Vanderpool, a Democrat who has been off the bench for months due to medical reasons, had originally been on the ballot even though she applied for medical retirement.
Because she was on the retention ballot, the Commission on Judicial Performance Review voted on her qualifications on June 27, three days before she retired.
According to the Arizona Capitol Times, she received low marks from attorneys who were surveyed on her performance.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported that the commission voted 23-6 to deem Vanderpool unfit for the bench, “a suggestion that would have be noted in the Secretary of State’s publicity pamphlet.” The publication also said that six out of 16 attorneys surveyed found her legal ability to be either pool or unsatisfactory and 26 percent surveyed gave her low scores under the category of “conduct that promotes public confidence in the court.”
Vanderpool, 58, is the first judge since 2008 to get such a rating.
When the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News contacted the commission, a spokeswoman said it was “kind of a nonissue” because she retired and won’t be on the ballot. Vanderpool did not return calls or emails from the News for comment.
According to the Arizona Capitol Times, she was diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands.
As many as 4 million Americans are living with this disease. Although the hallmark symptoms are dry eyes and dry mouth, Sjögren’s also causes serious complications throughout the entire body.
Vanderpool was a judge for 12 years. In her letter to Brewer, which was obtained through the governor’s office by the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News, she wrote, “It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter of resignation from the position of Pinal County Superior Court judge effective Sept. 30, 2012.”
She continued that it has been her privilege and sworn duty to act as a fair and impartial jurist. She was first elected in 2000, taking office officially on Jan. 1, 2001.
“Unfortunately, I find that due to medical issues, and on doctor’s advice, I need to retire from this position and deal with those health isues full time,” she wrote.
“Therefore, I will not seek to stand in the next retention election in 2012.”
By Christina FuocoKarasinski