President Barack Obama has nominated the presiding Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for Arizona.
Judge James Alan Soto will join five other White House judicial nominees who are awaiting confirmation in the Senate.
Soto has served in Santa Cruz County Superior Court since 2001.
He was president and a shareholder in a Nogales law firm from 1992 to 2001.
Soto was a part-time Patagonia town attorney from 1975 until the early 1990s.
The Arizona State University graduate also had stints as a part-time Nogales deputy city attorney and a part-time deputy Santa Cruz County Attorney.
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The body of 14-year-old April Milsap was found last week near a trail in the Detroit suburb of Armada. She had last been seen walking in that area.