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President Obama nominated candidates to fill two federal judgeships in Tucson, Ariz., including the seat left vacant when John Roll, chief judge for the District of Arizona, was killed in a mass shooting. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Zipps of Tucson would fill Roll’s judgeship. Roll was one of six people killed on Jan. 8 during a shooting spree in a grocery store parking lot. Fourteen people were wounded, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot in the head. Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect, pleaded not guilty to numerous federal charges and recently was found incompetent to stand trial. Obama nominated Rosemary Márquez, a defense lawyer in Tucson, to fill a judgeship left vacant when U.S. District Judge Frank Zapata took senior status on Aug. 3, 2010. The District of Arizona, which faces a flood of immigration and drug smuggling cases, has the third highest criminal caseload in the country, with filings up by 65 percent since 2008. Most of those cases end up in Tucson, where three judges have been handling about 1,200 cases each. Earlier this year, Chief Judge Roslyn Silver, who sits in Phoenix, declared a judicial emergency within the district, which allowed the court to extend the time in which criminal defendants must go to trial from 70 days to a maximum of 180 days. Soon after the shooting, Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, called upon Congress to confirm judges for the district. The court is authorized for 12 permanent and one temporary judgeship and at present has three vacancies, including the two in Tucson. Visiting judges from other courts have been helping to manage the caseload. Zipps was appointed to the federal bench in 2005. Before that, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Arizona, serving as chief of the civil division in 2002 and Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney from 2002 to 2005. Before becoming a federal prosecutor in 1999, Zipps was an associate at the former Molloy, Jones & Donahue in Tucson from 1991 until 1995. Márquez has been a solo practitioner specializing in criminal defense since 2000. From 1996 until 2000, she served as an assistant federal public defender for the District of Arizona. She was a public defender for Pima County, Ariz., from 1994 to 1996, and began her career as a prosecutor in the Pima County Attorney’s Office, handling domestic violence cases.

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