Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael Ryan died late Monday. He was 66.
Ryan was appointed to the Supreme Court in May 2002 by Gov. Jane Hull. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One for more than five years, and as a Judge of the Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County for more than 10 years.
As a trial judge, Ryan presided over a number of high-profile cases on the Maricopa County Superior Court, including AzScam, the Phoenix Suns' drug case and the criminal trial of Gov. Evan Mecham, the first criminal trial in Arizona with "gavel to gavel" television and radio coverage. Prior to becoming a judge, Ryan was deputy county attorney in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, where he served in the major felony bureau and the office's sex crimes unit.
Ryan received his B.A. degree from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, in 1967. After college, he served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry platoon commander from 1967 to 1969. He received a medical retirement because of wounds received in combat in Vietnam and was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with a Combat "V" for heroism in combat.
Ryan came to Arizona in 1970 and later obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from Arizona State University Law School in 1977.
In retirement, Ryan continued to serve Arizona. He was appointed by the chief justice as chair of the Arizona Supreme Court's Arizona Regulation Committee and the Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee.
Throughout his career, Ryan served on numerous charitable and professional boards. From 1974 through 2000, Ryan and his wife cared for more than 80 high risk infants prior to their placement for adoption or return to their birth parent or parents.
Ryan is survived by his wife Karen, three sons and two grandchildren.
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