United States District Court for the District of Arizona
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Locations
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The United States District Court for the District of Arizona is one of ninety-four United States district courts. Cases are heard in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma and Prescott. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in downtown San Francisco at the James R. Browning Federal Courthouse, but initial appeals are heard at the Richard Chambers Federal Courthouse in Pasadena, California.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
Article III judges
|Judge Susan Bolton||1951||Philadelphia, PA||Clinton||10/13/2000 - Present||Robert Broomfield||University of Iowa, B.A., 1973||University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1975|
|Judge David G. Campbell||1952||Salt Lake City, UT||W. Bush||7/15/2003 - Present||New Seat|116 Stat. 1758||University of Utah, B.S., 1976||University of Utah College of Law, J.D., 1979|
|Chief Judge Raner Collins||1952||Malvern, AR||Clinton||8/3/1998 - Present||9/3/2013 - Present||William Browning||Arkansas Polytechnic College, B.A., 1973||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1975|
|Judge Cindy Jorgenson||1953||Fort Ord, CA||W. Bush||3/6/2002 - Present||New Seat|113 Stat. 1501||University of Arizona, B.S., 1974||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1977|
|Judge Murray Snow||1959||Boulder City, NV||W. Bush||7/23/2008 - Present||Stephen McNamee||Brigham Young U., B.A., 1984||J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young U., J.D., 1987|
|Judge Neil Wake||1948||Phoenix, AZ||W. Bush||03/15/2004 - Present||Paul Rosenblatt||Arizona State U., 1971||Harvard Law School, 1974|
|Judge Douglas Rayes||1952||Phoenix, Arizona||Obama||5/15/2014-Present||Arizona State University, 1975||Arizona State University Law, 1979|
|Judge James A. Soto||Obama||5/15/2014-Present||David Bury||Arizona State U., B.S., 1971||Arizona State U. College of Law, J.D., 1975|
|Judge Jennifer Zipps||1964||Ashland, OH||Obama||10/5/2011 - Present||John Roll||University of Arizona, B.A., 1986||Georgetown U. Law Center, J.D., 1990|
|Judge Rosemary Marquez||1968||Los Angles, California||Obama||5/15/2014-Present||Frank Zapata||University of Arizona, B.A., 1990||University of Arizona Law, J.D., 1993|
|Judge Steven Logan||1965||Phoenix, Arizona||Obama||5/14/2014-Present||James Teilborg||University of Louisville, B.S., 1988||University of Oklahoma College of Law, J.D., 1992|
|Judge Diane Humetewa||1964||Tempe, Arizona||Obama||5/14/2014-Present||Mary Murguia||Arizona State U., B.A., 1987||Arizona State U. Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, J.D., 1993|
|Judge John Tuchi||1964||Phoenix, Arizona||Obama||5/14/2014-Present||Roslyn Silver||University of West Virginia, 1987||Arizona State U. School of Law, 1994|
|Senior Judge Earl Carroll||Carter||6/30/1980 - 10/10/1994||10/10/1994 - Present||University of Arizona, B.S., 1948||University of Arizona College of Law, LL.B., 1951|
|Senior Judge Stephen McNamee||H.W. Bush||6/4/1990 - 10/1/2007||1999 - 2006||10/1/2007 - Present||University of Cincinnati, B.A., 1964||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1969|
|Senior Judge Paul Rosenblatt||Reagan||6/11/1984 - 10/30/2003||10/30/2003 - Present||University of Arizona, A.B., 1958||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1963|
|Senior Judge Roger Strand||Reagan||7/22/1985 - 4/28/2000||4/28/2000 - Present||Hamilton College, B.A., 1955||Cornell Law School, LL.B., 1961|
|Senior Judge Frederick Martone||W. Bush||12/21/2001 - 1/30/2013||1/30/2013 - Present||College of the Holy Cross, B.S., 1965||University of Notre Dame, J.D., 1972|
|Senior Judge Roslyn Silver||Clinton||10/11/1994 - 9/3/2013||2011 - 2013||9/3/2013 - Present||University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A., 1968||Arizona State U. College of Law, J.D., 1971|
|Senior Judge James Teilborg||Clinton||10/13/2000-1/30/2013||1/30/2013-Present||University of Arizona College of Law, 1966|
|Senior Judge David Bury||W. Bush||3/19/2002-12/31/2012||12/31/2012-Present||Oklahoma State U., B.S., 1964||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1967|
