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Last Post 23 Jun 2009 04:03 PM by  bdominguez
R-08-0029 Petition to Amend Rule 41 of the Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court
 7 Replies
Topic is locked
Author Messages

19 Nov 2008 09:05 AM



    The Honorable Robert Brutinel
    Chair, Committee on Juvenile Courts
    c/o Legal Services Office
    1501 W. Washington, Suite 414
    Phoenix, Arizona 85007-3231
    Fax: 602-452-3480

    Filed November 19, 2008


    17 Apr 2009 03:42 PM
    I have been practicing in Juvenile Court for the past three plus years and I try to the best of my ability to represent children in a professional manner and ensure that their voices are heard. In that time, I have informed the assigned judges when I have been unable to contact my client for whatever the reason and have requested that the hearing be continued so that I can obtain my client's position in order to properly represent them. The judges are very good about being sensitive to requests for continuances. I also inquire of my older clients whether or not they want to come to hearings each time and the reasons for their decisions. If they allow me to inform the judge about the reasons for their decision not to come, I convey that information to the judge but if they do not want me to tell the court, ethically I am bound not to tell and I do not.

    The requirement, in the proposed amendment, that "Upon motion of the child, the court may enter a written order excusing a child from each hearing, for good cause shown" is unworkable and overly time-consuming. It punishes the responsible attorneys for children who do communicate with their clients in a timely fashion and could conceivably intrude into the attorney client communications. If a child tells their attorney that they don't want to come because one of the parents chose not to believe them when he/she disclosed allegations of abuse and they feel uncomfortable in the courtroom with them but they still love that parent and don't want them to know that information, how could the attorney convey to the court that the child has "good cause" to be excused without violating the attorney client privilege IN WRITING since the proposal requires that a request to be excused be "upon motion"?

    Second, I don't see an age limit so I would presume that all attorneys who represent children, no matter what age, would be required to file a motion even if the child is an infant. That is absurd and a waste of paper and a waste of judicial time.

    That is just the first problem that I see with this proposal. This proposal is simply an attempt to "punish" the few who don't properly represent their child clients.

    Cynthia J. Sweet
    Law Office of Cynthia Sweet
    9121 E. Tanque Verde, Ste. #105-180
    Tucson, AZ 85749
    Tel: (520) 760-2996
    Fax: (520) 760-2996

    01 May 2009 03:47 PM
    R-08-0029 Petition to Amend Rule 41, Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court

    Jakki Hillis
    Acting Assistant Director
    Division of Children, Youth and Families for the
    Arizona Department of Economic Security
    1789 West Jefferson Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85007
    Ph: (602)542-3598
    Fax: (602)542-3330

    19 May 2009 11:55 AM
    Jennifer Jordan
    Director of Indigent Juvenile Defense
    Office of the Yavapai County Public Defender
    595 white Spar Road, Prescott, AZ 86303
    Telephone (928) 771-3588
    Fax (928) 771-3413
    State Bar # 018814

    Pursuant to Rule 28 (D), attached below is Comment to Petition to Amend Rule 41 of the Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court.

    20 May 2009 04:26 PM
    Comment to Petition to Amend Rule 41, Rules of Procedure for Juvenile Court

    The petition to amend Rule 41 of the Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court would require children who are the subject of a dependency proceeding to be present at all hearings, except upon a written court order excusing a child from any or all hearings, for good cause shown, as well as require the Court to determine whether counsel for the child had meaningful contact with the child prior to every substantive hearing.

    Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan research, education and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting the well-being of Arizona’s children and families. We were partners with the Pew Charitable Trusts on a number of initiatives to improve the voice of foster children in the dependency court process. The work of the Pew Commission for Children in Foster Care is cited in the purpose and background statement in support of the proposed Rule. CAA’s work included two publications: (1) Getting From Here to There: A Guide to the Dependency Court for Children and Youth in Foster Care (January 2007) See: This publication focuses on providing foster youth with information including their rights and responsibilities to advocate for themselves in the dependency court process. (2) Hearing Their Voices: Children and Their Legal Representation in the Dependency Court (February 2008). See: This publication focuses on the practices of the juvenile courts and foster children’s legal representatives (i.e. attorneys and guardians ad litem) in the dependency court process. This research publication concluded that there is great variation around Arizona in how current court laws, rules and guidelines are applied for children and that some children are not receiving adequate legal representation or the opportunity to voice their own wishes in the court process. A number of recommendations were made to the Arizona Supreme Court, Juvenile Court Judges and the Department of Economic Security to improve these circumstances.

