Interviews begin for county judge replacement

KINGMAN – Gov. Doug Ducey announced that members of his staff will interview three candidates on Thursday, July 6, to replace retiring Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn.

Judicial interviews will take place at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors auditorium, 700 W. Beale St. The schedule is 2 p.m. for Steven Moss; 2:30 p.m. for Jill Wachtel Davis; and 3 p.m. for Billy Sipe.

All interviews are open to the public. Each interview session will include a public comment period for the judicial applicants.

Moss, 51, is an attorney with the law firm of Kelley, Moss and Williams in Bullhead City, and District 5 Mohave County supervisor. He was born in Phoenix, and has a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1995.

He sought an opinion for the Attorney General’s office on his eligibility for judge as an elected official. According to the AG, an elected official may submit an application to governor without resigning from office.

Sipe, a longtime defense attorney in Kingman, was appointed to Mohave County Commissioner Court in 2014 and served as judge pro tem. He has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and a law degree from University of Puget Sound.

Davis was elected Justice of the Peace in 2002 and was appointed Mohave County Superior Court judge pro tem in January 2005. She moved to Lake Havasu City in 1967, and is a graduate of Arizona State University and California Western Law School. She was a former partner at Wachtel, Biehn and Malm law firm.

In addition to Mohave County, judicial vacancies are up for grabs in Yuma and Yavapai counties.

Under the Arizona Constitution, judges of the Superior Court in counties with a population of less than 250,000 are elected by voters. Vacancies created by the retirement or resignation of a judge prior to the general election are filled by gubernatorial appointment.

Applicants must be between the ages of 30 and 65, have good moral character, be a member of the bar in Arizona, a resident of Arizona for five years and a resident of Mohave County for at least one year.