|Senior Judge Frank Zapata||Clinton||8/1/1996-8/3/2010||8/3/2010-Present||University of Arizona, B.A., 1966||University of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1973|
|Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson||5/10/1990 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge David Duncan||6/14/2001 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Michelle Burns||2/23/2007 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Mark Aspey||3/18/2005 - Present|
|Magistrate judge John A. Buttrick||8/17/2012 - Present||University of Denver, 1973||Harvard Law School, 1976|
|Magistrate Judge Eileen Willett||2014-2022||University of Georgia, 1980||Rutgers School of Law, 1984|
|Magistrate Judge D. Thomas Ferraro||12/30/2008 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Marshall Rateau||7/11/2001-Present|
|Magistrate Judge Charles Pyle||6/28/2001 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Bernardo Velasco||9/29/2000 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge James F. Metcalf||11/21/2011 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Eric J. Markovich||2/10/2014-Present||Ohio U., B.S.C., 1989||Syracuse U. Law, J.D., 1992|
|Magistrate Judge Bruce G. Macdonald||5/7/2012-Present||University of Arizona, B.A., 1982||University of Arizona, J.D., 1985|
|Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman||5/7/2012-Present|
|Magistrate Judge Bridget S. Bade||6/18/2012-Present|
The District of Arizona has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time(Criminal)**:||Median time(Civil)**:||3 Year Civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September. **Time in months from filing to completion.|
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts. ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.
| • Death penalty case on First Amendment grounds leads to botched execution (2014)|
Judge(s):Neil Wake (Wood v. Ryan, CV 14-1447-PHX-NVW)
|Click for summary→|
|On July 11, 2014, Judge Neil Wake ruled that the execution of Arizona death row prisoner Joseph Wood would not violate the inmate’s First Amendment rights, regardless of the fact that the state refused to reveal detailed information about the drug protocol that would be used to bring about his death.
Wood died before any judge could intervene, and Justice Kennedy eventually denied the request. Arizona probed the circumstances behind Wood’s death.
| • "Sheriff Joe" case (2010-2012)|
Judge(s):Murray Snow (ORTEGA MELENDRES et al. v. Arpaio et al., No. CV-07-2513-PHX-GMS)
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Snow presided in a case on whether to impose sanctions on controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arapio and his department. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department was sued over its alleged widespread use of racial profiling against Hispanics.
On March 19, 2010, Judge Snow encouraged attorneys representing Maricopa County and affected immigrants who filed suit against the county to settle their case. This was after Judge Snow found grounds for federal sanctions against the Sheriff's Department for destroying records relating to immigration raids.The District of Arizona imposed a preliminary injunction against Sheriff Arpaio and his department, disallowing them from detaining individuals based on their suspicions of citizenship. This decision was reconsidered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court's ruling.
| • Lethal injection delay case (2012)|
Judge(s):Neil Wake (Robert Towery, et al v. Janice Brewer, et al, No. CV-12-245-PHX-ROS)
|Click for summary→|
|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.
Judge Wake ruled in favor of the Arizona Department of Corrections against 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 29th, 2012, whereas Towery, 46, was executed on March 8th, 2012.
The new protocol, argued the Federal Defender, gave too much power to 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 were scheduled to be executed.
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 was 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 was executed for killing a man while he robbed his home in 1991.
