Sun Staff Reporter
Robert B. Van Wyck,
a Flagstaff lawyer and former state bar president, was
appointed Tuesday to take over Coconino County Superior Court
Division 1 while Judge Michael Flournoy is suspended.
Coconino County presiding Judge H. Jeffrey Coker said he is
impressed with Wyck, 52, especially considering the fact that
he was able to garner support from across the state and
convince other lawyers of his "integrity and leadership" to
become the president of the State Bar of Arizona in 1997.
He also said Van Wyck has a broad law experience that
includes both civil and criminal cases. Van Wyck has been in
Flagstaff for more than 14 years. He graduated from law school
in Maine in 1978.
Van Wyck grew up in Cave Creek and worked in Nogales as a
Santa Cruz County deputy district attorney. He later moved to
Flagstaff to open a private practice. He and his wife, Pamela,
have two daughters and two sons.
"Bob is a man who's very, very well-respected by the local
bar," Coker said. "And he's in a position to be able to assume
the responsibilities fairly quickly."
He said Van Wyck will be sworn in Tuesday, Aug. 17, at 4:30
p.m. and will begin hearing cases Wednesday. He will suspend
his law practice while he serves as a temporary judge.
A committee made up of community members -- four men and
four women -- screened 18 applicants and recommended four
finalists to the superior court judges.
"It was a very well-rounded committee," Coker said. "It was
diverse and a good group."
The judges interviewed the four and chose Van Wyck.
Coker said the judges did not participate in the initial
screening. He said the names of the committee members and the
other three finalists would not be released.
Flournoy began his suspension June 25 after the Commission
on Judicial Conduct determined that his actions, ranging from
outbursts of temper to tampering with an official court
record, "demonstrate a pattern of misconduct and a consistent
lack of regard for the duties of the high position he holds."
The panel recommended an 18-month suspension to the Arizona
Supreme Judicial Court, which has not yet acted on the case.
Under state law, the suspension took effect when the
commission delivered its recommendation to the high court.
Alia Rau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or