Arizona State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Arizona

Highest Court

The highest court in Arizona is the Supreme Court of Arizona.  The Supreme Court consists of 5 justices. It has jurisdiction over (1) Final appellate jurisdiction in all actions in the state’s court system except those arising in justice and police courts. (2) Exclusive jurisdiction in cases between counties.

Intermediate Courts

Court Of Appeals
The Court of Appeals consist of 22 judges. It has jurisdiction over all actions and proceedings originating in or permitted by law to be appealed from the Superior Court.

General Courts

Superior Court
The Superior Courts consist of 159 judges and 53 other magisterial.  It has jurisdiction over (1) Original jurisdiction in all civil actions over $5,000, exclusive probate and domestic relations jurisdiction, and appellate jurisdiction over various state administrative agencies. (2) Original jurisdiction in felony and misdemeanor.(3) Exclusive juvenile jurisdiction. (4) Appeals de novo and appeals on the record.
No Jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

Justices of the Peace Court
The Justices of the Peace Court consists of 82 judges and 6 other magisterial. It has jurisdiction over (1) Civil actions up to $10,000. (2) Misdemeanors and criminal offenses with fine less up to $2,500 or sentence under 6 months, and preliminary hearings.
Criminal and Civil jury trials are overseen by this court.

Municipal Court
The Municipal Court consist of 86 full-time judges and 12 other magisterial and 56 part-time judges.  It has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and criminal offenses with fine less than $2,500 or sentence under 6 months and preliminary hearings.

Additional Information

Judges: Number, Term, Election (Section 12-101 of Arizona Revised Statutes)
The Supreme Court of Arizona is composed of 5 judges.  The judges are elected at the general election preceding the expiration of a term of office.  The judge’s term shall take effect on the first Monday in January of the year in which it began and shall last for six years.

Jurisdiction and duties; court appointments; background investigation
The Supreme Court of Arizona shall discharge the duties imposed and exercise the jurisdiction conferred by the constitution and by law. The Supreme court shall require that each applicant to any paid position in the judicial department defined as a noncriminal justice agency under federal law provide a full set of fingerprints so that the court may conduct a criminal background investigation.  The fingerprint card shall be submitted to the Department of Public Safety that is authorized to exchange the card information with the FBI for a national criminal history records check.  The application shall be responsible for the cost of the card that shall not exceed the actual cost of obtaining the applicant’s criminal history information. (Arizona Revised Statute 12-102)

Power of the Superior Court
The Superior Court of Arizona has the general powers conferred to it by the constitution, rules, or statutes.  Additionally, the superior court is free to proceed according to the common law. (Arizona Revised Statutes, 12-122)

Indian tribal courts; involuntary commitment orders; recognition
According to Arizona Revised Statute 12-136, an involuntary commitment order of an Arizona tribal court that is filed with the clerk of the superior court shall be recognized and enforceable by any court of record to the state.  The order is subject to the same procedures, defenses, and proceedings for re-opening, vacating, or staying as a judgment of the court.  The state by action of the Attorney General shall have five days from receipt of the written notice to appear and respond. A patient committed under this section shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the state.
Subsection B of this statute concerns the discharge and release of the patient.  The State Mental Health Treatment facility shall notify the tribal court that issued the involuntary commitment order 10 days before the discharge or release. Any necessary outpatient follow-up shall be provided by an intergovernmental agreement.

12-164. Qualifications and assignment of tax judge; qualifications and appointments of judges pro tempore and commissioners assigned to the tax court
A judge of the tax court of Arizona shall be a willing superior court judge wanting to specialize in tax cases who has been selected according to the law and assigned to tax court by the current judge of the superior court in Maricopa County. The tax court judge shall serve for at least two years or the remainder of his current term of office, whichever is less.
The tax court shall also have a judge pro tempore (according the qualifications in Section 12-142) that is appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court pursuant to section 12-141.  The judge pro-tempore must qualify under the minimum standards of experience and education in tax law established by the supreme court.
Subsection D of 12-164, appoints a court commissioner to the tax court.

Preservation and destruction of records
According to Arizona Revised Statute 12-202.01, the clerk of the supreme court may destroy or provide for the destruction of all documents, records, instruments, books, papers, depositions, exhibits and transcripts in any action or proceeding in the supreme court, or otherwise filed or deposited in the clerk’s custody pursuant to rules adopted by the supreme court.
A photographic or electronic reproduction or image of any of the records described in this section, which has been certified by the person in charge of such reproduction as being an exact replica of the original, shall be received in evidence in all courts, and in hearings before any officer, board or commission having jurisdiction or authority to conduct such hearings, in like manner as the original.

The clerk is to notify the director of the Arizona state library, archives and public records of records designated for destruction pursuant to court rules. The state library, during the time prescribed by court rule, may review and inspect these records. During this time period, the state library may remove any of these records for storage and retrieval.

12-231. Appointment and duties of bailiffs
Bailiffs are appointed by the superior court judges to insure orderly business of the court.  The judge that appoints the bailiff shall give the duties to the assigned bailiff.


Inside Arizona State Courts