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Three judges won't return to the bench in Maricopa County after election results

Maricopa County judges not retained
Posted at 2:20 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 20:42:39-05

PHOENIX — For the first time in nearly a decade, voters did not retain three judges in Maricopa County in the 2022 midterm election.

The three judges voted off the bench are Judge Rusty Crandell, Judge Howard Sukenic, and Judge Stephen Hopkins.

Maricopa County court officials tell ABC15 that their term would end at 12:01 a.m. on January 2nd.

The three positions will be filled as appointments by the next governor, Katie Hobbs.

The cases of these judges will be assigned to other judicial officers to keep matters moving forward, according to a court official.

“From the court's perspective, these are processed like any retirement or resignation of a judge, and their staff members are reassigned internally,” said a spokesperson for the judicial branch of Arizona in Maricopa County.

Cathy Sigmon who started ‘Gavel Watch’ with the progressive-leaning Civic Engagement Beyond Voting posted voter guide information including information about judges and how they rule and act in the courtroom.

Arizona’s commission on Judicial Performance Review made up of board members sends surveys to jurors, attorneys, staff and others to rate the performance of judges and offer recommendations.

Judge Hopkins was the only judge reported that did not meet the standards according to the commission.

Judge Crandell was given low reviews by attorneys who surveyed him in nearly every category.

Judge Sukenic also received low ratings from attorneys for his temperament, while litigants said he lacked compassion.

The last time a judge lost a retention election was in 2014 in Maricopa County.