Hon. Wyatt Palmer

Hon. Wyatt Palmer

Wyatt James Palmer was born in Graham county to a long line of farming families, where he developed a love of the land and learned to work hard. He attended Thatcher High School, graduated in 1971, spent two years in Illinois, and then married Dawn Smith in December 1973. They expect to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in December 2023. Their three children are married and have between them 13 grandchildren for Wyatt and Dawn.

Prior Experience

In January 1975, Wyatt became a Police officer for the City of Safford, and a year later was lured to Thatcher Police by Chief Jim Mullenaux. During this time, he also began attending EAC and transferred to ASU, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation, he returned to police service in Graham County. Altogether, he was a police officer from Jan. 1975 through May 1985.

Mr. Palmer started an electronic security company in 1978, and acted as President / CEO in the organization until 2004. This experience developed his interest in Business and Contracts, which later proved useful as a business attorney with practical experience. In addition, he has formed and served as president or CEO of 4 Arizona corporations and three sole-proprietorships, was a licensed private investigator, a certified court process server, a member of the Thatcher Fire department (15 years), an active member of Graham County Search and Rescue (5 years), and was a mountain-qualified search pilot for the Civil Air Patrol (10 years) where he also flew sorties for Customs, DEA, and Border Patrol, along with the standard Air Force searches for lost hikers and airplanes across Arizona.

Law Background

In 2001 Mr. Palmer entered law school in Michigan. He completed the 3-year law program in 20 months and returned to the Gila Valley where he clerked for Judge Holt in the Graham County Superior Court for 4 months at which time he received his Juris Doctorate and then worked for another local attorney. After passing the Arizona Bar, Mr. Palmer defended indigent clients accused of crimes and transitioned into private practice, taking cases in Family Law, Private Property rights, Collections, Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Business/Contracts, as well as acquiring contracts with the cities of Clifton, Pima, Safford, Thatcher, and Willcox, as their Criminal Prosecutor.

In November of 2010, Judge Palmer was elected as Justice of the Peace in Graham County (also referred to as Pima Justice Court). In January 2011, Judge Palmer began serving in the position of Judge and was re-elected for a second term beginning Jan. 2015. JP#2, hears cases from the 20th Ave line in Safford, west to the county line near Globe. Click here for a map of JP districts.

In Sept. 2011, he was elected by other judges to serve on the Arizona Justice of the Peace Association’s Board of Directors and has been re-elected to that board each year since.

In November 2011, he was elected to be Graham County’s representative to Arizona Association of Counties advisory board, which monitors legislation that may affect Graham County, its employees and/or citizens, and then re-elected to that position in 2013, stepping down at the end of that term.

In 2014, he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court to serve on the state committee on “Domestic Violence & the Courts” and then re-appointed to that committed again in 2017.

He is a member in good standing with the Arizona State Bar.

Justice Court administers the affairs and hears cases in eight areas of law;

  • Civil Traffic
  • Criminal Traffic
  • Criminal Misdemeanors
  • Criminal Felonies (through the Preliminary Hearing)
  • Civil cases (contracts / injuries / collections / etc), up to $10,000.
  • Small claims, (less formal civil cases) up to $3,500.
  • Evictions
  • Protective Orders

Application of Experience;

As an attorney, Judge Palmer gained experience in all eight areas of Justice Court service. From his experience, Judge Palmer believes;

  • Each case and its ruling should strictly comply with the Statutes and Arizona case law.
  • That each party has a right to present their best legal argument (with or without an attorney) and that the argument should be presented to a judge that understands the legal issues.
  • That by having both defense and prosecution experience, and that by having litigation experience in civil law, he is in a unique position to;

               1.  Protect the rights of those in court,
               2.  To understand the arguments presented, and
               3.  To make findings consistent with established law, and
               4.  To make JP#2, a fair and open court for all litigants.