Governor appoints city attorney to bench

Gov.

Jane Hull on Wednesday named Kingman City Attorney Charlotte Wells to replace Mohave County Superior Court Judge Gary Pope for the remainder of his term.

Wells is the first woman to be appointed or elected to the Mohave County

Superior Court bench.

During a visit to Kingman, Hull interviewed Wells and the three other applicants, Charles W.

Gurtler Jr., Julie Sydney Roth and Jonny Ann Sutton, about the vacancy for Division 1 judge.

Pope retired Jan.

31.

"I'm so grateful to get this opportunity," Wells said.

"I never doubted I was qualified, but the other applicants were also well-qualified."

Wells, a Republican, also said she will run for the Division 1 judgeship in September's primary.

Gurtler is the only other candidate in the Republican primary.

Gurtler and Roth are pro-tempore judges serving in Bullhead City and Kingman.

Sutton is a part-time pro-temp justice serving the Lake Havasu City Justice Court.

Wells said she did not see any significance in being the court's first female judge.

"I haven't thought of it that way," she said.

"As far as I know I was also the first female city attorney.

I'm just doing my job."

Wells was one of three candidates in 2000 to apply for an Arizona Court of Appeals judgeship with the retirement of Judge Philip Toci.

She was also one of three finalists for an appellate court opening in 1995.

Hull said she based her decision on Wells' experience and background and well as her personality and temperament.

Wells is the 67th judicial appointment by Hull during her five years as governor.

Wells has been the city attorney since 1992.

During the previous three years, she was the civil deputy/managing attorney for the Mohave County Attorney's Office.

Wells attended law school at the University of Arizona and received a master's degree at Arizona State University.

She was admitted to the bar in 1982.

The other Superior Court judges are Steven Conn, Richard Weiss, James Chavez and Robert Moon.

Moon was recently nominated by the Arizona Supreme Court as the court's presiding judge.

Pope, 60, who presided mainly over civil cases in Division 1 of the courthouse, announced his resignation Dec.

3.

His term expires Dec.

31.

Superior Court's Division 1 was moved to Bullhead City on Feb.

1.

The court's Division 2 was moved in 1998 to Lake Havasu City, where Judge Randy Bartlett presides.

Wells, 54, said she will continue to live in Kingman and commute to Bullhead City.