The Brief - April 2016

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The Brief

Vol. 12, No. 4                                                                                April 2016

Street Closures and Detours at Northwest Regional Justice Center

Construction of a highway overpass at Bell Road and Grand Avenue (US Highway 60/89) will impact access and travel time to courts and agencies located at the Northwest Regional Justice Center in Surprise. Bell Road will be closed east and west of Grand Avenue from 134th Avenue to West Point Parkway for 8 months starting April 1st, 2016. The closure will increase traffic on roads in the area and around the Justice Center. Plan ahead for delays, heavy traffic, and increased travel time. Check with the courts and agencies you do business with to see if there are alternatives, such as electronic services or business that can be conducted by mail or through other locations.


Telephone System Updates

On March 28 the Clerk’s Office updated its telephone menus. The Office uses one main number, 602-372-5375 (602-37-CLERK), and routes callers using a pushbutton prompt system. Customer and staff feedback resulted in the following changes:

  • Words, phrases and menus were shortened or removed where possible
  • Some menu options were reordered, improving speed and accuracy
  • An attorney menu was added for issues most requested by attorneys and legal support staff, including eFile, Distribution, Support Services, Family Support Services, Billing & Deferral, Appeals, and File Counter

The next time you call the Clerk’s Office, please do listen to the options closely, as some have changed.


Passport Season

Plan ahead: The State Department reports that passports can take 4-6 weeks to process and return. For many families, that’s about when school is out for the summer. The State Department expects new and expiring renewal passport applications to increase through 2018. Off-peak passport application months are September through December, so if your summer travel plans include leaving the U.S., you’re in peak application season and should apply now to avoid expedited processing costs. See then print the application paperwork and bring it with you. See the Clerk’s website at for fees and acceptable forms of payment. For passport application appointments, call the Clerk’s Office at 602-372-5375 and contact the Clerk’s correspondence section (phone prompts 7-1-2-2).

The Clerk’s Office hosted three weekend dates in the last six months to assist customers during non-traditional hours. The Clerk’s downtown Phoenix location will be open from 9-3 on Saturday, April 2 to process passport applications and issue marriage licenses. For future weekend dates, check The Brief and follow the Clerk on Twitter at @MaricopaClerk.


Making the Record Clear

Paper documents filed with the Clerk’s Office are processed through black-and-white scanners then shredded. The resulting image is the official court record. Electronic filings appear in the official record as color images of the original document but copies of those records (including certified) are printed on black-and-white copiers. To help practitioners create the clearest record available, the Clerk’s Office has posted document preparation guidelines on its website.


Following the guidelines will increase accuracy and efficiency and improve the legibility and overall quality of scanned images. Case numbers and their format are particularly important for prosecutors, civil collection firms, and other practices that use template documents where both the party information and case number needs updating with each new document. Highlighted text on an eFiling may emphasize a point, but highlighted text on paper may result in redaction after going through a scanner. Other things to keep in mind or avoid using are blank or colored paper, divider sheets and tabs, and writing on the back of a paper. For solutions to these problems and more, see the Document Preparation Guidelines within the “Filing” category on the Clerk’s main webpage or go directly to the Guidelines at