Superior Court Judicial Officers Rotating to New Assignments

by Vincent Funari

PHOENIX (June 22, 2022) – Before attending court, please check to see if the judge assignment and courtroom have changed.

On June 27, Maricopa County Superior Court will conduct annual rotations. Presiding Judge Joseph Welty will rotate more than 25 judges and commissioners to new court assignments in the Criminal, Civil, Probate, Juvenile and Family Departments.

June is the customary time for rotations. But, depending on the needs of the Court, judicial officers may be reassigned to new calendars throughout the year. The Court must continually account for special circumstances like new judge appointments, retirements or an increase in case filings and new programs.

The 2022 annual rotations will reflect the retirements of Judges James Smith, Margaret Mahoney and David Cunanan and Commissioners Richard Nothwehr and Michael Barth. The moves will also include the appointments of a new judicial leadership team.

To view the updated judicial rotation charts, please visit:

Family Department Presiding Judge Bruce R. Cohen, who isn’t rotating in June, is no stranger to rotations. As a 17-year veteran on the Superior Court Bench, he has rotated five times, covering Family, Criminal, Juvenile and Civil Department assignments. On his fifth rotation, Judge Cohen was named Family Department Presiding Judge.

“When a judge moves from one judicial assignment to another, that judge brings to the next assignment a fresh perspective and expertise developed from prior judicial assignments in other departments,” Judge Cohen said. “This contributes significantly to the overall effectiveness of each department, where new approaches and best practices from other assignments can be shared and perhaps implemented on the new assignment.”

Judicial staff also feel the impact of rotations. In nearly 20 years of working for the courts, Mica Inman, judicial assistant to the Judge Dean Fink, has plenty of experience switching departmental calendars.

“Ever since I started working at the court, I have been interested in all aspects of the law. I have looked at rotations as an opportunity to learn something new. I have been assigned to five different case types and gone through three different rotations. I have enjoyed each one of them and the new opportunities to meet people in different departments,” Inman said. “I have learned that with each case type there is some overlap, and it has helped me tremendously to have that knowledge base. Sometimes, situations come up where I can put knowledge I gained from prior rotations to good use.”

Perhaps the busiest employees within the court system during rotations is the five-person crew from Judicial Branch Facilities who are responsible for moving and setting up office furniture and computer equipment and changing out directory signage throughout court facilities for 37 judicial chambers in the span of three days.

“Each member of the facilities team has been preparing behind the scenes for a smooth transition with the annual judicial officer rotation. We are committed to ensuring the continuity of court operations and our goal is the satisfaction of our customers,” Judicial Branch Facilities Administrator Art Fairbanks said.

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The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,000 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit

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