| • Medical marijuana (2012)|
Judge(s):Susan Bolton (State of Arizona v. U.S., 11-cv-1072)
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Bolton dismissed a lawsuit filed by Arizona on January 4, 2012, claiming a state law passed by voters in 2010 that legalized medical marijuana put state workers at risk for federal prosecution and imprisonment due to conflict with federal drug law. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who opposed the measure, sought to block the creation of marijuana dispensaries allowed by the law, claiming that state employees charged with regulating the dispensaries were at risk for federal prosecution. Bolton ruled that the state had not established a “genuine threat of imminent prosecution,” and dismissed the case. A spokesman for Governor Brewer's office expressed great disappointment over the ruling. Joe Yuhas, spokesman for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, said of the ruling, “We would hope that our state leaders will now recognize it is time to stop wasting taxpayer dollars in an effort to thwart the will of the voters and move ahead with full implementation of the initiative."|
| • Arizona abortion ban (2012)|
|Click for summary→|
|In July 2012, Judge Teilborg agreed with the State of Arizona's law restricting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He found it constitutional on the basis that women were still able to obtain an abortion, and because the state explained that the fetus could feel pain after that amount of time. Previously, Arizona banned abortions after viability, a difference of four weeks. Two groups announced their intention to appeal the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, stating that Judge Teilborg's ruling ignored constitutional precedent.|
| • Arizona immigration law/S.B. 1070 (2011)|
Judge(s):Susan Bolton (USA v. State of Arizona, No. CV 10-1413-PHX-SRB)
|Click for summary→|
|The United States Department of Justice took the state of Arizona to court in order to stop its bill on immigration from taking effect on July 29, 2010. In the ruling, Judge Susan Bolton upheld parts of the law, while striking down some of its more controversial aspects.
In summary, these are the parts of the law that were upheld:
Parts of the law that were blocked by the decision:
The State of Arizona appealed the ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit upheld Bolton's ruling on April 1, 2011.
On October 21, 2011, Judge Bolton dismissed a lawsuit filed by Governor Jan Brewer against the federal government. The lawsuit was filed as a counter-suit to the one filed by the Justice Department challenging Arizona's immigration law. In her suit, Gov. Brewer claimed that the federal government was not doing enough to protect the state from illegal immigration. Judge Bolton dismissed the suit saying that Gov. Brewer's charges were political questions, and not appropriate for a court to decide. In addition, Judge Bolton said that some of the state's claims must be thrown out because they were answered in a 1994 court case in Arizona and could not be litigated again.Judge Bolton wrote, "While Arizona may disagree with the established enforcement priorities, Arizona’s allegations do not give rise to a claim that the counter-defendants (the federal government) have abdicated their statutory responsibilities."
| • Petland puppy mill case (2010)|
Judge(s):David G. Campbell (Martinelli et al. v. PETLAND, INC. and Hunte Corporation, No. CV-09-529-PHX-DGC)
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Campbell dismissed a lawsuit against Hunte Corporation on February 3, 2010, after six pet owners alleged that Petland Stores that sold the puppies distributed by Hunte came from puppy mills. The judge dismissed the case after finding that the plaintiffs failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hunte engaged in illegal conduct. The case was part of a series of cases filed by the Humane Society of the United States.|
| • Alleged sham Green Party candidates (2010)|
Judge(s):David G. Campbell (Arizona Green Party et al. vs. Ken Bennett et al., 2:10-cv-01902-DGC)
|Click for summary→|
|In September 2010, the Green Party requested that the names of nine candidates not endorsed by the party be removed from the general election ballots in Arizona. The lawyer for the Green Party alleged that the candidates were recruited by Republicans to restrict the number of votes that could have potentially gone to Democrats. As evidence, he presented evidence that the public positions of the candidates were contrary to the policies supported by the party he represented. Judge Campbell ruled that removing the candidates from the ballot would not be fair to the candidates before a full hearing on the merits of the case occurred. This allowed counties in the state to begin printing its ballots as planned.|
| • Arizona campaign finance (2010)|
Judge(s):Roslyn Silver (McComish v. Brewer, No. CV-08-1550-PHX-ROS)
|Click for summary→|
|On January 20, 2010, Judge Silver ruled that portions of Arizona's matching campaign funds law was unconstitutional. The judge ruled that the law violated the First Amendment of the Constitution on the premise that it restricted campaigns from spending their own money.|
| • English in Arizona schools (2009)|
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Collins presided in a case involving the legality of the extent of how English was taught in Arizona public schools. On December 21, 2009, the judge rejected a claim from the Arizona Department of Public Instruction and the Arizona Legislature over English teaching methods in the Nogales Unified School District. Collins dismissed the claim, stating there was not enough to evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the school district's teaching methods violated federal standards.|
The District of Arizona was organized by Congress as one judicial district on June 20, 1910, with one authorized judgeship for the district. The district was then assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and became effective upon the admission of the State of Arizona on February 14, 1912. Over time, twelve permanent judicial posts were added, with the addition of one temporary post for a total of thirteen current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Alaska:
|June 20, 1910||36 Stat. 557||1|
|August 19, 1935||49 Stat. 659||2|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||3|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||4|
|June 2, 1970||84 Stat. 294||5|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||8|
|November 29, 1999||113 Stat. 1501||11|
|December 21, 2000||114 Stat. 2762||12|
|November 2, 2002||116 Stat. 1758||13|
Former chief judges
In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.
