What is a Presiding Judge? What Do They Do?

Jury nullification.

What is a Presiding Judge? What Do They Do?

Courthouses in Arizona have a variety of judges and similar staff to keep all court proceedings running smoothly. Each has their own obligations and responsibilities within the court.

At the top of the judicial list is the presiding judge. This judge is the senior active judge within a specific court or judicial district and their responsibilities are outlines in Rule 92 of Arizona’s Supplemental Court Rules.

Presiding judges have the following powers or duties:

  • Provide general administrative supervision of the court and its judges.
  • Make regular and special assignment of all judges.
  • Assign judges within the county to other counties.
  • Prescribe the powers and duties of the clerk of the court, in addition to the powers and duties prescribed by law and the Supreme Court.
  • With Supreme Court approval, appoint an associate presiding judge to serve as acting presiding judge when required due to absence or unavailability.
  • Determine the need and approval for the allocation of space and furnishings in the court.
  • Determine the need and approval for the allocation for the construction of new court buildings, courtrooms and related physical facilities.
  • Determine the need and approval for the allocation for the modification of existing court buildings, courtrooms and related physical facilities.
  • Identify and develop programs that provide alternative methods of resolution of civil disputes.
  • Promulgate such local rules as a majority of the judges of the county may approve establishing and governing such alternative dispute resolution programs.
  • In counties with more than one judge, the presiding judge may, upon the presiding judge’s motion or upon the motion of any party, assign a case permanently to one judge for all purposes.

While associate presiding judges may exercise most of these powers when required to serve as acting presiding judge, they may not appoint court commissioners or appoint judges permanently to special assignments.

The Arizona Judicial Branch provides a listing of all the current presiding judges for each county.


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