As a police officer and a leader of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, I count on Arizona judges to properly apply the law and ensure that people seeking justice are treated fairly. Members of the law enforcement community rely on judges to respect prosecutors, defendants and victims. A November referendum, Proposition 115, threatens to inject politics into our courtrooms, jeopardizing justice for all involved.
Judges in Arizona's largest counties make their way to the bench through merit selection. Nominating panels take applications for judicial openings and conduct interviews. The top three candidates are sent to the governor for appointment to the bench. Arizona's merit selection process remains a model for other states.
The nominating commissions are comprised of five attorneys recommended by the State Bar and 10 members appointed by the governor. Only the top three candidates go the governor for consideration. Under Proposition 115, a governor would receive 14 of the 15 appointments, and eight candidates must be sent the governor for consideration.
Law enforcement members oppose this new process. We prefer the most qualified candidates be selected, not the most politically connected. Merit, not political affiliation or ideology, must remain the key component of our judicial selection process. We urge voters to reject Proposition 115.
Joe Clure, president
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association