In Arizona, judges on the state level and in the two largest counties are not elected, but are appointed. However, every election they are up for retention and can be voted off the court. Judges are rated by those who use the court system, and those results are available for review by voters. In this election cycle, the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance has issued a rare non-retention for a judge in Pima County. Mike Hellon, chair of the commission, will discuss how you can find out information about judges on the ballot.
Proponents and opponents of Prop 115 debate the merits of this constitutional amendment that was referred to the ballot by the Arizona State Legislature. The measure would revise procedures for appointing judges and make various other changes to the judicial system.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld a lower court decision to block an Arizona law from taking effect that would have eliminated same sex health care benefits for domestic partners of state government employees. Dan Barr, the plaintiffsâ€™ attorney in the legal challenge to the law discusses the case.
In Arizona, judges on the state level and in our two most populous counties are not elected; they are chosen by a commission. Find out about the history and pros and cons of the system from Maricopa County Judicial Nominating Commissioner Doug Cole and attorney Len Munsil.
Voting on the retention of judges can be a confusing decision. Roberta Voss, chair of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance, explains how judges are rated and where you can get this information.
Related Web site: http://www.azjudges.info
We discuss HCR 2063, a bill that would require elections for Superior Court judges in Arizona counties, including Maricopa and Pima. The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, will discuss the issue with House Minority Leader Rep. Phil Lopes of Tucson.
Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor recently gave her state of the judiciary speech to the Arizona legislature. The Chief Justice will talk about issues regarding the judiciary, including attempts to get rid of the merit selection system for judges. She will also talk about a program the courts have to help people meet their mortgage payments.
Current law states that people convicted for the first or second time for drug possession or use get probation rather than jail or prison time. Prop 301 would amend current law so that a person who is convicted for the first or second time of personal possession or use of meth can be sentenced to a term in jail or prison. The change in the law would allow judges to use a jail term as a condition of probation to force meth users to comply with court mandated drug rehab.
Judges at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on both sides of the case regarding Arizona English language learner’s requirement to pass the AIMS test. In April, appellate judges agreed to continue to block enforcement of a trial judge’s order that the state cannot deny diplomas to students classified as English language learners just because they failed to pass the standardized test. Reporter Howard Fischer joins us from San Francisco with an update.
HORIZON explores judicial merit selection. Maricopa County is one of two counties in Arizona that appoints judges based on merit. With a fast growing state, can merit selection improve the judicial system? Michael Grant interviews local leaders on both sides of the issue.