Bill Montgomery sworn in during private ceremony

By: - September 6, 2019 1:03 pm

Bill Montgomery, after being sworn in as a supreme court justice, walks past reporters in the basement of the Executive Tower. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror.

Former Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was sworn in to the Arizona Supreme Court late Friday morning in a secret ceremony. 

The swearing in was brought to the attention of the media by Hank Stephenson, a veteran journalist who edits the political insider tipsheet Yellow Sheet Report. He reported on Twitter Friday morning that sources had told him that Montgomery would be sworn in privately and the ceremony would be attended only by family and friends. 

Including Montgomery, Ducey has appointed five men to the Supreme Court. Three of them — justices Clint Bolick, Andrew Gould and John Lopez — were sworn in at public ceremonies. Justice James Beene was sworn in during a private ceremony in June.

The governor’s office never announced that Montgomery would be sworn in Friday, and only confirmed the swearing in after the fact, when Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted out a photo of the swearing in ceremony congratulating Montgomery and calling him “one of the finest County Attorneys (sic) our state has known.” 

Montgomery served as Maricopa county attorney since 2010, and faced stiff opposition and criticism on his way to the highest court in the state. 

Reporters with the Arizona Mirror, Arizona Capitol Times, The Arizona Republic and 12 News attempted to get access to the swearing in, but were told that it was a private ceremony. 

Montgomery was escorted out of the Executive Tower by the basement, flanked by family and security as he walked briskly by the press. 

Montgomery speeds away
Newly sworn in Supreme Court Justice Bill Montgomery sped away from the Capitol after a private swearing in ceremony. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror.

As he left the building’s underground parking garage, Montgomery peeled out and sped past reporters waiting to get a photo. 

The day before Montgomery was appointed to the Supreme Court, a defense attorney for convicted murderer Jodi Arias filed an ethics complaint against Montgomery with the State Bar of Arizona, accusing him of ignoring misconduct by Juan Martinez, the star prosecutor in the Arias case. 

The governor’s office did not respond to requests for comment about Friday’s swearing in.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.