Each year, the Superior Court of Arizona appoints qualified attorneys to serve as Judges Pro Tempore in various court departments as needed. This is a voluntary, pro bono position that is reserved for attorneys who have successfully passed the application process. Criminal law attorney Charlie Naegle serves as a Judge Pro Tem in Maricopa County.
Being appointed as Judge Pro Tem is no small task. First, an attorney must meet the qualifications, which include:
- At least 30 years of age
- Of good moral character
- Admitted to the practice of law in this state for not less than 5 years preceding his/her appointment
Once qualified, attorneys must then go through an extensive application process and then be selected and appointed as Judge Pro Tem.
A Judge Pro Tem serves as a temporary judge. They are not considered a regular judge, but are called upon to serve temporarily as a judge, as long as both parties involved in a case consent. A court might call upon a Judge Pro Tem to serve when there are too many cases for regular judges to handle.
In most cases, a Judge Pro Tem is asked to hear a case in a matter that is in their field of practice. For example, a criminal law attorney serving as Judge Pro Tem will typically hear or oversee small claims cases. When they serve, they hold all of the same powers as a regular judge, including the ability to pass judgment when necessary.
Serving as a Judge Pro Tem will allow Charlie to put his knowledge of criminal law to use in a direct way. He’ll continue to gain valuable experience that will help him sharpen his skills as an attorney. Serving in the capacity will also give him insight into other criminal law cases and give him opportunities to see the legal system from a different point of view.
Charlie has always been consistently client-focused, meaning that this experience will only serve to benefit his clients. This new perspective will help him become even more effective as a criminal law attorney.