Community activist named new city magistrate The Chandler Arizonan

Community activist named new city magistrate

Community activist named new city magistrate
Community
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By COLLEEN SPARKS

Managing Editor

A passionate Chandler community advocate with an extensive judicial background is excited to be working in his new position as presiding city magistrate for Chandler Municipal Court.

David Fuller, who has lived in Chandler for nearly 18 years, took the reins in the court on June 3.

Born on the south side of Chicago, Fuller received his law degree from DePaul University College of Law in that city and has spent 30 years in the legal profession.

Fuller, 55, replaced Michael Traynor, who retired on June 21 after working as Chandler’s presiding city magistrate for the last 34 years.

“I am thrilled,” Fuller said. “I think my background is ideal for it and I’m entirely invested in our community. I have nothing but love for Chandler. I wanna keep us going in the right direction.

“Judge Traynor has been a wonderful leader and I hope to continue his path of excellence. I’ve been involved in a lot of different things here. The community is just perfect for us. It’s been great to my wife and me and my kids.”

He came to the Chandler court after having worked as the assistant director of the Office of Court Appointed Attorneys, of public defenders, for Phoenix since 2014.

For most of the time he worked in Phoenix, Fuller also served as the liaison for Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court.

Once a month the court is conducted in downtown Phoenix and other locations for homeless people to resolve outstanding minor, victimless, misdemeanor offenses and warrants.

The defendants are diverted to the court if they are committed to ending their homelessness, though outcomes can include punishment as well as treatment and services in supervised, rigorous rehabilitation programs.

“I used to refer to that as my favorite court docket of the month,” Fuller said. “There’s a lot of success stories. A lot of people who have risen out of their situation and they did it.”

Often the homeless people who went through the court system owed money and would perform community work that would “greatly exceed what they owed,” he added.

Fuller, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in economics from Northern Illinois University, began his career as a county public defender.

“My best friend moved out here while I was in college,” he said. “I just fell in love with Arizona.”

Fuller worked for five years for the county, but was “lured back” to Illinois as a trial attorney at a personal injury firm. After some time, he was asked to create, open and operate a satellite office and met his wife, who is a judge in Tempe.

Fuller was offered a partnership with the law firm and agreed, but was torn because he knew if he became a partner at the firm there he would not get back to Arizona until he retired some day. He signed an agreement for the partnership but then decided not to go through with it.

“I said, ‘I’m really sorry,’” Fuller said. “I tore up the agreement. I told him I felt I wouldn’t get back to Arizona until I retired.”

He moved back to Arizona and went back to work for the county before becoming assistant town prosecutor for the Town of Gilbert. He worked in that position for about two years.

Fuller saw benefits to working as a defense attorney and as a prosecutor.

“I like them both because there’s a balance to the law that you have to have,” he said. “Having done both sides and personal injury and other types of law, it gives me a really broad-based perspective for this position.”

Fuller opened up his own law firm, which he ran for about 15 years. His wife, Tara Fuller, was a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office prosecutor and after they had their second child, she joined her husband’s firm.

David then became assistant director of the Office of Court Appointed Attorneys for Phoenix, keeping that position for nearly six years.

“It was a bigger city,” David said. “I personally like the size of Chandler much, much better. This is just an unbelievably wonderful place. It’s my community, it’s my home. It’s where I was very involved.”

He served as a coach and then a manager and board member for Chandler American Little League for many years while his son, Michael, 17, was playing baseball. When Michael got too old to play in Little League, David became an umpire.

David also volunteers with Chandler-Tullamore Sister Cities, an organization that aims to cultivate and keep a strong, reciprocal relationship between Chandler and Tullamore, Ireland to encourage cultural understanding, community involvement, educational exchanges and economic development.

Both their children — daughter Sarah is 18 — were ambassadors for the Sister Cities program. Sarah visited Tullamore, Ireland and Michael is going there this year.

The Fullers also have hosted Tullamore exchange students.

David is also a big support of ICAN, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower youths to be productive, self-confident and responsible members of the community.

The new magistrate also volunteers with Special Olympics Arizona.

Previously he also was a volunteer for the East Valley Regional Veterans Court, which tries to restore veterans to being successful, contributing members of the community by focusing on ensuring veterans in the criminal justice system get connected with programs to assist them. In the past David served on the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice Board of Directors.

David is active in the Arizona Celtic Bar Association as both his parents were from Ireland. About a year ago he graduated from Valley Leadership, an organization that offers a year-long program designed to empower, leverage and mobilize leaders to impact important issues Arizona faces.

“It was very impactful to me,” David said. “It gives you a big, broad base of knowledge for the entire Valley, from water needs to criminal justice needs, social service needs.”

David and his family foster dogs and he volunteers with One Dog Arizona, a dog rescue organization.

He is excited to be in his new position as Chandler magistrate.

“One of the reasons is at this stage you can really impact people’s paths,” David said. “If they are unfortunate enough to have to go through the criminal justice system we’re in a good position to give them the resources they need to better their lives. You can really be a positive force for their lives.”

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke called him “a tremendous asset to the City Council and to our community.”

“He brings a wealth of judicial experience and a true passion for Chandler and the position of City Magistrate,” Hartke said. “I look forward to working with him well into the future on matters important to the City and our residents.”

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