A summary of Pima County Superior Court’s Current Operations

Pima County Superior Court’s Current Operations

Legal services are included on the long list of “essential” services in Arizona. Aside from depositions and mediations taking place by Zoom, some reduced hours (10-3, M-F), and more working from home, it has been business as (mostly) usual here at the Rockafellow Law Firm.  However, the same can’t be said of Pima County Superior Court, where a majority of our cases are litigated. Jury trials have been suspended through June 1, 2020, as have nearly all in-person hearings and appearances. On April 30, 2020, Presiding Judge Kyle Bryson issued Administrative Order 20-19 listing the changes made in our local Courts.

Most hearings have been suspended all together. Certain “essential” hearings must be conducted by telephone and other “non-essential” hearings can be conducted by phone at the discretion of the individual judge.

For a list of essential and non-essential services, please refer to the link above. Civil court, the arena in which personal injury claims are filed, is mostly considered non-essential (except for eviction hearings). This has placed our court calendars on the back-burner while Judges work through the essential family court issues (order of protection hearings, child support warrants), criminal issues (initial appearances, changes of plea, etc…) and probate issues (appointment of guardians/conservators, mental health examinations, etc…).

Judges are advised to conduct in-person appearances only where to deny such would be a breach of the individual’s constitutional or statutory rights. Currently, the Court is preparing to start introducing in-person appearances beginning June 1, 2020. However, that could change. It is unknown when jury trials will begin again. Assembling hundreds of potential jurors for jury duty may not return for many months. The policies and procedures that replace the process of assembling a jury, if any, will have to be approved by the Court, and perhaps the Arizona Supreme Court, to ensure that constitutional rights are protected. In these unprecedented times, it is unlikely that, even within an institution steeped in tradition, everything will simply return to “normal” within a couple of months.

At the Rockafellow Law Firm, we have been busy ensuring that these temporary rules have minimal effect on our current cases and our many clients. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay strong.

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