News

  • 20 Mar 2020 1:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Due to concern for the spread of COVID-19 in the general population, the Governor of the State of Arizona declared a statewide emergency pursuant to A.R.S. § 26-303 and in accordance with A.R.S. §26-301(15). On March 16, 2020, Administrative Order No. 2020-47 directed Arizona’s courts to conduct business in a manner that reduces the risk associated with this public health emergency. This order revises, clarifies and adds to that direction.

    Arizona Courts remain open to serve the public. Nevertheless, given the current emergency, and in the interest of public safety, certain limitations and changes in court practices are necessary.

    Therefore, pursuant to Article VI, Sections 3 and 5, of the Arizona Constitution,

    IT IS ORDERED that all in-person proceedings in all Arizona appellate, superior, justice and municipal courts and before the presiding disciplinary judge be avoided to the greatest extent possible consistent with core constitutional rights until further order of this court.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that empaneling of new petit juries scheduled for March 18, 2020 through April 17, 2020 be rescheduled.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the presiding superior court judge of each county shall determine how any in-person court proceedings are to be conducted in each of the county’s court rooms, under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants including:

    (a) Limiting in-person courtroom contact as much as possible by using available technologies, including alternative means of filing, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and use of email and text messages and issuing orders to reasonably ensure the health and safety of all participants.

    (b) Following CDC social distancing recommendations, considering the size of the court facility. Courts shall not schedule multiple, simultaneous hearings in a number that prevents appropriate social distancing, considering the size of the courtroom, and in no event shall a court schedule more than 10 persons at one time. Requiring all scheduled participants to notify the court of any COVID-19 symptoms or suspected exposure and to refrain from coming to the courthouse. The intent of this order is to discourage the use of large group scheduling of court hearings. However, in extraordinary circumstances, and with appropriate precautions, the presiding judge may authorize groups larger than 10 but in no event larger than 25.

    (c) Limiting any required in-person proceedings to attorneys, parties, victims, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, and other necessary persons, where necessary to maintain the recommended social distancing within a court facility, and may authorize trial judges to make reasonable orders to ensure the health and safety of hearing participants consistent with the parties’ right to due process of law.

    (d) Liberally granting continuances and additional accommodations to parties, witnesses, attorneys, jurors and others with business before the courts who are at a high risk of illness from COVID-19.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the presiding superior court judge meet as soon as possible with local criminal justice system stake holders to coordinate how best to handle criminal proceedings, including grand jury proceedings, for the duration of this health emergency.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, until further order, the presiding superior court judge of each county is authorized to adopt or suspend any local rules and orders needed to address the current public health emergency in cooperation with public health officials and to take any reasonable action that the circumstances require to enable necessary operations of the superior, justice and municipal courts in each county.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any court rule that impedes a judge’s or court clerk’s ability to use available technologies to eliminate or limit in-person contact in the conduct of court business is suspended through April 17, 2020, except such suspension is subject to constitutional requirements. Judges may hold ex parte hearings on orders of protection telephonically.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if it becomes necessary to close court offices to the public during the period of suspension, these offices shall remain accessible to the public by telephone and email during their regular business hours to the greatest extent possible, including using drop boxes for documents that cannot be e-filed.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that for the period March 18, 2020 through April 17, 2020 if a judge is unable to rule on a pending matter due to illness or is otherwise unable to work, the judge is deemed to be physically disabled and therefore that period is excluded from the calculation of the 60 days from the date of submission in which a matter must be determined under ARS § 12-128.01 or § 11-424.02.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the period March 18, 2020 through April 17, 2020:

    (a) Is excluded from calculation of time under rule provisions and statutory procedures that require court proceedings to be held within a specific period of time, including Rule 8, Rules of Criminal Procedure; Rules 17, 79 and 100, Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court; and Rules 2 and 3, Rules of Procedure in Eviction Actions. A judge, pursuant to Rule 8, may extend this exclusion of time in criminal cases, for good cause.

