Judge Samuel Vederman has notified state and county officials that he will be retiring from the La Paz County Superior Court on June 30th, 2017.
Vederman sent a letter to Governor Doug Ducey announcing his intentions to step down from the bench and shortly thereafter informed others, saying he needed to give the governor’s office ample time to field and review applications, conduct interviews and make a new appointment to the court.
“It’s my hope that by staying on until June, once the appointment is made I will be able to work with an incoming judge to ensure a smooth transition,” Vederman told Parker Live. “I was appointed in September 2012, but I didn’t start until December so I had roughly 90 days and it really gave me the opportunity to have a smooth succession.”
Vederman, 48, says he knew when he ran for County Attorney years ago that his plan was to serve two terms, eight years. Between his term as County Attorney and his term as Judge, he will have served 8.5 years in total by the time he leaves in June.
“I started here in La Paz County in 2000,” he said. “I worked for Michael Burke when he was Public Defender. I’ve been a prosecutor for the county and for CRIT, I was Chief Deputy County Attorney and tried cases in every court here. It’s all been a great experience and I’ve gotten to work with a lot of great people.”
The decision to leave will create an opening that very few people are qualified to fill. State requirements for judicial appointments include being between 30 and 65 years of age, being an attorney in good standing who is licensed by the state of Arizona to practice law, and being a resident of the county for at least one year. This disqualifies many who would otherwise be considered, including attorneys who work in La Paz County but don’t live here.
“This court and this job are very unique,” Vederman said. “It’s one of only two counties that has only one Superior Court judge in the whole county, and that judge has to handle all the cases that come up and the various types of cases that there are.”
Vederman said he was proud of some of the changes that have happened during his time as judge, including the establishment of the Veterans Court in collaboration with the County Attorney and others, the overhaul of the courtroom into a state-of-the-art facility and the transformation of the Probation Department.
“Right now we are having much greater success with our probationers,” he said. “They benefit and the citizens benefit. The goal of probation is to hold people accountable and transform lives, and right now we’re doing that in La Paz County.”
What’s next for Judge Vederman?
“Well I’d certainly like to stay in the area. I want to spend more time with family and friends. A couple of employers have approached me and a strong consideration will be trying to stay here. Really what I’ll miss the most will be the people, who make this a great place to work. I’m very fortunate to have worked alongside [former Clerk of the Court] Sheri Newman and with [current Clerk of the Court] Megan Spielman. And the next judge is going to be very fortunate to have Juana Flores as Judicial Assistant as I did. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to serve like this and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”
Michael Burke was the previous judge at the Superior Court and retired in 2012. Vederman’s successor will be appointed by Governor Ducey after his office receives and reviews applications and holds interviews. A public comment period usually accompanies such judicial appointments.