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Court commissioner launching write-in campaign for judge

September 20, 2018

KINGMAN — A Superior Court commissioner is challenging the winner of the Republican primary for a seat on the Superior Court bench.

Superior Court Commissioner Billy Sipe Jr. filed nominating papers Monday to run as a write-in candidate against Eric Gordon in the Nov. 6 general election.

Gordon defeated two other candidates in the Aug. 28 Republican primary to fill the Superior Court Division 6 seat being left by Judge Richard Weiss, who is retiring at the end of the year. There are no Democrats running in the general election.

“After the primary results, I believe — and so do a lot of other people in the community — that the voters should have an alternative candidate for Division 6 for Mohave County Superior Court,” Sipe told the Daily News after an appearance at Wednesday’s meeting of the Colorado River Republican Women’s Club. “I have a tremendous amount of experience — I have been a judge on

the Superior Court bench for four years. Prior to that I practiced law in Mohave County for 26 years.”

Members of the legal community urged him to run, Sipe said.

A write-in candidate’s name is not listed on the ballot. A voter who wants to vote for Sipe would have to write “Billy Sipe” on the ballot, the elections office said.

He admitted that write-in candidates are long shots to win but he will be putting up signs, going door to door to meet people and campaigning.

“A lot of people say this can’t happen but I just say this is a perfect storm for a write-in candidate to win the position,” Sipe said.

Sipe was appointed Superior Court commissioner in December 2014, replacing Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle. Sipe handles about 35 percent of all the criminal cases heard in Mohave County.

Sipe is willing to commute to the District 2 Superior Courtroom in Lake Havasu City to take Carlisle’s caseload, which includes civil and juvenile dependency cases, he said.

Carlisle tentatively is expected to be assigned Weiss’s criminal cases. Judge Rick Lambert also handles felony criminal cases.

If Sipe wins in the November general election, a new Superior Court commissioner would have to be appointed. That commissioner’s caseload has not been determined.

Sipe graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s degree and received a law degree from Puget Sound School of Law in Washington before returning to Kingman. He practiced law for about 25 years as a private attorney, handling mostly criminal cases including death penalty cases.

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