By Alison Jones
Justices of the Peace (JPs) are elected, partisan positions. Each Arizona county has justice courts over which JPs preside. They serve four-year terms. Pima County Justices of the Peace have jurisdiction over civil lawsuits when the disputed amount is $10,000 or less, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims cases, and a full range of civil and criminal traffic offenses, including DUIs. Justices of the Peace resolve such misdemeanor allegations as shoplifting, writing bad checks, and violating restraining orders. Like other trial judges, they handle Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment requests. Arizona law does not require JPs to be lawyers, and many lack legal training, although the Arizona Supreme Court requires all to complete a course at the Arizona Judicial College.
The Pima County Consolidated Justice Court, where eight of the 10 elected JPs serve, is “consolidated” because eight of 10 Pima County Precincts share one courthouse. One JP represents each precinct. Consolidation allows a Justice of the Peace to hear and rule on any case from any of the eight precincts. The Consolidated Court is located at 240 N. Stone Ave. in downtown Tucson. Precincts 3 (Ajo Justice Court) and 7 (Green Valley Justice Court) occupy individual courthouses.
Several “Problem-Solving Courts” exist to address special types of cases. These include Animal Welfare Court, Behavioral Health Court, Domestic Violence Court, Homeless Court, and Veterans Treatment Court. A judge who has acquired special knowledge of the issue presides in each court.
Below are the five JP seats up for election in 2020. All races are uncontested. Precincts 2, 3, 6, 9 are Democrats; Precinct 10 is a Republican.
Precinct #2 – Hon. Erica Cornejo (incumbent)
Precinct #4 – Hon. Charlene Pesquiera (incumbent)
Precinct #6 – Alexander Ball
Precinct #9 – Hon. Kendrick Wilson (incumbent)
Precinct #10 – Hon. Vince Roberts (incumbent)
Depending on your location, one of these candidates might be on your ballot. Although these races are uncontested, I urge you to vote all the way down-ballot for the Democrats in these races. These judges make decisions that affect the daily lives of the people in our community.