The Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct disclosed this week that Cathleen Brown Nichols, Judge for Superior Court Division V, has been publicly reprimanded for failing to issue timely rulings.

The judge was charged with violating Rule 2.5(A) of the Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct, which states:

A judge shall perform judicial and administrative duties competently, diligently, and promptly.

The complainant, Richard A. Russell, alleged that Judge Nichols violated the law and his rights and failed to issue timely rulings.

According to the complaint, Russell filed an appeal of a protective order matter in the Coconino County Superior Court on January 5, 2021. The appeal did not receive a decision until July 22, 2021. Judge Nichols claimed that until the complainant called for a status update on April 26, 2021, her division was unaware that the matter had been assigned to her. The judge also argued that the complainant’s submittals were lengthy and difficult to understand.

The Commission, however, said that the additional submittals by the complainant did not substantively affect his appeal, calling Judge Nichols’ arguments “unpersuasive.”

The order states:

“The Commission previously issued a public reprimand to Judge Brown Nichols in CJC Case No. 21-363 for multiple delayed rulings that occurred in the time period of mid-2020 through mid-2021. The ruling in this case also occurred in the same time period, and for that reason, the Commission has chosen to issue another public reprimand, rather than pursue formal charges against Judge Brown Nichols under a doctrine of progressive discipline. Judge Brown Nichols has implemented remedial tracking measures to hopefully alleviate any such delay in the future.”

The Judge’s courtroom is at 200 N. San Francisco Street in Flagstaff and can be reached at (928) 679-7557. The Judge earned a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, in 1986.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.