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Prosecutor Hochuli named to Juvenile Court bench

Becoming a Pima County Juvenile Court commissioner was a natural progression for Peter W. Hochuli.

Hochuli was a contract defense attorney in Juvenile Court for eight years before signing on at the Pima County Attorney’s Office as a Juvenile Court prosecutor, where he worked for 12 years and supervised the unit.

“There was only one other place to go,” Hochuli said.

Hochuli was seated as a commissioner Monday at Juvenile Court, 2225 E. Ajo Way.

“I wanted to get into the decision-making part on the judicial side,” said Hochuli, 52, who has an undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in sociology and juvenile corrections. He earned his law degree from the University of Arizona in 1980.

Hochuli has learned a lot over the years about how different jurisdictions handle youthful offenders.

“Locally, we do some phenomenal things,” Hochuli said. “I love being a part of the willingness of people who look at making positive changes.”

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said Hochuli will be missed.

“The reason he was picked for the bench is that he did such a great job,” LaWall said.

“He’s provided great leadership in the area of juvenile justice,” LaWall said. “His absence leaves a hole in my office, but he’s going to be a great asset to the bench.”

Hochuli moved to Tucson with his family at age 4 from Port Washington, Wis. He and his wife of 28 years, Nancy, a substitute teacher, have four children.

Hochuli’s father is a retired lawyer. His brother, Daniel J. Hochuli, is Sahuarita’s town attorney and another brother, Edward G. Hochuli, is an attorney in Phoenix.

“Ed’s more known to people because he spends his Sunday afternoons as an NFL referee,” Peter Hochuli said.

With a sister who works as a paralegal, Hochuli said, “family gatherings are boring – at least that’s what the spouses say.”

Hochuli’s new job might change things slightly at the next reunion.

“I’ll let them call me ‘judge,’ ” Hochuli said, laughing.

Hochuli replaces retired Commissioner and Judge Pro-Tem Elizabeth Peasley-Fimbres.

At Juvenile Court, commissioners and judges have the same duties. Commissioners are appointed by the presiding judge; judges are appointed by the governor. Voters choose “yes” or “no” on the judges’ retention in elections.

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