- Your Voice
PIMA COUNTY – The Pima County Elections Department is preparing for a recount in the Congressional District 2 race between incumbent Democrat Ron Barber and Republican challenger Martha McSally.
Theresa Dunlap can now be on her son’s birth certificate.
Pima County has settled with survivors of a man killed during a police standoff outside of his northwest-side home in 2011.
The Arizona Superior Court in Pima County is pleased to announce that it has been honored by the Arizona Supreme Court with two state-level awards. The awards will be presented at the Court Leadership Conference luncheon on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.
The first award, for “Promoting Access to Justice,” was given to the Family Law Bench’s Simpla Phi Lex project, a collaborative effort with the James E. Rogers College of Law and the English Department at the University of Arizona. This project was conceived as a means of improving access to the court, especially for self-represented litigants, by simplifying language used in court forms and brochures to increase both readability and ease-of -use for the general public. The project has resulted in the successful redesign of nearly all of the “Self Service” forms for Family Law cases, where 80% of cases involve self- represented individuals. The project is ongoing, as more forms are improved and updates continue. “Essentially,” said Presiding Judge Sarah R. Simmons, “we’ve made it much easier for people to help themselves navigate through the legal system.”
The second award, for “Enhancing Professionalism,” was given to the Superior Court for the e-Bench pilot program launched successfully in late August. This project is a collaboration between the Superior Court, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Clerk of the Superior Court’s office to implement aiSmartBench, a software product designed by Mentis Technologies to make the judicial process more efficient. It provides judicial officers and their assistants with one-stop electronic access on the desktop to summary case information, including all case documents and documents in related cases, as well as often-used reference materials. Without such immediate access, court hearings may be delayed to accommodate the retrieval of necessary documents. According to Court Administrator Kent Batty, “The goal is to give judges new electronic tools to make their work on the bench smoother, easier, and more efficient.” The three judges participating in the pilot have already expressed that the technology has improved courtroom business operations, including expediting decision-making processes.
The Arizona Supreme Court presents Strategic Agenda Awards every October to individuals or groups that have advanced one of the five goals within the strategic agenda, Advancing Justice Together: Courts & Communities. The Strategic Agenda is available for review at http://www.azcourts.gov/AZCourts/StrategicAgenda.aspx.
Oro Valley authorities have confirmed that Sahuarita Town Attorney Daniel Jay Hochuli has been charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content exceeding the legal limit.
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Unless you hit a pedestrian with your car in the process.
A $1.1 billion budget has gone before the Pima County Board of Supervisors for final authorization this week.
Clerk of the Superior Court and several justice of the peace and constable seats are up for election this year in Pima County, with most of the candidates running unopposed.
Governor Jan Brewer has appointed Joan Wagener to the Pima County Superior Court.
A number of questions still loom in the minds of the loved ones of Joshua Switalski, the 22-year-old Tucson resident who was shot and killed in Oro Valley last year during a traffic altercation.
In a 911 recording played during day one of the trial of David Arnold Mota – the man charged with shooting and killing 22-year-old Joshua Switalski in a road rage case in Oro Valley – Switalski’s girlfriend, April Taylor, can be heard frantically yelling, “Oh my God, he’s been shot… Josh, stay with me.”
The Town of Oro Valley has agreed to pay $260,000 as part of a settlement agreement in the case of Guerena v. Pima County.
Gov. Jan Brewer today appointed attorneys Sean Earl Brearcliffe, Michael Joseph Butler and Brenden James Griffin to the Pima County Superior Court.
Governor Jan Brewer today appointed Toni Hellon to serve as the Clerk of the Superior Court for Pima County.
Law students and English students from the University of Arizona are working with the Pima County Superior Court to simplify complex language in instructional packets related to divorce, child custody and other family law proceedings.
In an estimated 82 to 83 percent of new family law filings, one or both parties involved are not represented by an attorney, often because they cannot afford one, said Pima County Superior Court Commissioner Dean Christoffel.
They often are left to fill out complicated legal forms with little or no professional guidance, which can be daunting when the basic instructions are written in legal language that may be difficult for the lay public to understand.
Christoffel, commissioner of Pima County Superior Court's family law bench, recognized the problem and turned to the UA for help.
The result was a for-credit internship program dubbed Simpla Phi Lex (lex is Latin for law; the Greek phiis a play on the University connection).
The interdisciplinary project, in its third semester at the UA, unites the writing skills of English students with the legal savvy of law students. The students work together to make clear, succinct and accurate revisions to the instructions that accompany family law forms.
The students have been working with about 26 packets of text, available to the public through the Pima County Superior Court's self-service center. The goal is to have their changes implemented by the end of this semester.
"The whole idea is to make the instructions approachable, readable and instill a sense in people that they can do this," Christoffel said. "There is so much at risk when people are doing this – their savings, their emotional past life, their children, their children's future."
Christoffel said he hopes to eventually expand the project into other areas of law as well, and to grow partnerships with the University, perhaps including students from the Eller College of Management.
The partnership between the UA and the Pima County Superior Court not only helps the court and the people it serves, it also gives the students valuable cross-disciplinary experience, said the UA's Barbara Atwood, Mary Anne Richey Professor of Law Emerita, who coordinates the project's law students.
"The law students are learning something more about good writing, communication and expression, and the English students are strengthening their writing abilities and learning about writing in a legal context," she said.
The project's three English students, coordinated by University Distinguished Professor of English Jerrold Hogle, do much of the rewriting, while the law students check the legal accuracy of their work and ensure that no essential information was lost in translation. The text is then reviewed by Christoffel and his colleagues.
Larry Hogan, team lead on the project, and a senior majoring in non-fiction creative writing through the UA English department, said his experience with Simpla Phi Lex has piqued a new interest in a technical writing career.
"What I've learned is that writing can be really applicable to the business world. I was amazed that these skills are so needed out in the workplace," said Hogan, who has worked professionally as a teacher, freelance writer, photographer and IT professional.
Hogan also is working to incorporate graphics and visual aids into the instruction packets to help make them even more user-friendly.
Kaytlyn Yrun-Duffy, one of two law students on the project this semester, said working in depth with the legal packets has given her a new understanding of the issues facing those going through divorce or child custody cases, something she first encountered while volunteering for a self-service clinic at the court.
"So many clients would come in so confused. They couldn't figure out what the instructions wanted them to do," said Yrun-Duffy, who is in her third year in the UA's James E. Rogers College of Law. "They're already going through something stressful, and this makes them even more stressed out."
"This project has allowed me to see what the mass population needs and what they're going through," she said.
She said she's also appreciated having the opportunity to work with students from a different discipline.
"It's awesome to work with students from other fields, because we'll be working with experts from different fields all throughout our careers."
After years of dispute over control of the Marana Wastewater Reclamation Facility, the Pima County Board of Supervisors is calling for an end to further litigation with the Town of Marana, recently extending two separate settlement offers.
The Arizona Supreme Court has declined to hear the Town of Marana’s case relating to a ballot measure that would have allowed the municipality to own and operate a wastewater facility without seeking voter approval in next year’s town elections.
Governor Jan Brewer today appointed Juvenile Court Commissioner Kathleen Ann Quigley to the Pima County Superior Court.
As the Town of Marana and Pima County continue to battle for possession of the Marana Wastewater Reclamation Facility, a recent ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals has the county optimistic about the potential outcome.