| News |

Presiding County Judge Fires Two Commissioners, Including Husband of Top Aide to County Attorney Andy Thomas

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Barbara Mundell, Maricopa County's presiding judge, recently fired two of her court commissioners, Wes Peterson and David Anderson. Unlike Superior Court judges, commissioners, who have similar responsibilities, are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the presiding judge -- and can be fired with or without a good reason.

In this instance, Mundell (pictured) and her minions are keeping tight-lipped, according to court spokeswoman Karen Arra. "The court is not commenting," she told us.

But other folks in the courthouse are speculating hard as to the reason that the well-respected Peterson may have gotten the ax after eight years on the bench: the fact that he is married to Sally Wells, chief assistant to Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Everyone, and we mean everyone that we spoke to about the firings (this included a handful of current and former judges, and others who work at the courthouse) couldn't come up with any obvious reason for the firings except (in Peterson's case) the Wells connection.


Thomas has been trying for years to make a public whipping boy/girl of the county's judiciary, and Wells has been one of his main messengers. Her constant chirping on Thomas' behalf no doubt has won her few friends at the courthouse.

Maybe that's a red herring, maybe it's not. But in these overtly political times -- with a brazenly ambitious elected official (Thomas) and a beleaguered judiciary constantly, it seems, on the defensive -- who knows?

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.