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Judge Jon Thompson of Arizona appeals court dies at 65

Judge Jon Thompson (Arizona Judicial Branch Photo)

PHOENIX – Judge Jon W. Thompson, one of the longest-sitting appeals court judges in Arizona, died Monday, the Arizona Judicial Branch announced.

Thompson was 65. The cause of death was not provided.

“Those of us lucky enough to have worked with Jon know what a dedicated scholar of the law he was, and how generous he was with his mind, even to the point of assisting judges on decisions with which he disagreed,” Court of Appeals Division One Chief Judge Peter Swann said in press release issued Tuesday.

“I have counted Jon as a friend since 1995, and his loss will be felt by many for years to come. I know the court will never be quite the same.”

Thompson was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals Division One, which is based in Phoenix, in 1995 by Gov. Fife Symington.

His previous positions included partner in a Flagstaff law firm, Superior Court Judge Pro Tem in Coconino County and deputy county attorney in Coconino and Yuma counties.

Thompson received his undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1975 and his law degree from the University of Arizona in 1979.

Division Two Judge Philip Espinosa is the only current appeals court judge who has been serving longer than Thompson’s 24 years, the release said.

Thompson’s death leaves two vacancies on the Division One bench.

Last week, a panel recommended five nominees to Gov. Doug Ducey as potential replacements for Justice James P. Beene, who was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in April.

Thompson is survived by his wife of nearly 44 years, Paulene, two sons, an unofficially adopted daughter, his mother, two brothers and five grandchildren.

Information on memorial services is pending.

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