    (b) Is not excluded from calculation for:

    The following proceedings for persons held in-custody: initial appearances, arraignments, preliminary hearings, and conditions of release;

    Domestic violence protective proceedings;

    Child protection temporary custody proceedings;

    Civil commitment hearings and reviews;

    Emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons proceedings;

    Habeas corpus proceedings;

    COVID-19 public health emergency proceedings;

    Juvenile detention hearings; and

    Any other proceeding that is necessary to determine whether to grant emergency relief.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the clerks of the court shall continue to issue marriage licenses, and a judge may perform a marriage ceremony at the courthouse, so long as no more than 10 persons are present.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the presiding superior court judge notify court customers, the public, and the Administrative Director of all administrative orders issued under the authorization provided by this order using the most effective means available.

    Dated this 18th day of March 2020.

    ___________________________________

    ROBERT BRUTINEL

    Chief Justice


  • 17 Mar 2020 10:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Due to concern for the spread of COVID-19 in the general population, the Governor of the State of Arizona has declared a statewide emergency pursuant to A.R.S. § 26-303 and in accordance with A.R.S. §26-301(15). Although Arizona’s courts remain open for business, cooperation by the Judicial Branch is essential to reducing the risk associated with this public health emergency.

    Therefore, pursuant to Article VI, Sections 3 and 5, of the Arizona Constitution,

    IT IS ORDERED that all in-person proceedings in all Arizona appellate, superior, justice and municipal courts and before the presiding disciplinary judge be avoided to the greatest extent possible consistent with core constitutional rights until further order of this court.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that empaneling of new petit and grand juries scheduled for March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 be rescheduled.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the presiding superior court judge of each county shall determine how any in-person court proceedings are to be conducted in each of the county’s court rooms, under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants including:

    (a) Limiting in-person courtroom contact as much as possible by using available technologies, including alternative means of filing, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and use of email and text messages.

    (b) Following CDC social distancing recommendations, considering the size of the court facility. Courts shall not schedule multiple, simultaneous hearings in a number that prevents appropriate social distancing, considering the size of the courtroom and in no event shall a court schedule more than 50 persons at one time. Requiring all scheduled participants to notify the court of any COVID-19 symptoms or suspected exposure and to refrain from coming to the courthouse.

    (c) Limiting any required in-person proceedings to attorneys, parties, victims, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, and other necessary persons, where necessary to maintain the recommended social distancing within a court facility.

    (d) Liberally granting continuances and additional accommodations to parties, witnesses, attorneys, jurors and others with business before the courts who are at a high risk of illness from COVID-19.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, until further order, the presiding superior court judge of

    each county is authorized to adopt or suspend any local rules and orders needed to address the current public health emergency in cooperation with public health officials and to take any reasonable action that the circumstances require to enable necessary operations of the superior, justice and municipal courts in each county.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any court rule that impedes a judge’s or court clerk’s ability to use available technologies to eliminate or limit in-person contact in the conduct of court business is suspended through March 31, 2020, except such suspension is subject to constitutional requirements. Judges may hold ex parte hearings on orders of protection telephonically.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if it becomes necessary to close court offices to the public during the period of suspension, these offices shall remain accessible to the public by telephone and email during their regular business hours to the greatest extent possible, including using drop boxes for documents that cannot be e-filed.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that for the period March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 if a judge is unable to rule on a pending matter due to illness or is otherwise unable to work, the judge is deemed to be physically disabled and therefore that period is excluded from the calculation of the 60 days from the date of submission in which a matter must be determined under ARS §12-128.01 or §11-424.02.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that for the period March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020:

    (a) Time is excluded for the purposes of calculating time under Rule 6, Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 8, Rules of Criminal Procedure Rules 17 and 100, Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court Rules 2 and 3, Rules of Procedure in Eviction Actions and any other rule provisions or statutory procedures concerning when court proceedings are held. A judge in an appropriate case may extend this exclusion of time for good cause.

    (b) Time is not excluded for:

    Adult in-custody initial appearances, arraignments, preliminary hearings and conditions of release proceedings;

    Domestic violence protective proceedings;

    Child protection temporary custody proceedings;

    Civil commitment hearings and reviews;

    Emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons proceedings;

    Habeas corpus proceedings;

    COVID-19 public health emergency proceedings;

    Juvenile detention hearings;

    Any other proceeding that is necessary to determine whether to grant emergency relief.

    IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the presiding superior court judge notify court customers, the public, and the Administrative Director of all administrative orders issued under the authorization provided by this order using the most effective means available.

    Dated this 16th day of March, 2020.

    ___________________________________

    Robert Brutinel

    Chief Justice


  • 16 Mar 2020 1:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Use the link below to access the Arizona Judicial Council - Thursday, March 19, 2020 meeting information.

     

    https://www.azcourts.gov/ajc/Current-Meeting-Information


  • 02 Jan 2020 12:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Arizona Judicial Council

    December 2019

     

     

     

    The Arizona Judicial Council met on Thursday, December 12, 2019 at the State Courts Building. Agendas and meeting information is available at https://www.azcourts.gov/ajc/Current-Meeting-Information.

     

    The Council thanked Amy Love, Legislative Officer for her dedication and service to the Arizona Judicial Council.  She will leave the AOC at the end of the year and take a Community Relations position at the Maricopa County Superior Court.

                       2020 Meetings Dates
         Thursday, March 19, 2020 - Phoenix
         Monday, June 22, 2020 – Tucson
         Thursday, October 22, 2020 – Flagstaff
         Thursday, December 10, 2020 - Phoenix


     

    Arizona Commission on Access to Justice Update and Annual Report
    Judge Larry Winthrop, Chair of the Commission on Access to Justice summarized the 2019 Commission Annual Report and provided an update on the anticipated and continuing projects for 2020.   The Commission will continue to partner with the Public Information and Messaging Workgroup (PIM) to provide public awareness and resources in 2020 on consumer debt and debt collection actions.  In 2019, PIM took on marketing and campaign efforts for eviction actions.  The Commission will also work with the Task Force on Delivery of Legal Services on the approved recommendations to offer legal assistance at a lower cost and provide more court navigator programs.
    Judge Winthrop noted that the Commission will have a leadership change in 2020.
    The Council thanked Judge Winthrop for his many years of leadership on the Commission.

    Implementation of the Mental Health Task Force Recommendations
    Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Court Services Division Director presented background information on the Task Force and provided the 25 recommendations that were approved at the October 2019 Council meeting.  He sought council support for legislative proposal 2020-17: Appointment of Experts; Misdemeanors, which amends language to permit one or more doctor(s) for misdemeanor Rule 11 cases at the discretion of the court.

    The Council supports as presented.

    A Mental Health Summit is also scheduled for March 2020.

    Update on IV-E Funding
    Caroline Lautt-Owens, Dependent Children Services Division Director updated the Council on recent federal changes in policy regarding Title IV-E Reimbursement (social security act) for child/parent representation in child welfare cases.  She explained that the intended impact will enhance representation and parents and youths will be more engaged.

    Arizona Violent Offense List for PSA Scoring and OST
    Kathy Waters, Adult Probation Services Division Director requested the Council’s approval to add two new crimes to the Arizona Violent Offense List for Public Safety Assessment (PSA), on behalf of Pima County.  The requested additions are:
    - Depositing Explosives (A.R.A. 13-3104)
    - Unlawful Mutilation (A.R.S. 13-1214)

    The Council supports the additions.

     

    FROST Risk Assessments Cut-Off Scores
    Kathy Waters next presented the research and recommended changes to the adjustment of the Field Reassessment Offender Screening Tool (FROST) risk assessments cut-off scores for supervision of adult probationers.

    The Council supports the changes as presented.

    Judicial Branch Legislative Package
    The Government Affairs Group presented the following 2020 legislative proposals for Council approval.

    -           Clerk of the Superior Court; Salary – Council supports

    -           Commission on Judicial Conduct; Clerk of the Superior Court - Council supports to withdraw the Clerk’s proposal and work with stakeholders to adopt a code of conduct for Clerks of Court, establish a Clerk Ethics Board, and create a training program for Clerks, Deputy Clerks and Supervisors

    -           General Stream Adjunctions – Council supports in concept

    -           Surcharge Distribution – Council supports

    FASTAR Pilot Program
    Judge Jeffery Bergin gave the second report on the FASTER Pilot program in Pima County.
    The Second Progress Report to the AJC Regarding the 
    FASTER Pilot is available here.

