Prior to his appointment as Presiding City Magistrate, he served as a judge in the Phoenix Municipal Court for nineteen years. He also has worked as a Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, as an Assistant City Prosecutor for the Phoenix City Prosecutor's Office, and was in private practice.
Judge Tafoya has been a member of the Arizona State Bar since 1975, a member of the Los Abogados Hispanic Lawyers Association since 1976, and a member of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association since 2001. He is a Founding Member of the Minority Judges Caucus.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science/Economics from Northern Arizona University. Judge Tafoya was awarded his Juris Doctorate by Arizona State University College of Law.