Neil Wake

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Neil Wake
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Arizona
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #4
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   3/15/2004 - Present
Preceded by:   Paul Rosenblatt
Personal History
Born:   1948
Hometown:   Phoenix, AZ
Undergraduate:   Arizona State U., B.A., 1971
Law School:   Harvard Law School, J.D., 1974

Neil Vincent Wake is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. He joined the court in 2004 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.[1]

Early life and education

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Wake graduated from Arizona State University with his bachelor's degree in 1971 and later from Harvard Law School with his Juris Doctor, J.D. degree in 1974.[1]

Professional career

Wake was a private practice attorney in the State of Arizona from 1974 to 2004.[1]

Judicial career

District of Arizona

On the recommendation of Arizona U.S. Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, Wake was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by President George W. Bush on October 22, 2003 to a seat vacated by Paul Rosenblatt. Wake was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 12, 2004 and received commission on March 15, 2004.[2]

Notable cases

Petition deadline upheld (2014)

     United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Arizona Green Party, et al. v. Ken Bennett, No. CV-14-00375-PHX-NVW)

On May 16, 2014, Wake upheld the state's petition deadline for newly-qualifying political parties. In his opinion in Arizona Green Party v. Bennett, Wake held that the deadline as established is necessary in order to allow the state sufficient time to prepare for the qualifying party's primary election (which occurs six months after the petition filing deadline).[3] Some opponents of the deadline point to the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Anderson v. Celebrezze, which held that Ohio's early filing deadline for independent presidential candidates violated the voting and associational rights of the candidates' supporters. The Green Party has filed a notice of appeal.[3]

Lethal injection delay case (2012)

     United States District Court for the District of Arizona (Robert Towery, et al v. Janice Brewer, et al, No. CV-12-245-PHX-ROS)

District of Arizona Judge Neil Wake denied a preliminary injunction that would have ceased, or at least delayed two executions due to changes for the lethal injection protocol by the Arizona Department of Corrections.[4]

Judge Wake has regularly ruled in favor of the Arizona Department of Corrections against the allegations put forth by the Federal Public Defender's Office, which asked for the delay in the executions of two men, Robert Moormann and Robert Towery. Moormann, 63, was executed on February 29, 2012, whereas Towery, 46, was executed on March 8, 2012.[4]

The new protocol, argued the federal defender, gave too much power to the Corrections Director Charles Ryan, as well as lessened the required qualifications of executioners, and eliminated the chance of a condemned prisoner to meet with his or her attorneys in person on the day they are scheduled to be executed.[4]

This request was denied by Judge Wake, who also ruled in December of 2011 that the Corrections Department never violated a prisoner's right in following their own department protocol.

Moorman has been on the death row for 27 years for brutally killing and dismembering his adoptive mother Roberta when she was 74 years old, in addition to serving a life sentence for the kidnapping of an eight-year old girl in 1972. Towery is being executed for killing a man while he robbed his home in 1991.[4]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Paul Rosenblatt
District of Arizona
Seat #4
Succeeded by:

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