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John Roll

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John Roll
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Arizona
Title:   Former Federal Judge
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   11/25/1991 - 1/8/2011
Chief:   2006 - 2011
Preceded by:   Alfredo Marquez
Personal History
Born:   February 8, 1947
Hometown:   Pittsburgh, PA
Deceased:   January 8, 2011
Undergraduate:   U. of Arizona, B.A., 1969
Law School:   U. of Arizona College of Law, J.D., 1972; U. of Virginia School of Law, LL.M., 1990

John McCarthy Roll was a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. He joined the court in 1991 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Roll was shot and killed on January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona. [1]

Early life and education

A native Pennsylvanian, Roll graduated from the University of Arizona with his Bachelor's Degree in 1969 and his J.D. degree in 1972. Roll later graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law with his Masters of Laws Degree in 1990. [2]

Professional career

Roll began his career as a Bailiff in the Pima County Superior Court from 1972 to 1973. Roll also became an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Tucson in 1973. Later that year, Roll became the Deputy County Attorney for Pima County, prosecuting criminal cases until 1980. In 1980, Roll joined the US Attorney's Office as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona until 1987. While with the US Attorney's Office, Roll led the organized drug crimes task force, specializing in large drug cases, from 1982 to 1986. Roll was also the lead civil attorney for the Arizona US Attorney's Office from 1986 to 1987. Then from 1987 to 1991, Roll was appointed as a State Appeals Court Judge in the Division Two Arizona Court of Appeals. Roll was named the Presiding Judge for the Division Two Court of Appeals from 1988 to 1991 before becoming vice chief judge in 1991. Later in 1991, Roll was a Criminal Superior Court Judge in the Pima County before his nomination to the Federal Bench in 1991. Roll also served as a clinical instructor for the University of Arizona College of Law from 1978 to 1979. [2]

Judicial career

On the recommendation of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain, Roll was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on September 23, 1991 to a seat vacated by Alfredo Marquez. Roll was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 22, 1991 on unanimous consent of the Senate and received commission on November 25, 1991.[3] Roll served as the chief judge of the District of Arizona from 2006 to January 8, 2011. Judge Roll's judicial service terminated on January 8, 2011, due to death. [2]

Death threats

In 2009, Judge Roll faced death threats after presiding over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher. After Judge Roll ruled that the case would be certified, threats came from talk-radio shows which fueled controversy and spurred audiences into making threats against the judge.

After one radio talk show, Judge Roll's name logged more than 200 phone calls as some callers threatened the judge and his family. This resulted in the judge and his wife being placed under a full-time protective detail for one month. A US Attorney's investigation identified four men as the makers of the threats, but no charges were filed.

In a July 9, 2009 interview with the Arizona Republic, Judge Roll described the time under high security as "unnerving and invasive... By its nature it has to be," Roll said. Roll also said, "It (the security) was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service." [4]


On January 8, 2011, Judge Roll, age 63, was shot and killed along with several others at an event for constituents in Arizona in which he appeared with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. [5]

See also

External links


ArizonaArizona Supreme CourtArizona Court of AppealsArizona Superior CourtArizona Justice CourtsArizona Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of ArizonaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitArizona countiesArizona judicial newsArizona judicial electionsJudicial selection in ArizonaArizonaTemplatewithoutBankruptcy.jpg