Cochise County will have a new Presiding Superior Court Judge on January 1, 2024, and on January 1, 2025, it will have a new Division Four Superior Court Judge.
Judge Tim Dickerson will complete his term as Presiding Judge at the end of this year. The new Presiding Judge will be the Honorable David Thorn, Superior Court Judge, Division Three. Judge Dickerson has announced that he will retire effective December 31, 2024, after 22 years of service to the Judicial Branch, which will create a vacancy in Division Four of the Cochise County Superior Court.
Judge Dickerson was appointed to the Superior Court on March 1, 2019, and he later became the Associate Presiding Judge. On January 1, 2021, he was appointed Presiding Superior Court Judge.
Prior to his appointment to the Superior Court, Judge Dickerson served for 16 years as the Sierra Vista Justice of the Peace and Municipal Magistrate, where he demonstrated his leadership skills and commitment to the courts and our community. Judge Dickerson served two terms as the Presiding Cochise County Justice of the Peace and in 2014 was named Justice of the Peace of the Year by the Arizona Justice of the Peace Association. He has served on numerous Arizona Supreme Court committees. Judge Dickerson practiced law in Sierra Vista for 16 years before becoming a judge and prior to that he served for three years in the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps at Fort Huachuca.
Judge Thorn was elected to the Cochise County Superior Court in 2019. During his tenure he was appointed Cochise County Superior Court Associate Presiding Judge. Prior to becoming a judge, he was a Deputy County Attorney in Maricopa County and Chief Trial Counsel at the Cochise County Public Defender's Office.
Judge Thorn was born in Yuma, grew up in Phoenix and moved to Cochise County in 2001; he is a fourth-generation Arizona native. He attended Arizona State University and received his Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law. He is married to the Cochise County Attorney's Chief Criminal Deputy Lori Zucco and has two daughters. He enjoys traveling, cooking, golfing, and hiking.
Cochise County Superior Court Judge Joel A. Larson will be appointed Associate Presiding Judge, effective January 1, 2024. He will also serve as Presiding Criminal Judge. Judge Larson was elected to the Cochise County Superior Court in 2023, following his tenure as the Cochise County Legal Defender.
Judge Larson is a 1996 graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, he was admitted to the State Bar of Arizona that same year. In 1999, he joined the Office of the Cochise County Legal Defender, handling juvenile delinquency and felony matters. After two years with the County, he went into private practice for four and a half years and focused on a wide-ranging caseload including criminal, appellate, juvenile, domestic, and federal.
He returned to the Office of the Legal Defender in 2005, handling numerous felony trial and appellate cases. Eventually, he became the department head of that office for over ten years, overseeing administrative matters, as well as taking on a regular caseload. Judge Larson looks forward to working with stakeholders and constituents, advancing the effort to improve the overall efficiency and responsiveness of the Court.
The Presiding Superior Court Judge has administrative responsibility over all the judges in the County and the probation and judicial staff. The Presiding Judge is appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court. The new Division Four Superior Court Judge will be selected by the voters in the 2024 election.