Hon. Wyatt Palmer

Hon. Wyatt Palmer

Wyatt James Palmer was born in Graham county to a long line of farming families, where he learned to work hard and developed a love of the land and outdoors. He attended Thatcher High School, graduated in 1971, spent two years in Illinois, and then married Dawn Smith in December 1973 (currently married for 38 years). Of their three children, one son resides with his family in Pima.

In January 1975 he became a Police officer for the City of Safford, and a year later was lured to Thatcher Police by Chief Jim Mulleneaux. During this time he also began attending EAC, where he earned an academic scholarship. From Sep 1977 through Dec 1978, Officer Palmer attended ASU, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice, and thereafter returned to police service in Graham County. He was the first local police officer to acquire a Bachelor of Science degree. All together, 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, and certified court process server from 1985 to 2001, a member of the Thatcher Fire department for 15 years, an active member of Graham County Search and Rescue, and was a mountain-qualified search pilot for the Civil Air Patrol for 10 years, where he flew sorties for Customs, DEA, and Border patrol, along with the standard Air Force searches for lost hikers and airplanes across Arizona and New Mexico.

In 2001 Mr. Palmer entered law school in Michigan, where he earned a Jurist Doctorate Degree in law. He completing the 3-year law program there in 20 months. Upon returning to the Gila Valley, he clerked for Judge Holt in the Graham County Superior Court for 4 months, and then for another local attorney. After passing the Arizona Bar, Mr. Palmer went into defending Indigent clients accused of crimes, and thereafter transitioned into private practice, taking cases in Domestic (divorce) law, Private Property rights, Collections, Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts), Business/Contracts, as well as acquiring contracts with the cities of Willcox, Clifton, Pima, Thatcher, and Safford, as their Criminal Prosecutor.

In November of 2010, Judge Palmer was elected, as Justice of the Peace to Justice Court #2 of Graham County (also referred to as Pima Justice Court). JP#2, hears cases from the 20th Ave line in Safford, west to the county line near Globe. (Map of JP2 coming soon).

In January 2011, Judge Palmer began serving in the position of Judge. In Sept. 2011, he was elected by other judges to serve on the Arizona Justice of the Peace Association, Board of Directors. 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. He is a member in good standing with the Arizona State Bar and is a member of the Bar’s section committees for; Criminal Law, Business Law, and Trial Practice.

As a JP Judge, Judge Palmer administers the affairs and hears cases in;

  • Civil Traffic
  • Criminal Traffic
  • Criminal Misdemeanors
  • Criminal Felonies (through the Preliminary Hearing stage)
  • Civil cases (contracts / injuries / collections / etc), up to $10,000 each
  • Small claims, (less formal civil cases) up to $2,500.
  • Evictions
  • Protective Orders

Application of Experience:

Judge Palmer worked in all of the JP areas of service as an attorney, before being elected to the bench. With his experience in these areas, Judge Palmer believes;

  • Each case and its ruling should not only strictly comply with the Statutes, but also with Arizona and U.S. case law which helps define and interpret the statues.
  • That each party has a right to present their best legal argument (with or without an attorney) and for that argument to be understood by the judge, in legal terms, in detail, even if the court must perform its own legal research into the Arguments and Motions presented.
  • That by having both defense and prosecution experience in Criminal cases, and that by having litigation experience on both sides of the civil law, he is in a unique position to;
    • 1. Protect the rights of those in court, and
    • 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.