Justice 2020

Administration of Justice

Goal 1: Strengthening the Administration of Justice

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Goal 1: Strengthening the Administration of Justice

The Arizona Judiciary is committed to improving the administration of justice. Every person has the right to a prompt, fair, and impartial hearing. The pursuit of justice thus requires that cases be heard in a timely manner and processed efficiently. To accomplish this goal, the courts require effective case processing and efficient management of information and resources. In this era of dwindling resources, the Arizona judicial system must review and modernize operations and policies to ensure that public resources are used effectively, efficiently, and accountably.

1A Using Technology Effectively

As case filings increase and the public demand for information soars, the judiciary must use innovative technology to enhance operations. The objective is not simply to adopt new technology for its own sake, but to solve business­process problems, provide prompt, reliable information to decision makers, and improve service to the public.

Action Plan

  • Modernize to improve court processes and information gathering, tracking, and sharing through implementation of case management systems in
    • Juvenile Court: JOLTSaz,
    • Limited Jurisdiction Court: AJACS, and
    • General Jurisdiction Court: AJACS.
  • Modernize the methods for producing timely records of court proceedings.
  • Expand use of eCitation to electronically transfer citation information from law enforcement to the courts.
  • Improve efficiency of case processing through implementation of e­filing capabilities in all cases and in all courts.
  • Provide judges the tools they need to operate in the digital court environment.
  • Implement public access to courts through AZ Turbo Court.
  • Use technology to provide efficient access to court documents while ensuring the security of confidential information.

1B Simplifying and Enhancing Systems

The legal system can be intimidating and its complexity can make navigation difficult for victims, witnesses, and litigants not represented by counsel. Simplifying the rules for less complex cases and streamlining case management processes can help make court proceedings understandable and should result in greater public trust and confidence in the system.

Action Plan

  • Streamline case processing by
    • Developing new rules for processing guardianships,
    • Allowing for plea by mail or via the internet for minor criminal traffic cases, petty offenses, and some class 3 misdemeanor cases, while ensuring crime victims’ rights,
    • Developing separate, simplified rules for civil cases in justice courts, and
    • Applying case management procedures to misdemeanor cases to expedite case dispositions.
  • Review Supreme Court case processing to identify greater efficiencies.
  • Produce an expanded index of court rules to enhance usability for court employees and the public.
  • Create a searchable “opinions” database for judges.
  • Establish a committee to review the Federal Rules of Evidence and Civil Procedure and to conform the Arizona Rules of Procedure and Evidence if appropriate.
  • Review methods of rotating and training judges for new assignments.
  • Expand the use of less costly, more efficient trial alternative processes, such as arbitration, mediation, and mini­trials.

1C  Improving Public Access,Transparency, and Accountability

Public confidence in the courts is predicated, in part, on transparency of processes, access to reliable information, and timely resolution of disputes. In this era of “on demand” information, the public expects instant access to judicial branch information. Case information and documents must be readily available. Courts are also acquiring the ability to allow electronic filing and access to court records.

To serve the growing number of non­English speaking members of the public, information about court processes and procedures must be provided in languages other than English, and the number of available, qualified interpreters must be increased.

Action Plan

  • Revise the Supreme Court Rules governing public access to court records:
    • Ensure transparency and full access, and
    • Be vigilant in protecting confidential information.
  • Continue implementing the Court Performance Measures.
  • Translate the Guide to Arizona Courts, the Handbook on Dependency Cases, and other informational pamphlets and brochures into Spanish and other languages and make them available to the public through the Supreme Court’s Website.
  • Assist self­represented litigants by
    • Implementing intelligent e­filing, and
    • Providing online video presentations describing how to access the courts.
  • Enhance the abilities and expand the availability of qualified language interpreters for non­English speaking participants in the justice system.