We received some good news yesterday about a Superior Court Judge.

Judge Douglas Rayes, Presiding Judge of the criminal court for Maricopa County, has been named the 2011 Judge of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates (Phoenix Chapter).

Hon. Douglas Rayes (left) receives the award from ABOTA member Patrick J. McGroder III.

The award recognizes Judge Rayes’ integrity, dedication and professionalism. It was presented by Gallagher & Kennedy partner Patrick J. McGroder III. (Judge Rayes was a partner of Pat McGroder at McGroder, Tryon, Heller & Rayes from 1982 to 1989.)

Judge Rayes was appointed to the bench in 2000. During his tenure, he has presided over criminal, civil, complex civil, family and special assignment calendars. Currently, he is the Presiding Judge of the criminal court.

According to ABOTA, its mission includes promoting the efficient administration of justice and constant improvement of the law.

More information on Judge Rayes is here.

Just the other day, I mentioned Judge Rayes and some of his co-authors; they wrote a great cover story for Arizona Attorney on recent developments in the capital case crisis.

Hoofin' it in chambers

Finally (to repay those who read all the way to the bottom): Especially observant readers may have gazed at the photo above and spotted the jar of Hormel pigs feet, just over Judge Rayes’ right shoulder (right next to the Criminal and Traffic Law Manual). I was curious how such a delicacy could have made its way to the chambers of such a distinguished judge, so I asked the Judge about it. Here’s the jar’s history, in his words:

“Good eye on the pig’s feet. When [then-Presiding] Judge [Barbara] Mundell announced the new department presiding judges, she gave each of us a gift. As I was replacing Judge Donahoe, who had had a tough time in the slot, I think she gave me the pigs feet as a humorous way to thank me for taking the job.”

(A “tough time” may be an understatement. I wrote before about Judge Gary Donahoe and Maricopa County here.)

Wonderful—pork-barrel justice (of the admirable variety)!

Have a great weekend.