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Gov. Ducey appoints 6 judges to fill expanded Arizona Court of … – The Arizona Republic

In his final days in office, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is shaping the future of the Arizona Court of Appeals with six new appointments.

Ducey selected Michael Catlett, Anni Hill Foster and Daniel Kiley for the Court of Appeals Division I in Phoenix and Lacey Stover Gard, Michael Kelly and Christopher O’Neil to Division II in Tucson.

“These new judges will provide the much needed resources for the Court of Appeals to handle its growing caseload as more and more people choose Arizona as a place to live, work, and start a business. …They will faithfully uphold the law, defend the Constitution, and respect the separation of powers. I am proud to have these judges serve the State of Arizona on the Court of Appeals,” Ducey said in a statement Thursday.

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The Court of Appeals is the second-highest court in the state, behind the state Supreme Court. It receives cases that are appealed from state Superior Courts, and participants appear before a team of three judges.

Judges only join the court through gubernatorial appointment. After their first term on the court, voters decide whether judges will continue to serve on the bench for six-year intervals.

Catlett is the deputy solicitor general with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, where he represented the state in appeals cases. Foster has served for five years as the general counsel to the Arizona Governor’s Office, where she directed and supervised all litigation involving the governor. Kiley has been a Maricopa Superior Court judge for a little over a decade.

Kelly is partner at the Tucson-based Hollingsworth Kelly law firm, which specializes in personal-injury law. O’Neil and Gard are both on the Pinal County Superior Court civil law bench, with O’Neil serving as presiding judge.

The openings were created by the state Legislature’s expansion of the court, adding three at-large positions to the court’s two divisions, a Ducey policy initiative. There are now 28 judges on the Arizona Court of Appeals, up from 22.

This is Ducey’s second higher court expansion, having signed legislation in 2016 to expand the state Supreme Court to nine judges from seven.

The majority of the judges on Arizona’s Appeals Court are in Division I in Phoenix, which will now have 19 judges. There will also be nine judges in the Tucson-based Division II.

Earlier this month, Ducey appointed Jeffrey Louis Sklar to the Court of Appeals Division II to fill Judge Philip Espinosa’s seat.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at or on Twitter @kavalertara.

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