To learn more about the judges who have served on the court, see former federal judges, District of Arizona.
Five separate courthouses serve the District of Arizona.
- United States District Court for the District of Arizona Official Website
- United States Attorney for the District of Arizona Official Website
- Judges of the District of Arizona
- Opinions of the District of Arizona
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, "U.S. Attorneys Listing," accessed July 30, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, "Federal judge refuses to stay execution of Arizona death row inmate," July 11, 2014
- New York Times, "Court Delays Execution Over Secrecy With Drugs," July 20, 2014
- RT, "Supreme Court upholds Ariz. death row drug secrecy, clears inmate execution," July 23, 2014
- New York Times, "Arizona Takes Nearly 2 Hours to Execute Inmate," July 23, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, "Arizona to probe why killer took 2 hours to die after lethal injection," July 24, 2014
- Washington Post, "Judge mulls sanctions against Ariz. sheriff office," February 4, 2010
- Your West Valley, "Judge encourages settlement of sweeps case," March 21, 2010
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, "De Jesus Ortega Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al," September 25, 2012
- The Republic, "Federal judge declines delaying 2 Arizona executions," February 23, 2012
- Bloomberg Businessweek, "Arizona Medical-Marijuana Suit Dismissed by Federal Judge," January 5, 2012
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Judge says Arizona's abortion ban can take effect," July 30, 2012
- Fox News, "Arizona's Altered Immigration Law Takes Effect, State Heads Back to Court," July 29, 2010
- CNN, "Parts of controversial Arizona immigration law to take effect," July 29, 2010
- Los Angeles Times, "Federal appeals court upholds injunction blocking Arizona immigration law," April 11, 2011
- Associated Press "Judge dismisses Ariz. governor’s lawsuit against feds over border enforcement," October 21, 2011
- Joplin Globe, "Judge dismisses federal suit against Hunte Corp.," February 3, 2010
- East Valley Tribune, "Judge won't kick Green Party candidates off ballot," September 9, 2010
- The Republic, "Federal judge strikes down Ariz. matching funds," January 21, 2010
- Arizona Star Net, Judge rules Arizona teaching of English may be challenged," December 22, 2009
- Federal Judicial Center, "History of the District of Arizona," accessed July 30, 2014
- United States Courts, Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
Chief Judge: Raner Collins • Susan Bolton • David G. Campbell • Cindy Jorgenson • Murray Snow • Neil Wake • Douglas Rayes • James A. Soto • Jennifer Zipps • Rosemary Marquez • Steven Logan • Diane Humetewa • John Tuchi
|Magistrate judges||Lawrence Anderson • David Duncan • Michelle Burns • Mark Aspey • John A. Buttrick • Eileen Willett • D. Thomas Ferraro • Jacqueline Marshall Rateau • Charles Pyle • Bernardo Velasco • James F. Metcalf • Eric J. Markovich • Bruce G. Macdonald • Leslie A. Bowman • Bridget S. Bade •|
|Former Article III judges||
William Henry Sawtelle • Richard Elihu Sloan • Fred Clinton Jacobs • John Roll • Robert Broomfield • Mary Murguia • Albert Morris Sames • David Ling • Richard Bilby • William Browning • William Copple • Valdemar Cordova • Walter Craig • Arthur Davis • William Frey • Charles Muecke • Mary Richey • Howard Speakman • Charles Hardy • Alfredo Marquez • James A. Walsh •
|Former Chief judges|