    Arizona Youth Assessment System (AZYAS)
    Joe Kelroy, Juvenile Justice Services Division Director presented on the recent changes to the Arizona Youth Assessment System (AZYAS).  AZYAS was approved for statewide use in 2013 by the Arizona Judicial Council.  In 2019, the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute conducted a study that determines AZYAS is a reliable and valid tool.  Recommendations from the study suggest moving cut-off scores downward.

    The Council supports the recommendations to adjust the cut-off scores for the risk categories.

    Arizona Code of Judicial Administration (ACJA)
    Amendments to ACJA code sections were presented.

    ACJA § 6-105.01: Powers and Duties of Officers Evidence Based Practices – The Council supports
    ACJA § 6-201.01: Standard Probation Evidence Based Practice (amendment) – The Council supports
    ACJA § 6-202.01: Adult Intensive Probation Evidence-Based Practices (amendment) – The Council supports

    ACJA § 5-301: Court Security Standards (new) – The Council supports

    ACJA § 5-302: Court Security Officer Powers and Duties (new) – The Council supports

    ACJA § 5-303: Personnel Practices (new) – The Council supports

    ACJA § 5-304: Certification and Training (new) – The Council supports
    ACJA § 5-305: Use of Force (new) – The Council supports
    ACJA § 5-306: Firearms (new) – The Council supports
    ACJA § 5-307: Use of Conducted Electrical Weapons (new) – The Council supports as presented with the understanding that adjustments will be made before the Chief Justice approves the code as well as possible refinement and clarification for requirements for armed and non-armed contract security staff which would be presented at the March 2020 Council meeting.

     

     

     

    Alicia Moffatt

    Arizona Supreme Court

    Communications Specialist
    602-452-3665

    amoffatt@courts.az.gov


  • 17 Sep 2019 1:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From: Jeff Fine (COC) 
    Sent: Monday, September 16, 2019 2:55 PM
    To: Joseph Welty (SUP) ; Raymond Billotte (SUP) ; Byers, Dave 
    Cc: Reinkensmeyer, Marcus 
    Subject: FYI - New Warrant Payment Scam, Impersonating Court Officials

    Judge Welty, Mr. Byers and Mr. Billotte,

    Good afternoon. I hope all is well with you.

    I am writing to advise of a new scam and criminal strategy that has come to our attention involving individuals pretending to be court officials. Although similar scams have existed for years, the complexity of such appears to have increased. What my team has discovered is that scammers are contacting citizens by email pretending to be court officials, advising victims that a warrant exists for their arrest and to resolve the matter by mailing a payment in the form of prepaid debit cards. The scammers are using names such as mine in their baiting email messages, attaching fake court documents and asking individuals to take pictures of the debit cards and email the images in advance of mailing. Victims are advised to mail the cards to a valid court address such as ours, lending to the perceived credibility of the process while scammers use the info from the photos to obtain funds immediately. The empty debit cards then arrive at a government office such as ours days later.

    The Clerk Team here in Maricopa County is working with law enforcement to investigate and contacting media outlets to promote awareness. Please feel free to disseminate this information as you deem appropriate and contact my team or I with any questions.

    Below this message is an image of a fake court document sent to victims associated with a scam as described above. Our office recently obtained it from a citizen who was targeted.

    Respectfully,

    Jeff Fine

    Clerk of the Superior Court, Maricopa County





  • 02 Jul 2019 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     

    Arizona Judicial Council | June 2019 Update

    Announcements

     

    The Arizona Judicial Council met on Monday, June 17.  The next meeting is scheduled on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at Little America Hotel, Flagstaff, AZ.

    This was the last Arizona Judicial Council (AJC) meeting as members for Presiding Judge Janet Barton, Chief Judge Peter Eckerstrom, Chief Judge Sam Thumma, public member Ken Bennett, and State Bar president Jeff Willis.


    This was also the last meeting for the Chair, Chief Justice Scott Bales, who will retire from the Court at the end of July.

