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PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has unanimously selected county Assessor Keith Russell to fill the East Mesa justice of the peace vacancy.

Russell will fill the seat left vacant after Mark Chiles resigned amid shoplifting accusations in April. His resignation became effective on May 31.

Justices of the peace handle criminal and civil cases including traffic violations, small claims and restraining orders.

The Arizona Republic reported 17 people vied for the job that pays more than $101,000 a year.

Russell's annual salary as assessor is $76,600. He was elected assessor in 2004.

By statute, Chiles' replacement needed to be a Republican from the East Mesa Justice Court District.

Associated Press,

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