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AG criminal division chief Keppel abruptly resigns

James Keppel (Photo from Maricopa County Superior Court website)

James Keppel, the head of the criminal division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, resigned his post after more than a year with the office.

Keppel, a retired Maricopa County Superior Court judge, submitted a letter of resignation on Tuesday, and Attorney General Tom Horne announced to the office that his resignation was effective the following day.

Keppel did not give a reason for his departure in his two-sentence resignation letter, and would not discuss his reasons for leaving with the Arizona Capitol Times.

“I resigned. That’s all I can really tell you. I really don’t have any comment further than that,” Keppel said.

In a memo to employees, Horne said: “Jim has decided to retire and pursue other activities. We thank Jim for his service to the state and wish him luck in any future endeavors.”

Horne spokeswoman Amy Rezzonico said Keppel’s departure wasn’t planned, but said he was “on his way to retire” when he joined the Attorney General’s Office.

Andrew Pacheco, chief counsel for the office’s financial remedies division, will be Keppel’s interim replacement.

Keppel is the former presiding criminal judge for the Maricopa County Superior Court who came out of retirement in 2010 to work for then-interim County Attorney Rick Romley. Prior to becoming a judge 1996, he served as Romley’s chief deputy at the county attorney’s office.

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