Gurtler seeks Division 1 judgeship

A Bullhead City lawyer who has served as a judge pro tem for 7 1/2 years in Mohave County Superior Court plans to run for the open Division 1 judgeship.

Chuck Gurtler Jr.

said his background as lawyer during the past 15 years and part-time role as a judge in the juvenile division "will be the perfect mix for the kind of cases that the judge will handle in Bullhead City."

Gurtler filed notice of forming a campaign committee Friday at the county Elections Department so that he can seek the Division 1 judgeship vacated with the retirement Thursday of Presiding Judge Gary Pope.

Gurtler ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary four years ago against Lake Havasu City resident Randy Bartlett, who was elected to the Division 2 judgeship.

"I was very pleased with the turnout that I had from Kingman" in 1998, Gurtler said.

"During that time frame I gained a tremendous amount of support."

Gurtler joins a field that includes Kingman City Attorney Charlotte Wells, who formed a campaign committee in October.

Gurtler, Wells, and judges pro tem Julie Roth and Jonny (cq) Sutton already had applied to Gov.

Jan Hull to be appointed to serve the remainder of Pope's term, which expires Dec.

31.

Gurtler and other candidates for the office must file their petitions from May 13 to June 12.

The primary takes place in September, followed by the general election in November.

Superior Court judges earn $120,750 a year.

As a judge pro tem, Gurtler serves one day a week in Kingman and another day in Bullhead City, working with Juvenile Presiding Judge James Chavez of Division 4.

"What the juvenile judge experience has provided has been the ability to handle juvenile delinquency cases, cases where juveniles have committed crimes ...

as well as juvenile dependency cases" involving abuse and neglect, Gurtler said.

He said civil matters have been the focus of his law practice, adding he has spent his entire law career in Mohave County.

Civil matters include construction, real estate, personal injury, medical malpractice, and water, education and employment law.

He said he also has handled cases in state and federal district courts, and recently presented a federal case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Colorado River water law and claims by the Colorado River Indian Tribes.

Gurtler said Division 1 began as a division that handled both civil and criminal cases.

Pope, who presided over civil cases, decided before retiring to move the division from Kingman to Bullhead City.

"With the advent of the court relocating to Bullhead City, this division will once again handle a variety of cases," Gurtler said.

"It will be handling the juveniles cases … It will continue to handle the civil cases already being generated out of Bullhead City assigned to Division 1."

He earned a law degree from California Western School of Law, where he met his wife, Jamie, who was born at the former Mohave General Hospital in Kingman.

Besides practicing law, Gurtler said, he has been active in the Bullhead City Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis and church, and was named Citizen of the Year for 2001 by the Laughlin and Bullhead City chambers of commerce.