Phillip Woolbright, Justice of the Peace and "Servant of the Lord," Removed From Office
Preacher/Arrowhead Justice of the Peace Phillip Woolbright is now former Justice of the Peace Phillip Woolbright.
Woolbright, who was elected to the position in 2010, was arrested almost exactly one year ago for violating a restraining order filed against him by his then-estranged wife He was suspended from the position in December.
The Arizona Supreme Court gave Woolbright the boot Monday, after the state's commission on judicial conduct found that Woolbright had violated several items in the state's code of judicial conduct.
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According to the commission's report, Woolbright was involved in two domestic-violence acts in early 2011, which earned him an order of protection, which was filed by his now-ex-wife.
Woolbright repeatedly evaded the process server who was delivering the order, then called Peoria cops on April 3, 2011, saying that his wife had kidnapped their four children.
The commission's report states that Woolbright offered to sign the search warrant for the house himself, which he said "in a 'joking' tone."
Woolbright -- who campaigned as a "part-time preacher, bringing morals and ethics to the bench" -- then admitted to deciding matters of orders of protection based on his own experience with orders of protection.
"He indicated that he was now deciding such cases by using the 'wisdom' gained from his own and ongoing personal experience," the report states.
By July, Woolbright was repeatedly calling Peoria police to report that his wife was committing custodial interference, which apparently stemmed from "differing interpretations of the order."
After Woolbright was actually granted visitation rights, he sent his wife threatening text messages "to ensure his wife complied with his wishes," according to the report.
Woolbright then called the cops again on July 21, 2011 -- Phoenix police this time -- and when officers showed up, Woolbright was arrested for interference with a judicial proceeding.
The next day, Woolbright went back to his regular schedule of cases, but stopped dealing with issues regarding orders of protection.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office directly charged Woolbright a couple months later, and that charge is still pending, according to the report.
The commission says there's no "clear and convincing evidence" that Woolbright then attempted to intimidate a witness -- who helped him evade the process server -- but the report says it was inappropriate for him to "aggressively challenge her potential testimony against him.
The state Supreme Court's ruling says it adopts the findings of the report, and orders Woolbright to be removed from office and banned from performing judicial functions for a minimum of five years.
His replacement will be appointed until the election rolls around later this year.
Woolbright was making more than $100,000 per year in his position.
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