KINGMAN - Mohave County residents will have a new Division IV Superior Court Judge with a familiar face. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer appointed current Superior Court Commissioner Lee Jantzen to the Division IV seat Friday morning.
Jantzen will take the place of Judge James Chavez, who retired from office on March 31. He will serve the rest of Chavez's term in office.
"Lee's extensive experience as a prosecutor and a commissioner make him well qualified to serve as a judge," Brewer stated in a news release. "He will be a tremendous addition to the Mohave County Superior Court."
"I just found out yesterday," Jantzen said. "It was hard to keep it a secret."
He said he was surprised to be picked for the position.
"It's very humbling. I can't believe it," he said. "I have a great regard for the other candidates."
At the same time, Jantzen is excited about getting started in the position.
"It'll be a change and a challenge. I may have to pull out the old law books, but there's nothing wrong with that," he said.
He isn't sure of his start date as the new Division IV. He was only told that it would be "soon." It is unknown who will take Jantzen's place as court commissioner and judge pro-tempore.
He said he will miss some things about his old job, such as drug court, and he plans to finish up any trials and sentencings he has in the next few weeks before taking his new position.
Jantzen was admitted to the Arizona State Bar in 1992 and the Florida Bar in 1999. He has retired from the Florida Bar.
Jantzen worked for the Mohave County Attorney's Office from 1992 to 1994 when he left to become an assistant city attorney for Kingman. He returned to MCAO in 1996 and then left in 1999 to serve as an assistant state attorney for the Florida State Attorney's Office. He returned to the MCAO in 2001 and in 2007 became a Superior Court Commissioner.