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					                                                              Judicial Branch News
                                        Volume 1, Issue 1                                                    October 2006




                                        Record Number of Adoptions to be Finalized
                                             Lucy and Kylie are two lucky
Inside this issue:                      little girls.

Message From the Presiding                 They will finally get their wish
Judge……………….….………2                      and live a foster child’s dream:
                                        to be part of a family. On
Community Invited to Meet               November 18, Kylie and Lucy
the Court ……………………...3                  will be among an estimated 170
Highlights of the Downtown              children who will have their
Justice Tower …….…….…...5               adoptions finalized at the 7th
                                        Annual Adoption Day at the            Kylie and her brothers Parker, Jordan and
Judge Gets Top Award for                Juvenile Court Center in              Hunter. Kylie will have her adoption finalized
Improving Family Court….…6              Phoenix.                              on Celebrate Adoption Day.

Appointments, Promotions
and New Hires………..…..…..7                  Janet Story and Kathryn               “We expect to break last
                                        Pidgeon, attorneys who are            year’s record,” Pidgeon said.
Photo Highlights……………..8                adoption specialists and              “Last year, Maricopa County's
                                        organizers of Maricopa County’s       adoption celebration was one of
                                        Adoption event, held on               the largest nationwide with 143
                                        National Adoption Day, are sure       children adopted.”
                                        this year’s celebration will be
                                                                                                       Continued on page 4
                                        another success.
 The Judicial Branch News is
 an online newsletter published
 by the Media Relations and
 Community Outreach
 Department.
                                        Criminal Justice Tower Planned
 If you wish to contribute to this          To keep up with the               integrated justice system. The
 newsletter, please send                burgeoning population in              structure will be the first
 articles, news items, photos or        Maricopa County, the Board of         downtown Superior Court
 other correspondence to:
 karra@superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.
                                        Supervisors approved a county         building constructed since the
                                        capital development plan that         Central Court Building in 1972.
                                        includes bringing a state-of-the-
 Committed to the Timely, Fair and
 Impartial Administration of Justice.
                                        art criminal justice center to           On October 16th, the Board
                                        Downtown Phoenix. The Board           of Supervisors approved
                                        stated that the court tower is its    $800,000 for implementation and
                                        number one building priority.         management of basic concepts
                                                                              and initial programming of the
                                            The criminal justice tower        court tower project.
                                        will contain criminal courtrooms
                                        and criminal justice functions,
                                        incorporating a streamlined,
                                                                                                       Continued on page 5
October 2006                                                                                                      Page 2



           Message From the Presiding Judge

                             D
                                        uring the first           Juvenile justice – residents want their schools
                                        year of my five-       and neighborhoods to be safe. Juvenile Court in
                                        year assignment        Maricopa County is committed to providing tools that
                                        as     presiding       succeed in helping the majority of delinquent
                             judge, I took the first step of   juveniles to turn their lives around and remain law-
                             a journey that opened my          abiding kids. Appropriate consequences are part of
                             eyes about the public’s           the effort to rehabilitate delinquent juveniles,
                             perception about law and          including detention, community service, counseling
                             order, and fairness and           and restitution.
                             justice.
                                                                  Justice served in a timely fashion – victims,
 Barbara Rodriguez Mundell By initiating community             witnesses, defendants and members of the
      Presiding Judge  forums, I went into the                 community expect resolution of criminal matters
                       community and found                     without unnecessary delay. The court monitors its
people who were willing to meet me and give me a               criminal caseload to assure trials are being
piece of their minds.                                          scheduled within the “speedy trial” mandate. I
                                                               recently designated a cadre of judges to hear
   Was I surprised by what I heard?                            lawyers’ requests to reschedule “firm” trial dates.
                                                               Civil department judges are also assisting, by
   Yes. But I wasn’t shocked or disappointed. I was            handling overflow criminal trials. It is our mission to
invigorated.                                                   resolve criminal matters efficiently, without sacrificing
                                                               justice for speedy resolution. Although the court is
   I discovered that residents across Maricopa                 faced with increasing numbers of criminal cases
County were willing to spend part of their evening to          being filed, it is up to us to try to meet this challenge
meet with judges and court officials to share their            with our available resources.
views on what they need, want and expect from their
courts and their judges.                                          Quality of judges – residents want to know their
                                                               judges are among the best in the country. Our
   If you missed an opportunity to come to a court-            judges, court staff and court programs have been
community meeting previously, there is one                     recognized with honors and awards for distinguished
community forum scheduled for the month of                     service to the community, commitment to uphold the
November and I personally invite you to come and               constitution and dedication to protect each
talk with me.                                                  individual’s rights, regardless of gender, race or age.

