Commission narrows field of Supreme Court applicants

AZ Mirror published a scathing letter from Mikel Steinfeld, president of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, saying Montgomery isn’t fit to be a Supreme Court justice./Gary Skidmore/Flickr

 

County Attorney Bill Montgomery among the list

By Dillon Rosenblatt | Arizona Capitol Times

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is one of 11 applicants for a spot on the Arizona Supreme Court who will move on to the interview process with the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments.

The 14-member commission met today to begin vetting the applicants vying for the seat held by Justice John Pelander, who will retire March 1.

Although no one who attended the public meeting spoke against any of the applicants, the AZ Mirror published a scathing letter from Mikel Steinfeld, president of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, saying Montgomery isn’t fit to be a Supreme Court justice.

“. . . Montgomery’s background shows that he lacks traits necessary to serve in this capacity: He can’t fairly consider misconduct allegations, is driven by ideology and lacks appellate experience crucial to the highest court in our state,” Steinfeld wrote.

Steinfeld said in his letter that it is the Supreme Court’s job to oversee attorney discipline and establish attorney rules of conduct, but Montgomery has turned a blind eye to misconduct of prosecutors in his office. Steinfeld said Montgomery’s record shows he tried to use his position to obstruct the Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved law, but the high court is supposed to uphold the law. And Steinfeld also criticized Montgomery for his lack of experience at the appellate court level compared to the “solid foundation of appellate experience” of the rest of the applicants.

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