Vol. 11, No. 8 September 2015
Don’t you hate forgetting
where you left that $500?
The Clerk’s office is holding appeals cost bonds that were never
addressed in court orders. Until this year, cost bonds were a regular
occurrence in civil appeals. As cases made their way between levels of courts,
the cost bonds got overlooked when the rest of the case reached final
disposition. Without an order directing the Clerk to return the bond to the
person or entity that posted it, the bonds must sit and wait.
If you or your clients posted an appeal bond in any case, it’s worth
checking the record to see if funds are still on hold. A motion and proposed
order to the court directing the Clerk to disburse the bond will clear our
books and get the money back where it came from. Please ensure your draft
orders specify the amount of the bond, the name the Clerk should write on the
disbursement check, and where to send the money. As a reminder, the rule that
required cost bonds on appeal was repealed on 1/1/2015. The Clerk now requires
a court order to accept a cost bond on appeal.
Wrestling with restitution
For those who practice criminal law, it is important to make sure victim
restitution is accurately documented throughout the case. For example, if the
court orders restitution in a specific amount to a specific victim, the order needs
to match any restitution ledger the adult probation department prepares and any
provisions of a plea agreement.
Sometimes plea agreements state the defendant will pay a specific sum of
money to a victim but that agreement never gets translated to a court order. When
restitution is paid through the Clerk’s office, the Clerk only has authority to
distribute funds to those who are identified as a victim in a court order. As a
result, if payment will be through the Clerk, the Clerk needs an order
specifying how to distribute it. Information in plea agreements is not entered
into the Clerk’s financial systems because they are not signed orders.
Commercial court pilot
The commercial court pilot
is underway. If your case qualifies, make sure to include the words “commercial
court assignment requested” on the initial complaint’s caption and check the
box on the civil filing cover sheet. The court manages the cases in the pilot
to promote expeditious and efficient resolution of disputes. To review related
administrative orders and experimental civil rule of procedure 8.1 defining
commercial court cases, see http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/CivilDepartment/CommercialCourt/Index.asp.