Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery nominated by Gov. Ducey to State Supreme Court

Bill Montgomery

Republican Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is getting a spot on the Arizona Supreme Court.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Wednesday that he's appointing the controversial prosecutor to the state's high court over fierce opposition from civil rights advocates and criminal justice reformers.

Montgomery is Ducey's fifth appointment to the seven-justice court, which has wide-ranging authority to shape life in Arizona through its interpretation of state laws including business regulations, election rules and criminal codes.

Montgomery drew support from his fellow Republicans who said he's shown courage making difficult decisions as the top prosecutor in the nation's fourth-largest county. His critics say he's been hostile to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They also say he's a barrier to efforts to reform criminal sentences, which have gained traction elsewhere.

The nomination came just a day after a law firm representing Jodi Arias filed an ethics complaint against Montgomery and prosecutor Juan Martinez, accusing Martinez of going on a speaking circuit, making money and gaining fame off his role as the prosecutor in Arias' murder trial while the case was still pending, and accusing Montgomery of failing to exercise his ethical duty to prevent ethical misconduct by others at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, and violating his duties by authorizing Martinez to publish a book on the Arias trial.

The book, titled "Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars", was published in 2016.

Montgomery issued a statement Tuesday night in response to the ethics complaints.

Political agendas and special interests should not be allowed to have a place when it comes to the ethical responsibilities of a prosecutor. I await a full and timely review of these inaccurate claims that have been previously reviewed and found to be without merit.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report