovedAYes452,94363.13%ApprovedA
NorrisPatricia Norris   ApprovedAYes507,55769.63%ApprovedA
EckerstromPeter Eckerstrom   ApprovedAYes188,49572.78%ApprovedA
SwannPeter Swann   ApprovedAYes463,78764.67%ApprovedA
EspinosaPhilip Espinosa   ApprovedAYes194,65375.64%ApprovedA
KellyVirginia C. Kelly   ApprovedAYes199,86577.51%ApprovedA

Portions of this article have been taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Copyright Notice here.

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