James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award

Established in April 1989, this award recognizes that judge whose career exemplifies the highest standards of judicial conduct for integrity and independence; who is knowledgeable of the law and faithful to it; who is unswayed by partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism; who is patient, dignified and courteous to all who appear before that judge; and who endeavors to improve the administration of justice and public understanding of, and respect for, the role of law in our society.

2023 Recipient

Hon. Samuel A. Thumma
Judge, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, since 2012, and Chief Judge 2017-2019. Sam chairs the Appellate Judges Education Institute, Inc., Board and chaired the Appellate Judges’ Conference, ABA Judicial Division. He serves on the Uniform Law Commission’s Scope & Program Committee and chairs the Drafting Committee on Revising the Uniform Determination of Death Act. He is an Advisor to the ALI’s Restatement Of Law (Third) Of Torts: Remedies project. Sam chairs Arizona’s Commission on Access to Justice. He co-chaired Arizona’s COVID-19 Continuity of Court Operations During Health Emergency Workgroup; was co-editor of the Arizona Appellate Handbook; chaired the State Bar Civil Practice & Procedure and Fee Arbitration Committees and was a member of the Ethics Committee. He was the Arizona Supreme Court’s 2021 Judge of the Year.

Sam co-teaches evidence at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He has presented nearly 500 law-related programs and published 15 law review articles and 60 other law-related articles. Sam served as a Judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court for five years; a partner at Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, P.A., Phoenix, and an associate at Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C. He clerked for Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Stanley G. Feldman and Federal Judge David R. Hansen, Northern District of Iowa. Sam received a Master of Laws, Duke University School of Law (2020); J.D., Order of the Coif, University of Iowa College of Law (1988), and B.S., Iowa State University (1984), where he was a Truman Scholar.


Previous Recipients

The award has been presented to:

1989     Hon. James A. Walsh
1990 Hon. William P. Copple
1991 Hon. James Duke Cameron
1992 Hon. Frank X. Gordon, Jr.
1993 Hon. Alice Truman
1994 Hon. Stanley G. Feldman
1995 Hon. Robert B. Buchanan
1996 Hon. James Moeller
1997 Hon. Jack L. Ogg
1998 Hon. Ronald S. Reinstein
1999 Hon. Elizabeth R. Finn
2000 Hon. William C. Canby, Jr.
2001 Hon. Thomas A. Zlaket
2002 Hon. Edward L. Dawson
2003 Hon. Michael Daly Hawkins
2004 Hon. Mary Murphy Schroeder
Hon. George B. Nielsen, Jr.
2005 Hon. Michael D. Ryan
2006 Hon. Stephen M. McNamee
2007 Hon. C. Kimball Rose (posthumously)
2008 Hon. Barry C. Schneider
2009 Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor
2010 Hon. Barbara Rodriguez Mundell
2011 Hon. John M. Roll (posthumously)
2012 Hon. James M. Marlar
2013 Hon. Robert L. Gottsfield
2014 Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch
2015 Hon. Lawrence F. Winthrop
2016 Hon. Andrew G. Klein
2017 Hon. Patricia K. Norris
2018 Hon. G. Murray Snow
2019 Chief Justice W. Scott Bales
2020 Hon. Diane M. Johnsen (ret.)
2021  Hon. Joseph Kreamer
2022 Hon. Kyle A. Bryson
2023 Hon. Samuel A. Thumma
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