James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award

Recognizing 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. (Award established in 1989)

2020 Recipient

Diane M. Johnsen: Retired Judge Diane Johnsen grew up in Arizona’s Copper Basin. She graduated in journalism from the University of Arizona, then spent five years as a political reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star. After graduating from Stanford Law School, she clerked for Judge Ben Duniway on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She practiced with Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles before returning to Arizona in 1985 to join the firm now known as Osborn Maledon, where her practice included media law, contract and tort matters and environmental litigation. Governor Napolitano appointed her to Division One of the Court of Appeals in 2006. She served as that court’s Chief Judge, chaired the Phoenix Judicial Selection Advisory Board and was a member of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct. She earned a Master’s of Judicial Studies from Duke University and is a member of the American Law Institute. She stepped down from the bench in February 2020 and now works part-time as Division One’s Special Projects Attorney. Retired Judge Johnsen was named the Arizona Judicial Branch’s Judge of the Year earlier in 2020. She is training to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Maricopa County.


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.)
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