  You are invited to join me at Mesa Community                     Family Disputes – members of the community
College, 1833 West Southern Avenue at 6 p.m.,                  expect family matters to be resolved timely and in
Tuesday, November 14.                                          the best interest of children, parents and spouses. A
                                                               number of changes have been implemented in
   As I move forward in my second year as presiding            Family Court to improve service to families, including
judge, I am committed to continue my conversations             Post Decree Court, a Decree on Demand program
with the public and listen to reports of what we are           and streamlined processes. In early 2007, the court
doing well and what areas need improvement. I will             will introduce a pilot project in our Northeast
continue hosting community forums, as long as                  Regional Court Facility at 40th Street and Union Hills
people are interested in learning about their courts           to schedule family court proceedings during night
and sharing their opinions and recommendations on              and weekend hours.
improving the judicial branch in Maricopa County.
                                                                  The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is
   Last year, I listened to parents, crime victims,            committed to excellence. It is also committed to the
students, teachers and other concerned residents               timely, fair and impartial administration of justice.
talk about what they think are the most important              Hold us accountable by letting your voice be heard
issues facing them – and their courts. They include:           at our upcoming community forum.
October 2006                                                                                                                          Page 3




  Community Invited to Meet the Court
    Presiding Judge Barbara
Rodriguez Mundell has been
meeting with the public at
community forums which are
co-hosted by community
colleges around the Valley.

     “I look forward to meeting
individuals who are interested in
the court system and ask them
to come to a forum and share
their perspective on what we
are doing well, what court
issues are most important to
them, and what ways the courts                                     Judge Mundell answers a question from one of the invited guests.
can better serve the
community,” Judge Mundell
said. She added that a number
                                                     The second community                          It will be held in the Paul A.
of judges and court officials are
                                                 forum was held at 6:30 p.m., on                   Eisner Library, LB145, on the
participating in the forums, to
listen to comments and answer                    Tuesday, October 17, at Estrella                  campus at 1833 W. Southern
questions.                                       Mountain Community College,                       Avenue, Mesa.
                                                 3000 N. Dysart Road, Avondale.
   The first forum was held on                                                                         “Each forum is a rewarding
                                                     The final event in the series                 experience because we provide
October 3, at Paradise Valley
                                                 is at Mesa Community College,                     helpful information and also
Community College, 18401 N.
                                                 6 p.m., Tuesday, November 14.                     receive a lot of feedback from
32nd Street, in Phoenix.
                                                                                                   community members who
                                                                                                   attend,” said Patricia Seguin,
                                                                                                   Community Outreach Director.

                                                                                                       “I think these gatherings are
                                                                                                   really enjoyable because we
                                                                                                   discuss so many important
                                                                                                   topics about the court and
                                                                                                   community. Judges and officials
                                                                                                   are eager to hear what the
                                                                                                   community thinks of the court’s
                                                                                                   programs, operations and
                                                                                                   processes,” Seguin said.

                                                                                                      For additional information,
                                                                                                   contact the Community
                                                                                                   Outreach Director, Patricia
                                                                                                   Seguin, 602-372-0595.
Judicial Officers pose with students from Paradise Valley Community College following the forum.
October 2006                                                                                                                 Page 4



Record Number of Adoptions to be Finalized……….Continued

                                                                                               There is an ongoing need
                                                                                                for adoptive families in
                                                                                                   Maricopa County,
                                                                                               particularly for children in
                                                                                                       foster care.

                                                                                                    Judge Eileen Willett

                                                                                              exceeded all that we could ever
                                                                                              have hoped for.” Larue said.

