After needlessly expanding the Arizona Supreme Court and putting two close friends in black robes, Gov. Doug Ducey, on his way out of his ninth-floor office door, has expanded both divisions of the Arizona Court of Appeals. He appointed Michael Catlett, Anni Foster, and Daniel Kiley to Division I. Ducey also appointed Lacey Stover Gard, Michael Kelly, and Christopher O’Neil to Division II. These vacancies were newly and superfluously created by the addition of three at-large appellate seats on each division of the Arizona Courts of Appeals. The Arizona Judicial branch describes the court duties.
Read Ducey’s December 29, 2022 news release announcing his appointments, along with the new judge’s bios, before it disappears. He will be replaced by incoming democrat Katie Hobbs, who will be inaugurated along with other state officials Jan. 5, 2023.
In his statement, Ducey inanely states, “These new judges will provide the much needed resources for the Court of Appeals to handle its growing caseload as more and more people choose Arizona as a place to live, work, and start a business…” The fact is, Court of Appeals judges working in three-judge panels, without juries, are not corporate lawyers. They deal with both civil and criminal Superior Court cases that are appealed to a higher court for additional review. What Ducey more appropriately should have added is that the state’s open border is a gateway for criminals illegally invading our state, who commit additional crimes once here and are clogging our legal system.
Anni Foster, appointed to Division I, previously dropped out of the race for Maricopa County Attorney after Rachel Mitchell, a former County Attorney’s Office Division Chief was initially appointed and was then elected, to fill the seat vacated by problem plagued Allister Adel, 45, heralded as the first female county attorney. Adel died unexpectedly. Ducey’s general counsel, Foster was fortunate when Ducey ensured her future employment appointing her to the Court of Appeals. She won’t have to campaign since judges are on a retention ballot.