Voting on Judges on Election Day: Nov. 4, 2014

There are two schools of thought.  Gila Watch recommends Thought #1.   Some people, however, have spent time and effort evaluating judges, and their Evaluation is found in Thought #2.  If in doubt, vote No. 

Thought #1  

Vote NO to all judges and send a message that We the People do NOT support the process of Governor-appointed judges.  It is a political process that removes the people from the decision.  Over the years, many judges have made political rulings to further a political agenda. They are aware that, once appointed, there is not much hope for them to be taken off the bench. The process of the recommendations to the Governor is a “good old boy” system.  Judges, attorneys, and a few laymen review the names and send them to the governor. WE THE PEOPLE need to be making the choices. That would be by election not appointment. If we choose poorly, then we get what we deserve. By voting NO, we are sending a message that the system needs a major overhaul. 

Thought #2

This following information on voting for judges was prepared by Karen Thomas – LD22 Committeeman, based on recommendations made by Clear the Bench-AZ, Linda Bentley (reporter for Sonoran News), and others who have been evaluating the performance of judges. 

Here is a recent article regarding the mission of Clear the Bench-AZ, titled “Arizona:  Clear the Bench Going After Corruption in the Legal System Full Blast.”:  (Note:  Clear the Bench’s website is currently down.  For future reference, here is the link:  www.ClearTheBench-az.com.)

According to Karen Thomas, Clear the Bench has been a most helpful source and is well aware of the corruption in our judicial system. Its members work closely with lawyers and private citizens and follow up on any accusations or problems as they relate to the individual judge.

Clear the Bench bases their ratings on the judge’s abuse of power, disregard for law and facts, bias and/or due process violations.  Input is from lawyers and citizens alike. 

Overview of the recommendations

(Following the overview below are detailed notes on individual judges.)

Vote YES

Bailey, Cynthia J.  
Blomo, James T. 
Brodman, Roger R.  
Crawford, Janice K. 
Dunn, Boyd W.
Herrod, Michael J.
Hyatt, Carey S.
Ishikawa, Brian K.
Sinclair, Joan M.
Svoboda, Pamela Hearn
Viola, Danielle J.

Vote NO

Aceto, Mark F.
Anderson, Aimee L.
Anderson, Arthur T

Astrowsky, Bradley
Bales, Scott
Barton, Janet R.
Bassett, Edward
Bergin, Dawn M.
Brain, Mark H. 
Brotherton, William L.  
Brutinel, Robert
Cooper, Katherine M 
Cunanan, David O. 
Davis, Norman J.
Duncan, Sally S.
Fenzel, Alfred M.
Fink, Dean M.
Foster, Jr., George H.
Gama, J. Richard
Granville, Warren
Hegyl, Hugh E.
Hicks, Bethany G.
Howe, Randall M.
Johnsen, Diane M.
Kreamer, Joseph C.
Martin, David G.
Mroz, Rosa, P.
Myers, Samuel J. 
Norris, Benjamin R.
O’Connor, Karen L.
Pineda, Suzanna C.
Polk, Jay
Porter, Gerald J.
Rea, John C.
Reinstein, Peter C.
Ronan, Emmet J.
Talamante, David M.
Thumma, Samuel A. 
Warner, Randall H.
Welty, Joseph C.
Willet, Eileen S.

Detailed Notes 

Arizona Supreme Court

Bales, Scott – Napolitano 2005 Appointee

Brutinel, Robert – Brewer 2010 Appointee - Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Maricopa County Court of Appeals Division 1

Howe, Randall M. – Brewer 2012 Appointee - Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Johnsen, Diane M. – Napolitano 2006 Appointee 

Thumma, Samuel A. – Brewer 2012 Appointee - Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Maricopa County Superior Court 

Aceto, Mark F. – Symington 1995 Appointee - Conservatives have a very favorable opinion about this judge.  Received favorable reviews.  Serves in Juvenile Court.  However, Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Anderson, Aimee L. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Serves in Juvenile Court

Anderson, Arthur T. – Hull 1999 Appointee -  Considered soft on crime.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Astrowsky, Bradley – Brewer 2012 Appointee – Serves in Juvenile Court - Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Baily, Cynthia J. – Brewer 2011 Appointee 

Barton, Janet R. – Hull 2000 Appointee – 2010 Election Results .  She received 56.68% of the vote for retention.  Special assignment Criminal court.

Bassett, Edward W. – Napolitano 2008 Appointee – Democrat – Received negative reviews.  Serves in Family Court.

Bergin, Dawn M. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Former attorney for Napolitano’s old law firm.  Received negative reviews.  Serves in Juvenile Court

Blomo, James T. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Civil Court.

Brain, Mark H. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Criminal Court - Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Brodman, Roger R. – Symington 2002 Appointee – Moderate Republican.  Serves in Juvenile Court

Brotherton, William L. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Democrat – Formerly a far-left legislator – Inductee into the Sierra Club Hall of Fame – Has received negative reviews.  2010 Election Results he received 56.87% of the vote for retention.  Serves in Family Court.