                                                                                                 In Maricopa County Juvenile
                                                                                              Court, five commissioners
                                                                                              preside over adoptions every
                                                                                              week. Currently, there are 371
    Judge Teresa Sanders with a newly adoptive family at the 2004 Celebrate Adoption event.   open adoption cases involving
                                                                                              493 children in juvenile court.
Continued from page 1
                                                                                              Although adoptions continue to
   For Lynn Allen and her                           “There are many highs and                 increase annually and are at
husband Cecil of Surprise,                       lows associated with adoption.               their highest level, there are still
finalizing the adoption will be                  At times, I felt discouraged but             many children in Maricopa
the perfect ending to the                        deep down I knew I was doing                 County who desperately need a
process of adding seven-year-                    what was best for the child and              permanent family.
old Lucy to their family.                        our family,” Allen said. “I can’t
                                                 begin to tell you how much our           "There is an ongoing need
   “We wanted to finalize her                    foster and adopted children for adoptive families in Maricopa
adoption on National Adoption                    have enriched our lives.”             County, particularly for children
Day because we are willing to                                                          in foster care," Juvenile Court
do whatever it takes to bring                       National Adoption Day will Presiding Judge Eileen Willett
attention to such a worthwhile                   also be a special day for Nina said. “National Adoption Day
cause,” Allen said.                              and her husband Ron Larue of celebrates the families who
                                                 Scottsdale and their new adopt as well as raises
  Allen, a former social worker                  daughter Kylie.                       awareness for adoption. We
who is the foster mother to three                                                      would like to invite members of
more children, is now a full-time                   The Larue’s adoption was a the community to attend the
mom. As a social worker, Allen                   long and emotional process. celebration to witness the
worked on Lucy’s case for four                   The journey began in 2001. On smiles on the faces of the newly
years.                                           March 1st, they were notified adopted children and their
                                                 they were approved for families. Come and share the
     “At first, Lucy was a tough                 adoption.                             joy. The children and families
case. Many case workers                                                                will touch your heart.”
thought the adoption of Lucy                        “We may have questioned it
was a long shot. But I fell in love              at times but each time we hold           National Adoption Day is a
with her; she is the sweetest                    our daughter, our much sought- collective national effort to raise
little girl,” Allen said. “Lucy                  after daughter, we know, awareness of the more than
wanted to be adopted so badly                    beyond the shadow of a doubt, 118,000 children in foster care
and be part of a permanent                       that God’s timing is perfect and nationally waiting to find
family.                                          our beautiful little girl has greatly permanent, loving families.
October 2006                                                                                       Page 5



Criminal Justice Tower Project on the Horizon……...Continued
Continued from page 1

    By 2015, it’s estimated the     Early Disposition Court,” Judge   acquisition of property for the
population in Maricopa County       Mundell said. “This model is      Southwest Regional Court in
will grow to 4.7 million people.    popular with victims’ rights      Avondale.
Over that period,          felony   advocates because it makes            “I would like to thank the
caseloads are expected to           crime victims an equal partner    Board of Supervisors and
increase from 39,000 felonies       in the process. The emphasis is   County Management for their
to 57,000. Based on those           on offenders making full          strong support of court and
numbers, the court determined       restitution to victims.”          court-related departments in
there needs to be enough                                              the County Strategic Plan and
space to house 223 judges and          Part of the county capital     the FY07 budget,” Judge
6,000 court and clerk staff.        development plan also calls for   Mundell said. “The Court
                                    expansion of courts and           continues its commitment to
    “We evaluated all existing      probation at the Southeast        continuous self-examination
facilities and determined we        Regional Court; completion of     and to enhance services in a
need to meet space needs            the Northwest and Northeast       responsible and cost-effective
through a combination of            Regional Courts and the           manner.”
existing facilities and
construction of new buildings,”
Superior Court Presiding Judge
Barbara Rodriguez Mundell
said. “We also need to explore
options to help at-risk                Highlights of the Criminal Justice Tower
individuals lead law-abiding
lives. Options range from
incarceration for violent or          •   “One-stop shopping” with offices for probation intake,
repeat offenders to development           court interpretation and translation services, pre-trial
of constructive alternatives to           release screening and public assistance agency offices.
incarceration and sentencing
for low-risk non-violent              •   All criminal trials will be held downtown, but the Regional
offenders.”                               Court Center and the Early Disposition Court will remain
                                          at regional sites, and special criminal trials can be
    The implementation of                 assigned to Southeast. This allows the five Southeast
restorative justice programming,          criminal trial divisions to relocate downtown, backfilling
which holds offenders                     court space in the Southeast Court Building with much
accountable while offering them           needed family and civil courts
effective re-integration into
society, will be a key                •   Between 45 and 70 new criminal courts, depending on
component of the new criminal             configuration.
justice center.
                                      •   Separate circulation patterns for in-custody defendants,
   “Our community has already             jurors, victims, witnesses, judges and court personnel.
seen the success of the
restorative justice model in high     •   Utilize space in ECB and CCB with six juvenile
early settlement rates at                 courtrooms and additional family, civil and probate
Regional Court Center and                 courtrooms.
October 2006                                                                                                     Page 6



