The Brief - March 2016

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

The Brief

Vol. 12, No. 3                                                                                March 2016

Criminal Rules Rewrite Underway

A task force created by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court recently started its work updating the criminal rules of procedure. Throughout the year, the group will hold public meetings to discuss rules and pending changes while workgroups retool individual rules to bring forward for the larger task force’s consideration. In part, the task force will clarify, organize, and translate the rules into plain English. The result of the committee’s work will be a rule change petition filed by January 2017, with changes the Supreme Court approves taking effect in January 2018.

The task force has representatives from public and private practice; municipal, justice, state, and appellate courts; academia; urban and rural areas; and people versed in victim, witness, and defendant interests. Public input will be part of the process in hopes of preparing a draft that addresses the needs and concerns of all who use the rules of procedure. Follow the task force’s progress online at and through updates in The Brief.

Valentine’s Victory

In February, the Clerk’s Customer Service Center was scheduled to be open on Saturday the 13th but also opened on Valentine’s Day in response to interest from the public and the Maricopa County Justice Courts. Six Justices of the Peace performed more than 100 free marriage ceremonies for couples on Valentine’s Day. On an average business day, the Clerk’s Office at the downtown location would process 37 marriage licenses. The Friday before Valentine’s Day, the office issued 62 marriage licenses and 118 passports. Between Saturday and Sunday, the office issued a total of 96 marriage licenses and 75 passport applications.

Valentine’s Day is the office’s highest volume day for issuing marriage licenses. Weekend hours allowed the Clerk’s Office to assist hundreds more customers. The office also heard from customers who struggle with having everything the federal government requires for passports on their first visit to the office. Weekend hours helped those customers keep from taking more time off work to complete the application process on a second visit.

To further assist with passport applications, the Clerk’s Office will be open from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the following Saturdays: March 12, March 19, and April 2, 2016 at the Customer Service Center in downtown Phoenix only. Customers can make appointments in advance or walk-in for service. To schedule an appointment for processing your passport application, call the Clerk’s Office at 602-372-5375 and contact the Clerk’s correspondence section using phone prompts 7-1-2-2. Clerk staff will also issue marriage licenses during Saturday events.