Mother of five Leonore Driggs on the fast track to the judge's bench

Posted at 8:58 PM, Sep 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-23 23:58:37-04

From running a household to soon running a courtroom, Leonore Driggs said she got the idea to campaign for justice of the peace when she saw it on the ballot several years ago.  

A justice of the peace is a judicial officer that decides cases on speeding tickets, evictions, small claims and bad checks among other non-violent crimes. Driggs, who is the wife of state Senator Adam Driggs, decided to give it try.

"That's my personality. (I thought) 'Hey I could do that,'" Driggs said. "I had to collect 446 signatures."

She turned in her signatures, and wound up being the only candidate with enough that were valid that she is running unopposed for the Arcadia Biltmore district in November.

Presiding Maricopa County Justice of the Peace C. Steven McMurry says the job is designed for people like Driggs: citizens who want to serve.

"You don't need to go to law school to do the job effectively," he said. 

According to McMurry, Driggs will go through at least three months of training and mentorship before she hears cases alone.

She said what makes her most proud is the example she is setting for her own daughters and for other women.

"Three out of the 26 in Maricopa County are women and I feel like that's a huge underrepresentation of women," she said. "The example that I'm setting for my daughters is you can run for something and set your sights on it."

The salary for a Maricopa County justice of the peace is slightly more than $100,000 per year.