YUMA, Ariz. – Former Yuma County Superior Court Judge Richard Warren Donato died Friday evening.
According to Donato’s wife, Dr. Connie Uribe, the judge had complications with a liver transplant he received almost 24 years ago.
Donato served almost 20 years on the bench before his retirement at the end of 2008. Donato was elected to the Superior Court in November of 2004. He was appointed as justice of the peace on May 1, 1989. Bill Steen retired and the appointment took place, then Donato was re-elected to the position four more times.
Before he was a judge, Donato was a prosecutor with the Yuma County Attorney’s Office for three years. He also served 10 years as the city of Yuma’s prosecutor. Donato attended Arizona State University on an academic scholarship and graduated in 1970. After serving in the U.S. Army, Donato returned to Arizona State University where he went to law school, graduating in 1975. While attending law school, Donato worked as an investigator for the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office, and he also served as a reserve deputy for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for many years.