Bill proposes municipal judges face retention election

Chandler Municipal Court

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Saying magistrates can be squeezed politically, a House panel voted Wednesday to all but strip city councils of their ability to fire them.

The legislation would leave in place the practice of council members hiring people to preside over city courts. These courts normally handle minor criminal and traffic violations.

But it would prohibit removal “without cause.” Instead, these judges would have to stand for reelection every four years on a retain-or-reject system similar to what is used for the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and superior court judges in the largest counties.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said that is preferable to judges having to worry that they won’t get a new appointment if they tick off a majority of the city council.

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