The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County accepts applications for appointment as a Commissioner approximately one time per year and only during specifically advertised periods.

Commissioners may function as a Plea Officer, or be assigned to the Early Disposition Court, Initial Appearance Court, or Juvenile Advisory Hearings.

The selected Commissioners may also be assigned and/or assist with work or hear matters in other Court departments, including Civil, Family, Juvenile, Criminal, Probate, Mental Health, Tax, or Justice Courts. As Judicial employees of the Court, Commissioners are not permitted to practice law.

What You Need to Know

The online application is only available on our website during our open recruitment period. We typically have one posting per calendar year. The last application period was Monday, April 3rd, 2023 to Wednesday, April 26th, 2023. Our next projected recruitment period is expected to be January 2025.

Starting in 2022 all submissions will be electronic. We will not be utilizing or accepting any of our previous Word document forms.

  • The link to apply will only be available during the open recruitment period.
  • We have a Commissioner Applicant Mentor Program for applicants! Please see below for more information.
  • Completed applications and completed personal history statements must be received by the deadline.
  • You will need to submit a lengthy online personal history statement. The information you can expect to be collected can be found in this document.
  • You are welcome to submit up to 6 letters of reference with your personal history statement, but we will provide you with information on how to solicit feedback from your supporters through our electronic feedback system which is our preferred way to receive feedback.
  • The initial review of candidate submissions is done by the Commissioner Nominating Committee and referred to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.
  • A list of qualified applicants from which future vacancies may be filled will be created.
  • The Presiding Judge will make the final appointments.
  • Applicants not selected by the time a new recruitment is announced will need to re-apply for each recruitment in order to receive consideration.

Commissioner Applicant Mentor Program

Looking for insights into the role of a court commissioner, details on the application process, or practice with mock interviews for the commissioner recruitment? The Maricopa County Superior Court has a new resource available to assist prospective commissioners.

Supported by volunteers who are current judicial officers, the applicant mentorship program is designed to bolster an applicant’s readiness for the commissioner hiring process. Mentors may meet with applicants and answer questions about the process. While the mentor will not serve as an advocate in the formal hiring process before the committee, the mentor will provide feedback to the committee and will be available to guide prospective commissioners through the recruitment steps.

The role of the court commissioners is critical to the Maricopa County Superior Court. With more than 60 commissioners serving the Bench, the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County seeks experienced and motivated applicants to fill these important roles in helping to uphold the principles inherent to the rule of law for every person, every day, every time.

To obtain a mentor, please click here to send an email request.

What is it like to be a Commissioner?


Candidates for this position must be:

  • A United States Citizen
  • A duly licensed member of the State Bar of Arizona, for a period of not less than five years preceding appointment
  • A resident of the State of Arizona, for a period of not less than five years immediately preceding appointment
  • Applicants need not be a resident at the time of their application, however, under A.R.S. 12-211 (B) must be a resident of Maricopa County when appointed

Achievement or distinction in various areas of the law and litigation consistent with the duties of this Commissioner position is desirable.

Commissioners serve from time to time as judges pro tempore in the course of their regular duties. The Arizona Constitution, Article VI, §22 requires that judicial nominees must be at least 30 years of age, of good moral character, and admitted to the practice of law in and a resident of the State for five years immediately preceding appointment.

The Superior Court operates from a number of locations throughout Maricopa County. Commissioners are subject to assignments in various departments and for various periods of time to one or more locations of the Court. Commissioners share supervision of their Judicial Assistants with Court Administration.

Note: Commissioners are required to file an annual financial disclosure statement.

Pay and Benefits

The salary for the position will be established by the Presiding Judge. It is currently set at ninety percent of the annual Superior Court Judge salary of $180,000.00 annually. Additional benefits include medical and dental insurance, life insurance, paid sick and vacation time, ten paid holidays, and participation in a state-sponsored retirement program.

Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Presiding Judge and are subject to periodic assessment through a judicial performance review program administered by the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County.

The Commissioner Nomination Committee Process

  1. Application Deadline: All applications are due as stated in the announcement and on the application form.
  2. Screening Meeting: At the screening meeting the Committee reviews all applications received and the results of any investigation conducted by Committee members. The Committee then decides which of the applicants will be selected for interviews.
  3. Notification to Applicants: Applicants selected for interviews are notified by phone and email letter of the date, time, and location of the interviews. Applicants not selected for an interview are notified by email letter.
  4. Investigation: Further investigation of the applicants to be interviewed is conducted. The applicants' credit, criminal, and professional discipline histories are requested, and the results are given to the Committee. The Committee seeks comments from judges, attorneys, and the community.
  5. Interviews: Interview times will be available for all Candidates selected to move to this round. After all the interviews are completed the Committee discusses the relative qualifications of all applicants. A list of the questions used in the 2022 cycle can be found here.
  6. Nominations: The names of the final selected interviewees are submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.

Feedback on Candidates

When the feedback period is open, the list of candidates and the link to provide feedback will appear here.

The Commissioner Nomination Committee - 2024

Committee Member Seat
Judge Pam Gates Associate Presiding Judge, Chair
Judge Danielle Viola Civil
Judge Jennifer Green Criminal
Judge Ronda Fisk Family
Judge Lisa VandenBerg Probate/Mental Health
Judge Lori Bustamante Juvenile
Judge Joseph Kreamer Tax
Commissioner Barbara Spencer Presiding Commissioner
Commissioner Phemonia Miller Commissioner - at Large
Commissioner Janette Corral Commissioner - at Large
Ray Billotte Superior Court Administrator
Dwayne Burns Maricopa County Bar Association Representative
Barbara Pashkowski Maricopa County Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Representative
Adriana Genco Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association Representative
Shar Bahmani AZ Collaborative Bar/Iranian American Bar Association Representative

Sheila Jewell

Commissioner Recruitment Coordinator



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