Arizona Supreme Court Presiding Disciplinary Judge William J. O’Neil of Casa Grande has announced he’ll retire this year after his successor is chosen.
O’Neil said at the time of his February announcement: “I am grateful for the many opportunities I have been given to serve the courts, the public, and this profession. I have been blessed to be able to safely moor myself to the steady rocks of my wife, family, friends, and colleagues.
“They all remain the proverbial wind beneath my wings. How wonderful it has been for this rural kid born and raised in Casa Grande, to have worked so closely with seven different chief justices over the last 30 years.”
O’Neil was appointed to the then-newly created statewide judgeship in 2010, where he has overseen a three-member panel adjudicating attorney discipline, reinstatement, and disability cases.
He was a Pinal County Superior Court judge from 1991 to 2010, presiding over the Juvenile Court from 1992 to 2003, the Superior Court from 2001 to 2005, and was presiding county civil judge from 2007 to 2010.
O’Neil has been at the forefront of many court innovations, chairing or sitting on numerous boards, commissions, task forces, and forums.
He created one of the first Domestic Violence Court programs in the United States, co-chaired the Supreme Court Committee to Study Family Court, chaired the Committee on Juvenile Court, and as chairman of Project Passport he helped standardize protective orders across Arizona and the United States.
O’Neil has been a faculty member for more than 100 legal seminars and conferences and keynote speaker for more than 50 conferences and forums, as well as a frequent adjunct professor, guest lecturer, mock high school trial judge, and participant in the national We the People program.
Chief Justice Robert Brutinel said in February that “Judge O’Neil’s experience as a trial judge and Pinal County presiding judge was critical to successfully establishing the office of Presiding Disciplinary Judge. Judge O’Neil set a standard for efficiency and fairness that creates a benchmark for the Presiding Disciplinary Judges to come, he said.”
O’Neil graduated from Casa Grande Union High School in 1969 and has volunteered for many organizations around the county including United Way, Heart Association, the foundations of Central Arizona College, Casa Grande Rotary, and CGUHS; he coached and refereed in several youth leagues.