    CAA is supportive of the concepts expressed in the proposed court rule. We are concerned, however, in its implementation.

    We do believe that legal representatives should have regular meaningful contact with the children they represent and with the children’s caregivers and other team members working on behalf of the children. We believe that judges should personally know the children that they have responsibility for and whose lives depend on their decision-making; and we wholeheartedly, encourage children of all ages to attend court hearings. However, we are concerned that dependency courts throughout Arizona are not equipped to expeditiously handle these cases. It is a well known fact that foster children often fall far behind others in their school success; and school success enables children to have more positive outcomes as adults. Taking children out of school to attend court hearings is worthwhile if that court experience is positive and the child’s absence from school is minimized.

    It is therefore extremely important that scheduling of timely court hearings as well as space and equipment (e.g. age-appropriate furniture/chairs) to handle children of all ages should be in place in each court setting prior to the adoption of this pending court Rule. In order to accept and implement the proposed Rule, the Arizona Supreme Court should assure that each county’s dependency court have in place a calendaring system that schedules and holds hearings generally on time. There should be no allowance for scheduling multiple hearings at the same time (for example, all morning hearings at 9 am, and all afternoon hearings at 1 pm), or for scheduling court hearings when parties and legal representatives are double or triple booked on multiple different cases; thus delaying court proceedings sometimes by hours.

    The impact of such court delays has negative consequences for children as they would miss more of the school day than necessary. Court hearing delays also negatively impact the precious time resources of children’s case workers and caregivers who oftentimes transport children. Case workers and caregivers can and should encourage children’s attendance at court hearings, but they may not always do so if their own court experiences are not positive. Long waits in the court halls would, in the end, discourage children from attending court hearings rather than giving them the incentives and encouragement to do so.

    Beth Rosenberg
    Director of Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
    Children's Action Alliance
    4001 North 3rd Street, Suite 160
    Phoenix, Arizona 85012
    602-266-0707, ext. 206
    Cell: 602-616-4782
    Fax: 602-263-8792


    20 May 2009 08:05 PM
    Thea M. Gilbert
    P.O. Box 27670
    Tucson, AZ 85726-7670

    As an attorney representing children in Pima County Juvenile court since 1997, I can appreciate the intention behind this proposed rule change. However, I agree with many of the comments already submitted. Children attending court means they miss school, have to face their abusive parent in court prior to adequate therapeutic support and an established relationship with their attorney, casemanager and therapist, and places constraints on an already overly stressed system. Rather than require the child's attendance, the rule could read "may" be present. If a child client wants to attend, I often make arrangements or transport the client myself. In Pima County our judges are very supportive of child clients attending hearings and are sensitive to the needs of the children in determining when they should or should not be in the courtroom. This mandatory presence requirement will be overly burdensome to those who are responsible for the care of the children and to the judges who are required to sign an additional order each time it is not appropriate or necessary for children to attend.

    In addition, the Court should not be inquiring into the attorney-client relationship. There are other means by which a judge can determine if the attorney is adequately representing their child client rather than requiring a specific findings on a subjective basis. "Meaningful contact" varies from child to child and from case to case and should be left to the discretion of the attorney and not the Court.

    In conclusion, the proposed rule Amendment is overly broad and too stringent to meet the needs of children in foster care.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Thea M. Gilbert
    Attorney at Law

    20 May 2009 10:16 PM

    William Owsley
    Dependency Division Chief
    Office of the Legal Advocate
    3800 N. Central Avenue, Suite 1500
    Phoenix, AZ 85021
    Fax: 602-506-5885
    State Bar No. 015951

    Pursuant to Rule 28 (D), attached below is Comment to Petition to Amend Rule 41 of the Rules of Procedure for the Juvenile Court.

    23 Jun 2009 04:03 PM
    The Honorable Robert Brutinel
    Presiding Judge
    Superior Court in Yavapai County
    Chair, Committee on Juvenile Courts
    c/o Legal Services Office
    1501 W. Washington, Suite 414
    Phoenix, Arizona 85007-3231
    Topic is locked