Governor Ducey Appoints Six New Judges to the Arizona Court of Appeals

Published by The Bee News

December 29, 2022

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Governor Doug Ducey today announced appointments to fill vacancies on the Arizona Court of Appeals, the first level of appeal from Superior Courts on cases including civil, criminal, juvenile, tax, and family matters.

The governor appointed Michael Catlett, Anni Hill Foster, and Daniel Kiley to Division I. He appointed Lacey Stover Gard, Michael Kelly, and Christopher O’Neil to Division II. These vacancies were created by the addition of three at-large appellate seats on each division of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of six new judges to the Arizona Court of Appeals,” said Governor Ducey. “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. Each of these individuals are exceptionally talented and principled. 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.”

Division I

Michael S. Catlett – Michael currently serves as a Deputy Solicitor General with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office where he represents the State of Arizona in appellate proceedings involving a wide variety of issues, including the Second Amendment, victim’s rights, energy regulation, antitrust regulation, criminal law and election law.

Prior to joining the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Michael was a partner at the law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP where he handled complex commercial litigation matters. Michael also worked as an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Osborn Maledon, P.A.

Michael is active in serving the Phoenix community and has volunteered pro bono legal services to Paralyzed Veterans for America, as well as the U.S. District Court’s self-represented litigant clinic, and the Ninth Circuit’s pro bono program.

Michael graduatedsumma cum laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Michael then received his law degree from the University of Arizona where he graduated summa cum laude and served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Arizona Law Review.  After graduating law school, Michael clerked for Judge Paul Kelly on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Anni L. Hill Foster – Anni has served as the General Counsel to the Arizona Governor’s Office since 2018 and as the Deputy General Counsel from 2017 to 2018. As General Counsel, Anni oversaw the legal work of executive agencies, including the implementation of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law. Her work involved high-profile legal issues that often required collaboration with both the legislative and judicial branches. During her tenure, she directed and supervised all litigation involving the Governor.

Prior to joining the Office of the Governor, Anni served as the General Counsel to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Anni also worked as an Assistant Attorney General at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office where she represented the Department of Public Safety and prosecuted child support cases in the Child & Family Division.

Anni is a frequent guest speaker at legal conferences, panels, and Continuing Legal Education classes hosted by the Arizona State Bar, the Maricopa County Bar Association, and other organizations.

In 2019, Anni was appointed by Chief Justice Bales to the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice where she continues to serve as a commissioner and a member of the Intergovernmental Work Group. She also served on the Board of the Arizona Bar Foundation and volunteered during Constitution Week to speak with elementary school students about the importance of our constitution and founding principles. Anni has also volunteered with the ASU Law Pipeline Program – an initiative that introduces high school students to the legal field through participation in moot court competitions.

Anni graduated from Mary Baldwin University in 1999 where she double majored in Political Science and Economics. Anni then received her law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2004 where she earned a competitive two-year clerkship with the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

Daniel J. Kiley – Dan has served as a Superior Court Judge in Maricopa County since 2010. During his years on the Superior Court, Dan has served on the civil, criminal, and family court benches. He currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Lower Court and Administrative Appeals Department, where he handles appeals from 23 municipal courts, 26 justice courts, and over two dozen administrative boards and agencies.

Prior to joining the Superior Court, Dan spent thirteen years with the law firm of Sherman & Howard LLC, and its predecessor, Mohr, Hackett, Pederson, Blakley & Randolph, P.C., where he handled complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, employment issues, tort claims and municipal law. Dan began his legal career with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office where he prosecuted criminal cases, represented the State in asset forfeiture hearings, and handled appeals and special actions before the Arizona Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Before being appointed as a judge, Dan regularly volunteered with the Volunteer Lawyers Program sponsored by Community Legal Services, and was recognized as one of the Top 50 Pro Bono Attorneys in Arizona in 2009. Dan currently volunteers with Maggie’s Place, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing services to homeless pregnant women. He previously volunteered with My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter in Chandler, for which he was recognized with the Jim Bastian Volunteer Service Award.

Dan graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. He received his law degree cum laude from Arizona State University in 1988 where he served as a Note and Comment Editor for the Arizona State Law Journal.

Division II

Lacey Stover Gard – Lacey has served as a Superior Court Judge in Pinal County since 2021 where she has been assigned to the civil law bench.

Prior to her judicial appointment, Lacey worked at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. While at the Attorney General’s Office, Lacey served as the Deputy Solicitor General and Chief Counsel of the Capital Litigation Section and as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals Section.

Lacey also taught advanced legal writing and appellate advocacy as an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona College of Law.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office recognized Lacey’s accomplishments with a number of accolades including the Major Case Victory Award, the Outstanding Team Award, the Michael Cudahy Mentoring Award, the Victim’s Services Law Angel Award, the Attorney of the Year Award, and the Emerging Star Award.

Lacey graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Lacey then received her law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law. After law school, Lacey clerked for Judge J. William Brammer on the Arizona Court of Appeals.

Michael F. Kelly – Michael has worked as a partner at the Hollingsworth Kelly law firm since 2009 where his practice has focused on civil litigation and trial work involving negligence claims, wrongful death, product liability, and contract disputes.

Prior to transitioning to private practice, Michael served as a prosecuting attorney with the Pima County Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted homicide and violent crime cases.

Michael has been a longtime volunteer attorney with Step Up to Justice, providing pro bono legal services and increasing access to justice for self-represented litigants. He has also served on the Board of Directors for both Southern Arizona Legal Aid, an organization dedicated to providing free legal services to families and individuals, and the Tucson Village Farm, which is an organization committed to creating working urban farms that connect children with healthy nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and a healthy lifestyle.

Michael has been recognized multiple times as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine, as a “Best Lawyer” by Tucson Lifestyle, and in the “Top 40 under 40” by the National Trial Lawyers organization.

Michael graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. He then received his law degree from the University of Arizona.

Christopher J. O’Neil – Christopher currently serves as the Presiding Judge over the civil bench for the Pinal County Superior Court. Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Christopher served as the Presiding Judge of Casa Grande Municipal Court where he managed one of the highest-volume single-judge courthouses in the State of Arizona.

Christopher also worked as a staff attorney for the Pinal County Superior Court where he assisted the Presiding Judge with the management of the civil caseload, legal research, and authored draft rulings. Christopher also worked as an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally PLC where he handled personal injury cases and assisted with complex commercial litigation and business transactions.

Christopher regularly volunteers as a coach for the City of Casa Grande Youth Soccer League, has served as an advisor for the Cactus Middle School Mock Trial Team and as a judge for other regional mock trial competitions. Christopher also volunteers his time to serve as pastor for a church in Casa Grande.

Christopher graduatedmagna cum laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Christopher then received his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law where he served as an Executive Note Editor for the Arizona Law Review.

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