Cooper, Katherine M. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Civil Court.  Does whatever she wants and ignores the law. She is frequently overturned on appeal because of very questionable rulings. It is reported that she wastes taxpayer money by letting cases go to trial that are obviously frivolous and should be dismissed.   For her ruling on the $317 million funding boost, click HERE.   VERY liberal.   Bad news.

Crawford, Janice K. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Family Court

Cunanan, David O. – Brewer 2012 Appointee – Serves in Criminal Court. – Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Davis, Norman J. – Symington 1995 Appointee – Republican – Presiding Judge in Family Court and Juvenile Court.  Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Duncan, Sally S. – Napolitano 2004 Appointee – Reputed to be a very lenient criminal judge except when it comes to domestic violence.  Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Dunn, Boyd W. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Civil Court.

Fenzel, Alfred M. – Hull 1999 Appointee – Republican – Reputable attorneys have a good opinion of him but say he’s a little soft on crime.

Fink, Dean M. – Napolitano 2006 Appointee – Democrat – Former attorney at Napolitano’s old law firm.  Has received negative reviews.

Foster, Jr., George H. – Hull or Napolitano 2003 Appointee – Democrat – somewhat liberal but considered one of the most pleasant judges.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Gama, J. Richard – Hull 2000 Appointee – Democrat but considered tough on crime. Somewhat liberal.  Has received negative reviews and his rating was recently lowered.  Presiding Judge in Civil Court. 

Granville, Warren J. – Hull 2000 Appointee – Republican but very liberal.  Has received negative reviews.  Criminal court, Capital case.  He gave a criminal only 1 year in jail and 4 years probation for breaking into a woman’s home and brutally beating her.  Fortunately, she had a gun and shot him.  

Hegyl, Hugh E. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Former assistant to a liberal Senator.  Active in the State Bar’s left wing’s Legal Services Committee.  Has received negative reviews.  2010 Election Results:  He received only 56.3% of the vote for retention.  Serves in Civil Court.

Herrod, Michael J. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Civil Court.

Hicks, Bethany G. – Hull 1999 Appointee – Considered soft on crime and invents laws.  Has received negative reviews.  2010 Election Results: She received only 53.48% of the vote for retention.  Serves in Civil Court.

Hyatt, Carey S. – Hull 2000 Appointee – Republican – Serves in Family Court

Ishikawa, Brian K. – Symington Appointee 1995 – Republican – Received high rating.  Serves in Juvenile Court

Kreamer, Joseph C. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Democrat – Board of Directors, left-wing AZ Foundation for Legal Services and Education.  Former Chair and active in State Bar’s left wing Legal Services.  Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court and Civil Court.

Martin, Daniel G. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Mroz, Rosa P. – Napolitano 2004 Appointee – Very Liberal – Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Myers, Samuel J. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Former legislative intern for Democrat Senator Dennis DeConcini,   Has received negative reviews.  Special Assignment, Civil Court.

Norris, Benjamin R. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Has received negative reviews.  2010 Election results:  He received only 55.48% of the vote for retention.  Serves in Family Court.  Is the only judge to not meet the standards from the Judicial Performance Review.

O’Connor, Karen L. – Hull 2000 Appointee – Considered fair.  High rating.  Presiding judge of the Phoenix Probate/Mental Health court. Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Pineda, Suzanna C. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Liberal Republican.  Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Polk, Jay – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Family Court.  Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.

Porter, Gerald J. – Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Family Court and Civil Court.  Did not do well on the Judicial Performance Review.

Rea, John C. – Napolitano 2004 Appointee – Democrat -  Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Civil Court.

Reinstein, Peter C. – Hull 1999 Appointee – High Rating – Serves in Family Court - over one third of the commission believes he doesn't meet judicial standards.

Ronan, Emmet J. – Hull 2000 Appointee – Defended some of the most heinous criminals in the state.  Received negative reviews.

Sinclair, Joan M. – Brewer 2012 Appointee – Serves in Juvenile Court

Svoboda, Pamela Hearn – Brewer 2012 Appointee – Serves in Juvenile Court

Talamante, David M. – Hull 1999 Appointee – Independent -  formerly worked for AG’s office and left wing community legal services.  Considered somewhat fair, middle of the road, not biased towards criminal defense but not considered a tough sentencer.  Presiding judge in Family Court.

Viola, Danielle J. -  Brewer 2011 Appointee – Serves in Family Court.

Warner, Randall H. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Democrat - former law clerk for liberal Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Ziaket.  State Bar of AZ, Editorial Committee, left wing Arizona Attorney Magazine, AZ Association of Defense Counsel.  Circulated anti-marriage petitions for Napolitano and was rewarded with a judgeship for it.  Has received negative reviews.  Serves in Family Court.

Welty, Joseph C. – Napolitano 2007 Appointee – Democrat - has received negative reviews.  Serves in Criminal Court.

Willett, Eileen S. – Hull 1999 Appointee – High rating.  Serves on Civil Court.  She seems a little on the lenient side when it comes to criminals and bond. Other than that, she seems intelligent and fair.  Clear the Bench does not recommend for one or more of their above reasons.