JAGC tour of superior and municipal courts, May 8, 2014.

JAGC tour of superior and municipal courts, May 8, 2014.

This morning, I am pleased to share a news story that was sent my way by attorney Debbie Weecks. It involves a visit by members of a Judge Advocate General Corps to a civilian court.

If you have law-related news you’d like to share, send it to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Here’s Debbie:

Our Luke AFB’s JAGC Corps broke with its quarterly Friday classroom from its own court setting and tradition this week. The JAGC instead enjoyed a local field day morning with a tour of the courts on Thursday, May 8. The group kicked off at Surprise Municipal Court at 7:45 a.m., where the Honorable Presiding Judge Louis Frank Dominguez gave a formidable overview of the municipal court system. Judicial Administrative Supervisor Lynn Mikus assisted in creating an instructional handout.

Next, the JAGC was greeted at Superior Court by the Honorable Presiding Judge Eilleen Willett for an overview of operations and court departments. Judge Willett was kind enough to lend her clerk out for the balance of the tour, so the members enjoyed the company and some insights courtesy of clerk John Charles Laws (a 3L at Summit Law). Thanks go out to all four NW Superior Court judges for spending time greeting and on Q&A (Judge Willett, and also Judge Jose Padilla, Judge Michael Kemp, and Commissioner Jacki Ireland), and to all their staff who pre-arranged and facilitated the tour.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office graciously provided its escort, which gave the JAGC the opportunity during a snack break between courtrooms to learn about courtroom and courthouse security from Deputy Tony Jacobs. (A thanks is due to the Surprise location Paradise Bakery’s manager Cheryl for the cookies!)

The Self Service Center is an important service member resource when pro per, so the brief instructional by SSC clerks Marta and David was very useful!

Farther down the hallway, the JAGC was greeted by a prior JAGC officer, now Justice of the Peace, Gerald Williams. The four hour-plus tour ended with the JAGC members observing brief proceedings and interacting with North Valley J.P. Judge Williams and Hassayampa J.P. Judge Chris Mueller. With Judge Williams’ background prior to civilian life, the JAGC members were provided a comparative analysis of how certain matters are treated in the two court systems, including prepared handouts and thorough explanations on some more subtle criminal charge matters. Judge Mueller invited everyone to observe an interpreter in-custody plea bargain.

Overall, a great day for all involved!

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Irish Cultural Center from above - Weecks Productions

The Irish Cultural Center, Phoenix, from above (photo: Weecks Productions)

Earlier this month, Arizona’s own Sandra Day O’Connor was recognized at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix for her achievements and contributions—and for being Irish.

As the Irish Central news hub announced, the retired Supreme Court Associate Justice received “the prestigious Anam Cara Award (Irish Soul Friend).” It was bestowed in honor of “her illustrious career, long-term service to the community and her family’s Irish heritage.”

Justice sandra Day O'Connor (ret.) and attorney Debbie Weecks

Justice sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) and attorney Debbie Weecks

You can read the whole story here. (But you may have to suppress a chuckle at the photo caption, which somehow misidentifies Justice O’Connor’s late husband John as being then-Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. Here is the photo and accurate cutline.)

Thank you for the heads-up to Arizona attorney Debbie Weecks, who attended the event. Her son Dan also runs a production company and provided some photos of the evening, as well as a video made for the occasion. Here is the great video on what Anam Cara means, and why Sandra Day O’Connor is a worthy recipient. It includes interviews with noteworthy folks like former Arizona Chief Justice Ruth McGregor.

And thank you to Dan Weecks of Weecks Productions for sharing the photos and the video.

More information on the Irish Cultural Center is here.