Judge Gets Top Award for Improving Family Court
                                            friendly, the eCourt makes it         suspected, the matter is
                                            possible for litigants to prepare     immediately referred for
                                            their own paperwork for a             evaluation.
                                            separation or divorce, giving them        • Uniform Case Management
                                            access to the Court they would        provides that all contested
                                            otherwise not have. Several other     matters are set for a Resolution
                                            counties in Arizona adopted Judge     Management Conference as soon
                                            Davis’ program after it was           as a request for any type of
                                            implemented in Maricopa County        hearing is made. A judge hearing
                                            two years ago.                        the matter determines where
                                                 • Decree on Demand, that has     there is agreement and includes
                                            reduced the waiting time for          that in orders, sets deadlines for
                                            litigants to obtain default or        the parties to obtain the services
           Judge Norman Davis               consent decrees or orders that        that are needed before the case
        Family Court Presiding Judge
                                            previously took six to eight weeks.   can be tried, and sets a date for
                                            Litigants can now obtain these        the ne xt hearing . These
                                            decrees the day after they            conferences resolve conflict and
    Presiding Family Court Judge            request them and can schedule         empower families to make
Norman Davis received the 2006              their default hearing over the        decisions about their future.
Award of Excellence from the                internet at a time that is            During its first 16 months, this
Arizona Courts Association for              convenient. This program              system reduced the number of
making sweeping changes in                  received the National Association     open family cases in Maricopa
family cases so there is the least          of County Managers (NACo)             County by 29 percent.
financial and emotional damage              award for outstanding
done to spouses and their                   achievement. The website                 Judge Davis continues to
children.                                   address to schedule a default         devise methods for improving
                                            hearing is also: http://              Family Court procedures.
    “Judge Davis is passionate              ecourt.maricopa.gov
about Family Court and believes                  • Post Decree Child Support         “We’re working on a number of
the guiding principle of the Family         Court that cut the average time to    additional things including the
Court should be to ‘Do No Harm’             modify child support by as much       opening of a Support Enforcement
to the family relationship,” was            as five months. Previously it took    Court and a Parenting-Time
cited as key reason he was                  from four to six months to get        Enforcement Court, as well as a
selected for the award.                     child support amended. It now         Family Night Court and a Family
                                            takes 30 to 45 days. Litigants        Saturday Court after the first of
   Over the past two years,                 come to Court for only one            the year,” Judge Davis said. “We
Judge Davis used his innovation,            hearing, and they leave with a        are also planning to design
insight and leadership to                   final order. The program has an       parenting time supervision and
restructure Family Court by                 extremely high agreement rate.        exchange center in conjunction
making sweeping changes to its                   • Early Resolution Triage        with the Night and Saturday
practices and performance.                  Program which requires all self-      Courts if we can find the
                                            represented litigants in contested    resources.”
   He created a number                 of   cases to meet with staff members
programs, including:                        to mediate their differences. All        He notes that virtually all of the
                                            issues on which they concur are       reforms that have been created
    • eCourt, which is a program            immediately reduced to a written      and implemented in Family Court
to help litigants representing              agreement. These are signed the       “have been accomplished with
themselves correctly prepare                day of the conference. This           few or no additional resources.”
paperwork for their cases by                program also has an extremely
using an interactive website http://        high settlement rate. If parental
ecourt.maricopa.gov. User-                  unfitness issues are alleged or
October 2006                                                                                   Page 7




