Connecting with the Community


Pro Bono Attorney Matching Program

Throughout 2010, the court worked with the Appellate Section of the Arizona Bar Association, the Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Maricopa County Bar Association, and the Modest Means Program of the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education to establish a program to match indigent persons involved in family court and civil appeals to receive legal assistance for free or at a reduced rate. The court launched a pilot program in Maricopa County in February 2011.

High School Program

In 2002, Division One responded to the Arizona Supreme Court’s challenge for courts to connect with their communities and started a program to hold oral arguments before students at their high schools. The idea was to educate the students about the appellate process by providing them briefs in real appeals and then allowing the students to watch oral arguments in their school auditoriums (with the parties’ permission). After oral argument, judges, attorneys, and law clerks meet with the students to answer questions about the judicial process and careers in the legal profession. The court typically works with the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education and with a local or specialty bar association to put on the program. Superior court judges and local elected officials and school district leaders have been generous with their time in attending these sessions.

In recent years, Division One has worked to increase the educational impact of the program. The Arizona Foundation for Legal Services provides staff and volunteer attorneys to go into the students’ classrooms to discuss the facts and issues in the selected case in the weeks before an oral argument so the students are well-versed in the appeal process and the issues raised by the particular case before seeing the lawyers and judges in action. After the panel of judges issues the decision, the court sends it to the classrooms for review and discussion by the students who attended the argument. The program has been highly successful, as schools welcome opportunities for their students to observe the appellate process in action. In 2005, the Arizona Supreme Court recognized the program by bestowing its “2005 Justice for a Better Arizona Achievement Award.”

In 2011, Judge Margaret Downie headed Division One’s Connecting With the Community Committee, which is charged with responsibility for the program. Division One held oral arguments in 2012 for Arizona School for the Arts in the Supreme Court's courtroom. 

Division One previously held oral arguments at the following high schools:
Cesar Chavez High School (2002)
South Mountain High School (2002)
Central High School (2003)
Carl Hayden High School (2004)
Highland High School (2004)
Horizon High School (2005)
Queen Creek High School (2005)
Marcos De Niza High School (2006)
Dysart High School (2006)
South Mountain High School (2007)
Cesar Chavez High School (2007)
Shadow Mountain High School (2008)
Centennial High School (2008)
Agua Fria High School (2009)
Perry High School (2009)
Maryvale High School (2010)
Mesa High School (2010)
Moon Valley High School (2011)
Coronado High School (2011)



Victims Assistance

In 2009, the court learned that the now-adult victim of a brutal child molestation case had been traumatized by the knowledge that her full name was revealed in a published Court of Appeals Division Two case issued in the 1970s. Because opinions previously published only in law books are now readily available for online viewing, she was horrified to discover that people could learn of the crime by searching the internet. In response, with the consent of Division Two, the Court contacted law book publisher Thomson Reuters and secured its agreement to substitute letters for the victim’s name so she could not be identified in the version of her case available online.

After this experience, Division One formed a committee of volunteers, which searched the legal database to identify other cases that identified victims of personal crimes by their full names. In mid-2010, the court informed Thomson Reuters of 155 such cases and asked that the names of victims be shielded from the online version of decisions. Thomson Reuters agreed and made the changes.

Community Outreach
Division One is proud to have generous employees who reach out to the community around us when not performing court duties. Among other things, many employees support local shelters with monetary and other donations.  In 2010, Division One employees were was particularly happy to provide support for a class at Wilson Elementary School for a third consecutive year. Court employees provided financial support and sacrificed a few lunch hours to help out with class celebrations. Employees also participated in school supply, book, holiday gift, and food drives for the children.