Philip Espinosa

Judge Philip G. Espinosa, Class of 1970
Judge and Community Leader

Judge Espinosa is a native Tucsonan and a sixth generation descendant of a pioneer Tucson family dating back to 1817. While a student at Tucson High, he put his piano and singing talents to use as a professional musician in a local band to help augment his family’s modest income. He later toured and recorded with the band while putting himself through school at the U of A where he earned degrees in Music Composition and Law. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tucson, conducting hundreds of trials and was named Deputy Chief of the criminal division in 1990 to 2004. He has served on the Arizona Judicial Council, the Arizona Judicial Performance Review Commission, the Supreme Court Commission on Technology and the Arizona Judges Association. He also chaired the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct. Many of the appellate opinions he authored have been on the cutting edge of the law, particularly in the areas of admissibility of DNA evidence in court and victims’ rights. He played an active role in moving the appeals court into the 21st century of automated information systems. He is committed to educating young people about courts and the judicial system. He is active in many community projects and youth organizations, including APEX early outreach program and he has been a volunteer judge for Pima County Teen Court since its 1995 inception. He serves on several community boards, including the Tucson Boys Chorus and the Tucson Pops Orchestra. Phil has received numerous commendations professionally and personally, including the U.S. Attorney General’s Award for Prosecution of Public Corruption, special recognition by both the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI for outstanding contributions to the District of Arizona, the APEX Volunteer of the Year Award, the Old Pueblo Award for Outstanding Community Service, commendation by the Arizona Supreme Court for instituting significant technological advances in court automation, and a national award from ASCAP for Credo the third movement of his composition of a contemporary setting of the Roman Catholic liturgy.