   Court Appointments, Promotions and New Hires

   Two court employees with
lengthy service in the Human          Court Administrator Marcus      Governor Janet Napolitano
Resources of the Judicial         Reinkensmeyer is pleased to      appointed Karen A. Potts and
Branch of Arizona in Maricopa     announce the appointment of      Christopher Thomas Whitten
County have been promoted to      Elizabeth Ncube as Trial         to serve on the Maricopa
new assignments.                  Courts Training and Education    County Superior Court bench.
                                  Administrator for the Judicial
   Danna Quinn, of Phoenix,       Branch of Arizona in Maricopa        Judge Potts, a professor at
moved to the position of          County. She fills the position   Phoenix College, worked at
Assistant Human Resources         vacated by Pamela Lizardi in     Streich Lang as a litigator and
Director, from her previous       July.                            an assistant Attorney General
assignment as Employment                                           in the financial fraud division.
Services Administrator. Quinn’s       Prior to her appointment,
promotion created another         Ncube served six years             Judge Whitten was an
advancement opportunity, and      developing judicial education attorney with Whitten Berry,
Andreia Griego, of Scottsdale,    programs at the Administrative PLLC.
was selected to move up from      Office of the Courts Education
her job as Senior Analyst for     Services Division.                 Judge Whitten will be
Human Resources to the                                            assigned to the Civil Court
position of Employment                                            Department at the Southeast
Services Administrator.                                           Court Facility in Mesa. Judge
                                      Superior Court is pleased Potts will be assigned to the
                                  to announce the appointment Family Court Department at the
                                  of Jennifer Murray as its new Southeast Facility in Mesa.
                                  Law Library Assistant Director.

                                      Prior to her appointment,         The five newest court
                                  Murray worked as a senior         commissioners appointed to
                                  research librarian at the law     the Maricopa County Superior
                                  firm of Greenberg Traurig.        Court bench by Presiding
                                  Murray graduated with a Juris     Judge Barbara Rodriguez
                                  Doctorate from Arizona State      Mundell will be honored by
                                  University. She begins her        family, friends, judges,
               Danna Quinn
                                  duties on October 23.             commissioners and court
                                                                    officials during investiture
                                                                    ceremonies beginning at
                                                                    12:30 p.m., Tuesday,
                                      Elberta Binder has been       November 7 in the Board of
                                  appointed as an E-court           Supervisors Auditorium, 205
                                  manager at Superior Court.        W. Jefferson, Phoenix.
                                  Previously, Binder served as
                                  an adjunct faculty member at          The    commissioners
                                  Phoenix College. Binder began     include Michael Barth, Mark
                                  her assignment on September       Brain, Jaime Holguin, Joan
                                  11.                               Huls and James Morrow.

               Andreia Griego
October 2006                                                                           Page 8




                   Courtside
                                         Photo Highlights


                                                            S
                                                                    uperior Court’s
                                                                    community forum at
                                                                    Estrella Mountain
                                   In the News                      Community College
          Court Forums Draw Large Audience                  drew 110 participants. (Top
                                                            Left)

                                                            "Countdown to Armageddon”, a
                                                            British Broadcasting Company
                                                            production, was filmed in Judge
                                                            Colin Campbell’s Chambers in
                                                            the Old Courthouse. (Below)

                                                            Noreen Sharp, Presiding Judge
                                                            Barbara Rodriguez Mundell and
                                                            Karin Philips volunteering to
                                                            hand out customer service
                                                            surveys in front of the Central
                                                            Court Building. (Bottom Right)




The newly constructed Justice Court Center, 6th
Avenue and Jackson, will be ready for occupancy in
December.

				
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