Arizona Court Records
How Does The Arizona Court Of Appeals Work?
The Arizona Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court of the state. It plays an assistive role to reduce the workload of the state Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals the first level of appeal from the Superior Court. There are two divisions in the state, in Phoenix and Tucson. The Phoenix division is also known as Division 1 and hears cases for the following counties: Apache, Coconino, La Paz, Navajo, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai, and Yuma. The Tucson division is referred to as Division 2 and is responsible for cases in Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal, and Santa Cruz counties.
The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction in all matters of appeals from the Superior Courts in the state, such as civil and criminal appeals. However, death sentence appeals are referred directly to the Supreme Court. Other case types include juvenile, domestic relations. The Phoenix division specifically handles decision reviews from the tax court, cutback rulings from the Economic Security Department, and appeals from the Industrial Commission. Additionally, the Court of Appeals makes decisions on appeals for special actions such as certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus. Dissatisfied litigants can file an appeal to the supreme court of the state.
Sixteen judges serve on the Phoenix appellate court panel, while six serve on the Tucson panel. The appointment and tenure process is similar to that of the Supreme Court Justices. Each judge serves a preliminary two-year tenure, then a six-year term if re-elected. The judges select a chief judge to serve a tenure of one year, usually on a seniority basis. The remaining judges rule on cases in groups of three, also called departments. Each unit elects a presiding judge to oversee matters. To serve as a judge, a nominee must:
- Be a resident of the state.
- Have a practicing license for at least five years
- Be at least 30 years old and younger than 70 years.
Replacement of judges happens upon retirement, death, the loss of a retention election, or a recall. A recall is a political process through which citizens remove elected officials from office before the term concludes. A majority vote impeachment conducted by the Arizona House of Representatives could also remove a judge. In cases of misconduct, the Arizona Supreme Court could suspend, censure, or remove a judge. The court could also issue a compulsory retirement order based on the commission of judicial conduct’s recommendations.
Individuals can find the Court of Appeals Division 1 at the address below:
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Interested persons may visit the court during the hours of operation between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. Visitors may call (602) 452- 6700 for more information or email the court.
The Tucson division is located at:
400 W. Congress Street, North Building
Second floor (Suite 200)
Tucson, AZ 85701
The clerk’s office is open from Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Except for holidays. Parties can call (520) 628–6954 for more information or send a fax inquiry to (520) 628–6959.
Individuals can find, appeal, and review cases in hard copy form at the clerk of court’s office. Online case information for Division one is available at AZTurboCourt at no extra cost. Interested persons can view, download, and print copies from a personal computer. Court updates take 2 to 3 business days before electronic documents are made available. For copies of records unavailable at the website, call (602) 542–4821 to obtain more information. Be aware that case information concerning juveniles or mental health assessments of individuals involved will not be accessible online.
The Court of Appeals Division 2 provides electronic access to case information held within its courts on its website. The following details are required to search for a case on the database:
- Case Type
- Case Number
- Filing Date
- Case Title
- Trial Judge
- Trial Court Case Number
Additionally, individuals can view records of cases filed with the appellate court by visiting the clerk’s office. The clerk prepares copies of documents upon request at 50 cents per page. The court may not fill requests beyond ten pages immediately and may require a waiting period. For persons seeking copies of an oral argument’s audio recordings, submit a blank CD along with the request to the clerk’s office. Otherwise, use the case number to search for it on YouTube.
Note that all records except those with an appeal court order are public records at this level. Final court opinions are also general information. Parties who wish to have the case information sealed should file a motion with the court. The motion’s approval depends on the judges’ decision and the court rules on what should be public or confidential. Generally, if the benefits of confidentiality outweigh the benefits of public knowledge, an order must be issued to seal the record.
There is no set time for the period spent on an appeal case at the intermediate appellate courts. It depends on how complicated the issue is, the caseload of the judges in the season, the processing time, how quickly did judges of the units agree on a decision, and scheduling considerations. Nevertheless, the court strives to process all appeals and review cases within six months from the filing date. The court issues final mandates within 15 days of notification.