ASU Law School Alumni Confirmed to Serve on Federal Bench

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The United States Senate confirmed four graduates of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona—ASU College of Law Professor Diane Humetewa, ’93, John Joseph Tuchi, ’94, Douglas L. Rayes, ’78, and James A. Soto, ’71. President Barack Obama nominated them to the bench last year.  

Douglas Sylvester, Dean of the College of Law, praised the confirmations: “As a public law school dedicated to furthering the public good of Arizona and the nation, we are extremely gratified that four of our graduates have been confirmed,” Sylvester said. “Their lifelong dedication to public service will serve as an example for our students, and we are so proud to be able to call them alumni of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“We are particularly pleased that the Senate confirmed one of our most distinguished Native American alumni. We are proud that in this, the 26th year of our preeminent Indian Legal Program, one of its graduates will be the first Native American woman to serve in the federal judiciary. As the law school named after the country’s first female Supreme Court Justice, the honor is even more fitting.”

Professor Humetewa currently serves as ASU’s Special Advisor to President for American Indian Affairs – a post she was appointed to in 2011 – and Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at ASU.

She is a member of the Hopi Indian Tribe and, from 2002 to 2007, was an Appellate Court Judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court. From 2009 to 2011, Humetewa was Of Counsel with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP. She worked in the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona from 1996 to 2009, serving as Senior Litigation Counsel from 2001 to 2007 and as the United States Attorney from 2007 to 2009.

During her tenure in the United States Attorney’s Office, Humetewa also served as Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General from 1996 to 1998. From 1993 to 1996, she was Deputy Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Humetewa received her J.D. in 1993 from ASU College of Law and her B.S. in 1987 from ASU.

John Joseph Tuchi has been an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Arizona since 1998.  He currently serves as Chief Assistant United States Attorney in the office and previously served as Interim United States Attorney in 2009, Senior Litigation Counsel and Tribal Liaison from 2009 to 2012, and as Chief of the Criminal Division from 2006 to 2009. 

Tuchi also worked as an associate at the law firm of Brown & Bain, P.A. from 1995 to 1998.  He began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge William C. Canby of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Tuchi received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1994 from Arizona State University College of Law, his M.S. in 1989 from the University of Arizona, and his B.S. in 1987 from West Virginia University. 

Judge Douglas L. Rayes has served as a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge since 2000.  During his tenure on the bench, Judge Rayes has presided over a wide range of cases, including civil, criminal, and family law matters. 

Before becoming a judge, Judge Rayes was a partner at the law firms of Tryon, Heller & Rayes from 1989 to 2000; McGroder, Tryon, Heller & Rayes from 1986 to 1989; and McGroder, Tryon, Heller, Rayes & Berch from 1984 to 1986.  From 1982 to 1984, he was an associate at McGroder, Pearlstein, Pepler & Tryon.  Judge Rayes served in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps from 1979 to 1982.  He received his J.D. cum laude in 1978 from Arizona State University College of Law and his B.S.E. summa cum laude in 1975 from Arizona State University. 

Judge James Alan Soto currently serves as the Presiding Superior Court Judge in Santa Cruz County, Arizona—a court on which he has served since 2001.  From 1992 to 2001, Judge Soto was president and a shareholder of Soto, Martin and Coogan, P.C.; from 1979 to 1992, he was in private practice in various law partnerships; from 1976 to 1979, he was a sole practitioner; and from 1975 to 1976, he worked in the Law Offices of Nasib Karam. 

Additionally, Judge Soto worked as a part-time Town Attorney in Patagonia, Arizona from 1975 until approximately 1992; as a part-time Deputy City Attorney in the Office of the Nogales City Attorney from 1975 until approximately 1983; and as a part-time Deputy County Attorney for the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office in 1979.  He received his J.D. in 1975 from Arizona State University College of Law and his B.S. in 1971 from Arizona State University.


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