Arizona Court Records

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How Does The Arizona Supreme Court Work?

The Supreme Court of Arizona is the court of last resort for all current state jurisdiction cases. Besides reviewing appeals from lower courts, the Supreme Court sets court procedures for the State’s legal system. The Supreme Court does not review all appeal cases from lower courts because the court authority can decide whether or not to accept a case for review based on discretion. Only cases where the penalty of the defendant is a death sentence have an automatic review process here. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the Practice of Law in the State and plays a critical administrative role over all state courts. It also supervises the:

  • Arizona Bar Association
  • Commission on Judicial Conduct

Other areas of jurisdiction are:

  • Exclusive power to issue writs of Habeas Corpus, mandamus, injunctions, and quo warranto to officers of the State
  • Original and exclusive hearings of intercounty disputes
  • Appellate jurisdictions of all cases originating in all courts of record. Exceptions in non-record courts are civil and criminal cases that do not involve statutes, municipal ordinance, toll, tax validity, or impost.
  • Exclusive rights to issue certiorari, injunctions, mandamus, habeas corpus, and other writs as required in exercising its revisory and appellate roles
  • Plays a supervisory role in the impeachment process of state officials
  • Appoints the Clerk of Court and Assistants to perform the following functions:
    • Attendance of court sessions
    • Prepare and administer legal paperwork.
    • Generating and maintaining records of all judgments, decrees, court orders, and other all information in the books of records
    • Perform all other duties assigned by the court

Seven justices serve as presiding judges in the Supreme Court, one of which is the Chief Justice. The remaining six positions include a vice chief justice, two full-time judges, and three associate judges. The chief and vice-chief justices are appointed by peer selection for a five-year term. All justices are elected based on the “Missouri Plan.” This plan is a selection method that appoints judges with the aid of a selection board. Each judge is entitled to serve a term of six years that is renewable by a retention election until retirement. New judges must stand for retention elections after two years of service. Executive appointments fill vacancies created before the expiration of tenure by the demise, retirement, or resignation of a judge. To get nominated for appointment as a supreme court judge, the candidate must meet the following criteria:

  • Must have been actively resident in Arizona for at least ten years
  • Must have a licensed law practice in the State for a minimum of 10 years
  • Must be less than the age of retirement, i.e., less than 70 years old
  • Must not be involved in third party support for another nominee
  • Must not practice law during the tenure of service at the court
  • Must not hold any other public or political office during practice on the bench

A justice of the Supreme Court judge is subject to replacement by impeachment, suspension, censuring, or a non-retention outcome based on the Commission of Judicial Conduct of the State’s recommendations.

The Arizona Supreme has only one office location where all activities and sessions of the court occur. the address is as follows:

Arizona Supreme Court

1501 W. Washington

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Contact the Supreme Court using the following numbers:

  • Main Line: (602)452- 3300
  • Administrative Services: (602) 452–3500
  • Executive Office: (602)452–3301
  • Legislative Office: (602) 452–3361
  • Communications Office: (602) 452–3656
  • CASA: (602)452–3407
  • Certification & Licensing Division: (602)452–3378
  • Court Services: (602)452–3358
  • Adult Probation Services: (602) 452–3460
  • Dependent Children Services: (602)452–3400
  • Tucson location: (520) 388–4300
  • Education Services: (602)452–3060
  • Employment opportunities: (602)452–3655
  • Information Technology: (602)452–3346
  • Juvenile Justice Services: (602) 452–3443
  • Human Resources: (602)452–3311

The Arizona Appellate Court Cases database lists the number of active cases in the Supreme Court at any point in time. The database organizes cases into categories based on the content, along with codes for each case. Click on the relevant tab to search for a case. The service is accessible for free. However, the information presented on the database is subject to the limitations outlined in Rule 123 of the Arizona Supreme Court Rules of Procedure. From this rule, confidential or closed records will not be accessible on the site except by law authorization. Social security numbers, credit/debit card numbers, and financial account details are closed unless presented in a court hearing or following a court order. In other words, the only information classified as public will be available in the database. Also, information about juvenile dependency, adoption, severance, and further personal details are closed to the public. The same rule applies to adult criminal cases. The following types of information are closed to public access:

  • Health evaluation records or mental assessments
  • Alcohol screening and treatment history
  • Probation supervision information
  • Pretrial service records yet to be filed with the clerk of court.
  • Unofficial verbatim recordings of proceedings
  • Employee information
  • Administrative records that contain personal data

In essence, the court redacts information identifying parties from all publicly accessible documents. Third parties seeking personal data will require a court order to get them. The original docket, however, contains all the necessary information section in situ as public and confidential. Official supreme court dockets are available in paper copies at the office of the Supreme Court Clerk. Plan a visit between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to 1501 W. Washington, Suite 402, Phoenix, AZ 85007. Call (602) 452 3396 for more inquiries.

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