Superior Court in Maricopa County Judge Recognized with National Award

by Timothy Tait

PHOENIX (November 9, 2023) -- The Hon. Pamela Gates, associate presiding judge of the Superior Court in Maricopa County, has been honored with a national award recognizing her efforts to improve the jury experience for citizens and reducing financial barriers to jury service. 


Judge Gates has been named the recipient of the 2023 G. Thomas Munsterman Award for Jury Innovation from the National Center for State Courts.  


Named for the founder and former director of National Center for State Courts Center for Jury Studies, G. Thomas Munsterman, the award recognizes states, local courts, organizations and individuals who have made significant improvements or innovations in jury procedures, operations and practices. 


According to the National Center for State Courts, Judge Gates was honored for her work on Arizona’s “Plan B” Workgroup, which provided guidance to the state’s trial courts for resuming jury trials during the pandemic, and for chairing Arizona’s Task Force on Jury Data Collection, Policies and Procedures. Her efforts with the task force included working with judges, lawyers, court staff and researchers to modify jury selection practices following the elimination of peremptory challenges in Arizona courts by the Arizona Supreme Court. 


“Judge Gates’ work reflects her deep commitment to fostering innovation, equity and excellence with the justice system and advancing equality through effective leadership and thoughtful, informed decision-making,” said Paula Hannaford-Agor, director of the Center for Jury Studies. 


Nominators recognized Judge Gates’ thoughtful leadership style, especially during contentious policy discussions while chairing workgroups, and her commitment to bringing together diverse viewpoints. 


“Although I am deeply honored by this award, the recognition is owed to the people who helped me find ways to improve jury service and to the individuals who implemented the changes,” Judge Gates said. “Jurors are the foundation of our American system of justice, and we hope that our innovative solutions will help citizens overcome common challenges to serving as jurors.” 


Judge Gates was appointed to the Superior Court of Maricopa County bench in 2009 and currently serves as the associate presiding judge. She previously served as the presiding judge in the civil department and the associate presiding criminal judge. Before becoming a judge, she was in private practice for 12 years. 

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