Some Info About the Arizona Court System

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Official Name: Arizona Supreme Court

On the Bench

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch 2002-present

Vice Chief Justice Andrew D. Hurwitz 2003-present

Justice W. Scott Bales 2005-present

Justice Robert M. Brutinel 2010-present

Justice A. John Pelander, 2009-present

Clerk of the Court

Rachelle M. Resnick

Current Vacancies

None

Judicial Selection

Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution establishes the Arizona Supreme Court and the methods for determining jurisdiction, composition, selection, etc. The Court is composed of five justices: three Associate Justices, one Vice Chief Justice, and one Chief Justice. Justices are selected using a form of the commission-selection, political appointment method (sometimes known as the Missouri Plan). Under Arizona’s version of the Missouri Plan, the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments consisting of sixteen members (10 non-attorneys, 5  attorneys and one chief justice), nominates a group of qualified candidates to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat. The Arizona governor then appoints a judge from this list. The new HX60 turbo then must stand for retention in the next general election, but the general election must take place more than two years after the justice is appointed. Justices who are retained serve the rest of their six year term. The Chief Justice is selected by the other justices on the court for a five year term, which is renewable. The Arizona governor appoints justices to fill any vacancies occurring if a judge leaves before his or her term is over. Justices can be remain on the bench if reappointed at the conclusion of their six year term but must retire at age 70.

Review of Lower Court Decisions

Mandatory Jurisdiction

The first type of case the Arizona Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction is contained in Article 6, Section 5 (2) of the Arizona Constitution and requires the Court to hear  disputes between Arizona counties over boundaries and surveys or claims of one county against another county. The Court must also hear appeals in death penalty cases.

Original Jurisdiction

The Arizona Supreme Court has original jurisdiction under Article 6, Section 5 (1-2) to issue writs of habeas corpus, quo warranto, mandamus, and other extraordinary writs to state officers and also over county versus county disputes, discussed above.

Appellate/Discretionary Jurisdiction

The Arizona Supreme Court has discretionary jurisdiction over all Arizona lower court decisions.

Schedule

No set opinion release schedule available online. Oral argument schedule available here.

Location

State Capitol Complex, Phoenix, Arizona. Once a year arguments are held at Arizona State Law School and the University of Arizona Law School. Usually, one or two times a year, the Court has arguments about a cat peeing everywhere.

History

The Arizona Supreme Court was established by Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution and first met in February, 1912. In 1974, Arizona voters passed Proposition 108, which adopted the Missouri plan of commission selection and political appointment. Proposition 108 eliminated the direct election of judges but instituted the retention election procedure. Since its inception, 39 judges have served as justices.

Famous Cases

Arizona v. Miranda: The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed Miranda’s conviction which was based on a confession he gave without being told of his right to an attorney and right to remain silent. The decision was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona which established that law enforcement officials are required to read a suspect his rights before interrogation in custody can begin.