The undersigned are officers and directors of the West Maricopa County Bar Association. It is our position that Phillip Woolbright is not qualified to hold the office of a justice of the peace.
The Preamble to the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct states: “Judges should maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives. They should aspire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity and competence.”
The Arizona Court of Appeals in State of Arizona v. Phillip Woolbright, 1 CA-CR12-0680 affirmed the misdemeanor conviction of Mr. Woolbright for interfering with judicial proceedings. The Court of Appeals wrote: “Substantial evidence supports the court’s finding that Woolbright knowingly violated the order of protection.”
Chief Justice Berch of the Arizona Supreme Court entered the order removing Mr. Woolbright from the bench on July 23, 2012.
In removing Woolbright from judicial office, the Arizona Supreme Court adopted the findings and conclusions of the Commission on Judicial Conduct that Woolbright had violated seven rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
His actions included: two acts of domestic violence against his wife that resulted in an order of protection against him; intentionally evading service of process and using a court employee to assist him; providing misleading information to another judge; untruthfully reporting to police that his wife had kidnapped their children and attempting to report her for custodial interference; being arrested for violating his wife’s order of protection (for which he was later convicted); failing to disqualify himself from hearing cases in which he had a conflict; making a material misrepresentation of fact to the commission; and attempting to influence the testimony of a witness against him.
Among the list of aggravating circumstances, the commission found that Woolbright “continues to not recognize or acknowledge the most serious acts of misconduct, which were his ongoing and multiple acts of deceit and dishonesty, and his various efforts to abuse his authority and judicial position.”
It is the opinion of the undersigned attorneys that one who has conducted his affairs as highlighted above is not a person who would insure the greatest possible public confidence in their integrity and competence as is set forth in the Preamble to the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct. Mr. Woolbright should not be elected as Justice of the Peace.
The entire record of the proceedings against Woolbright may be read at www.azcourts.gov/portals/137/reports/2011/11-111.pdf.
Rita A. Daninger
Terrance C. Mead
Chase W. Rasmussen
Ward B. Rasmussen