sipeKingman native Billy Sipe is grabbing the gavel with gusto. The attorney who has specialized in criminal defense work since 1988 is both humbled and thrilled by his appointment as Mohave County Superior Court Commissioner. Judge Sipe inherits a busy calendar that includes a full discretion felony sentencing hearing his first day on the job and a jury trial the next week. “This is going to be beyond baptism by fire and that excites me,” Sipe said, noting need of preparation. “What I’ve been doing is watching Court, going to Court, taking notes, talking to the judges and making scripts because on January 5th, I’m going to be handling cases,” Sipe said. “I guarantee you that I’ll be prepared as much as any judge could ever be prepared for every single hearing.” While gearing up to ascend the bench, Sipe has also been busy shutting down a thriving legal practice. “It breaks my heart that I’m closing my office down, it really does,” Sipe said. “But after 26 years I’m motivated to do something different, to learn something different and to serve the community in a different capacity.” Sipe said becoming a judge will round out his legal career as he transitions from an advocate to a decision maker. He said he is intrigued by the challenge of being consistent with sentencing and punishment while exercising the proper amount of flexibility given varying case circumstances. Sipe said his judicial metamorphosis began when his selection and appointment was announced December 4th. “Most of the time when people see me and congratulate me they refer to me as ‘judge’ and ‘your honor’, and yes, that’s a little bit awkward,” Sipe said. He said his private practice work ethic goes with him to the bench. “I’ve always been a workaholic and I’m really looking forward to getting to work,” Sipe said. “Judge Conn is probably right now the hardest working judge that we have and I’m going to give him a run for his money.”