     

    Next Meetings:
    Thursday, October 24, 2019 | Little America, Flagstaff

    Thursday, December 12, 2019 | State Courts Building, Phoenix

    Commission on Technology

    Karl Heckert briefed members on the activities from the recent annual Commission on Technology (COT) meeting including the list of fiscal year priorities (below) and sought Council support on the following:

     

    Approve the addition of a second factor to the login process for court staff having elevated credentials, policy setting or decision-making responsibility, or access to sensitive information. Any device accessing the court network must be queried for the second factor and must be reverified every 30 days. – AJC Supports


    Approve an ongoing 2.5 percent annual increase in JCEF subscription charges for Fiscal Years 2021 through 2026 as a component of the long-term, gap-closing strategy recommended by the Commission on Technology. COT recommends that the subscription charge structure be revisited for FY27 and beyond. – AJC Supports


    Approve the FY20 JCEF automation budget, as recommended by the Commission on Technology.  Approve the JCEF non-automation court programs budget and the JCEF probation budget, as recommended by the AOC Administrative Director and as appropriated by the Legislature. – AJC Supports

    Commission on Technology’s strategic information technology priorities for FY2020-2023 are:

    1.            Production Support (incl. bug fixes, req. chgs)

    2.            Manage & Improve Security (incl. COOP rvw)

    3.            Finish Core System Deployments (GJ/ LJ)

    4.            Mitigate Aging Technology Risk

    5.            Increase Revenue Flow (FARE, eAccess, eFile)

    6.            Increase Data Utilization (ex. access & BI)

    7.            Public Facing Services (ex. eFile, eAccess, eNotification, ODR)

    8.            Integrate Systems to Improve Productivity and Capability

    9.            Enhance Core Systems w/New Functionality

    Judicial Branch Legislative Update
    Jerry Landau and Amy Love reviewed the 2019 legislative session.   A summary of the bills is available below.
    https://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/84/MeetingMaterials/2019/June/TAB_3_AJC_Leg.pdf

    Arizona Code of Judicial Administration (ACJA)
    Marcus Reinskensmeyer discussed the FARE program and proposed amendments to ACJA §5-205: Collections that would better reflect the FARE program.  Marcus sought Council support on the creation of a new $9 DSO/TIP fee for each state tax interception from agencies that do not take part in FARE, to offset the use of running the DSO program. – AJC Supports

     

    Small Claims Pilot Report

    Retired Judge Steve McMurray and Marretta Mathes updated members on the Small Claims Pilot Committee and sought Council support on the Committee’s recommendations about which model to implement statewide and approval of the draft rules in the pending rule petition.

     

    Since the pilot, small claims processing has improved everywhere.  The current rule change petition will make the improvements available statewide.  Recommend rules for process that include using technology to monitor and track cases. – AJC Supports

     

    Small Claims Pilot Program: Report and Recommendations to the Arizona Judicial Council Report

    Ex Parte Protection Orders – Time Standards

    Marretta Mathes presented on behalf of the Steering Committee on Arizona Case Processing Standards.
    The Committee reviewed the data for ex parte protection orders and recommended a final case processing standard of 99 percent within 24 hours. – AJC Supports

    Report on “Enhancing Court and Probation Practices for Cases Involving Juveniles Who Commit Sexually Abusive Behaviors”
    Joe Kelroy and Dr. Kurt Bumby (via phone), Center for Effective Public Policy, presented the final report and asked for Council support to approve the final report and its recommendations.  They provided an overview of the advisory committee from Arizona’s five largest counties and its study and results.  – AJC Supports

    Court Security Officer Academy
    Jeff Schrade presented an update on the first Court Security Officer Certification Academy. Arizona has approximately 500 court security officers in 160 court locations, between court employees and law enforcement individuals, approximately 175 of whom carry weapons. Seventeen individuals from 11 counties and cities attended the first academy. The Academy will be part of the certification process of standardized training to become a certified Court Security Officer and will eventually incorporate the Firearms Academy and its standards.

    Justice for the Future: Planning for Excellence

    Justice Brutinel provided an overview of his five-year strategic agenda: Justice for the Future: Planning for Excellence. Many of the judiciary’s imperatives continue from prior agendas into this one. This agenda includes new plans for using technology to improve and track the courts’ effectiveness, to resolve more cases and payments online, and to respond to escalating cyber threats. The agenda calls for responding better to mental health issues in the courts, improving access to justice for self-represented litigants, establishing a trial judge training academy, and many other initiatives.

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