Earlier this year I had the distinct pleasure of observing Gila County Superior Court proceedings under the very able judgeship of his honor, Peter J. Cahill. From the moment I made his acquaintance -- at the palatial courthouse complex on south Beeline -- he gained my immediate and utmost respect. I could not help but be genuinely impressed with the man, both for his humble, compassionate demeanor and for his firm, yet dignified, presence in the courtroom. He is indeed an "officer" and a gentleman, and someone we can all be proud of to have among our local justices.
So when I read Kelly Crowley's front page story ("Quotskuyva gets 5 years probation") and "My View" ("Everyone deserves at least a chair in court") in the Sept. 6 Roundup, with the favorable references they make to Judge Cahill, I felt a renewed sense of admiration for the man -- not only for his abundant patience and utterly professional and cordial attitude he displays toward all who appear before him in court, regardless of their standing or status; but also for his unflappably good nature and long-suffering attitude about having to hold court and conduct his legal affairs as judge (when he is not in Globe) in a wholly inadequate and outmoded facility such as the one we, the citizens of northern Gila County, have imposed on him and the other justices.
Kelly's impressions of the cramped courtroom and its immediate surroundings aptly describe and echo my own when I first entered the crowded parking lot and walked into the tiny lobby and narrow corridors to attend trial two to three days a week (as part of my paralegal internship) in Superior Court. Oddly, the adjacent justice court, where the low-level, non-jury cases are heard, has a jury box and ample seating -- and frankly "looks" more like a courtroom -- while the Superior Court is small, spartan and not nearly so accommodating. Despite these and other inconveniences there is the ongoing infelicity of having a "split" Gila County with its bipolar justice system that forces everyone (including the judges) to shuttle back and forth between Payson and Globe -- an undue burden that needs to be addressed and rectified, soon.
Payson has a new and excellent library facility. Good, because we sorely needed it. Now let's focus on getting ourselves a better court facility. As Judge Cahill said, we deserve better.
Paul Ramirez, Payson