Meet La Paz County Superior Court Presiding Judge Samuel Vederman
La Paz County Superior Court Presiding Judge Samuel Vederman has only been on the bench since December 2012, but he is already working to improve case flow management for the court, making time to give back to his community, and helping to strengthen families during dependency cases.
Judge Vederman, a former prosecutor, private practice attorney and county attorney was appointed to his position by Governor Jan Brewer because of his strong legal background, managerial skills, integrity and evenhandedness.
Everything is different as a judge than a prosecutor," Judge Vederman said. "I'm the last line of decision-making on these cases and ultimately I have to decide what is best for these children. They are difficult decisions, because taking a child away from parents is very serious and requires a great deal of thought."
In La Paz County Superior Court, Judge Vederman is the only judge, so he hears a variety of cases, including dependency and delinquency cases.
"It's only a short time that I have worked with Judge Vederman, but it feels like he has been a part of our CASA family for years," said CASA of La Paz County Program Coordinator Sativa Castellucci.
"He jumped in with both feet, helping and learning. He wants to support our volunteers and the CASA program."
Judge Vederman also appreciates the work that Castellucci does for the CASA of La Paz County program.
"I couldn't do it without her," he said. "She is phenomenal with getting everything done and the CASA volunteers do a fantastic job of keeping me informed on cases."
Recently, Judge Vederman participated in his community's annual "Youth Day" where local high school youth come out and take on a specific job for a morning. One teen took on Judge Vederman's role and held a mock swearing in of new public officials, who were represented by other high school students. When he was the county attorney, Judge Vederman played a key role in creating the Substance Abuse/Drug Court program in La Paz County, where he collaborated with the Adult Probation Department and the Clerk of the Superior Court. Today, one of his areas of focus is improving case flow management.
"Victims want resolution; dependency cases shouldn't drag on; juveniles in delinquency cases need swift and certain decision making if they've done something wrong," Judge Vederman said. "If youth are delinquent, then they need to have the consequences in a reasonable amount of time to take corrective action to hopefully help them in the future."
Judge Vederman also believes in helping families become stronger through his work in dependency cases.
"The children are most important, but whatever we can do to help parents become better parents and responsible parents, we need to be doing as well," he said. "Since I've been here, I've tried to do as much as I can to make sure the parents have had the best opportunity to get their children back, if it can be done."
He added, "I would not hesitate to sever or terminate the rights of a parent though, because the child's safety is paramount."
When he's not on the bench, Judge Vederman stays involved with community service projects with the Rotary Club. Recently, the club spent a day outside cleaning a highway. Judge Vederman volunteers with La Paz County's yearly off-road races and helps raise scholarships for high school students. He is also a bicycle rider who enjoys the outdoors.
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