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NEW! The Court acted on many pending rule petitions at its August 29, 2017 Rules Agenda.  

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This website allows you to electronically file and monitor court rule petitions and comments and to view existing rules of court, recent amendments of those rules, and pending rule petitions and comments. Any visitor to this site may view posts on this website, but to post a petition or comment you must register and log in. To view instructions on how to register and how to file a petition or comment, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. 
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Last Post 02 Oct 2017 03:32 PM by  Martin Lynch
R-17-0049 Rule 72 Sua Sponte Appointments of Special Masters
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Author Messages
Martin Lynch
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Posts:18 New Member

02 Oct 2017 03:32 PM
    This petition would amend Rule 72, Rules of Family Court Procedure, to allow the trial court to appoint a family law master only if the parties stipulated to the appointment in writing or on the record in open court.

    Pursuant to Rule 28, Rules of the Supreme Court, Martin Lynch, on behalf of the People of Arizona, and joined in the spirit of Peter Swann, Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals and Paul McMurdie, Appellate Judge and former Presiding Judge of the Family Court of the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County in R-16-0037 respectfully petitions this Court to adopt the attached proposed amendment to Rule 72 of the Rules of Family Law Procedure. Since this petition is thought to be Nunc Pro Tunc, to correct a mere clerical error, Petitioners respectfully request permission to file this petition outside the Rule 28 timelines to allow the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to consider this proposal and take appropriate action at his earliest opportunity. 

    Please see the attached for an illustration of
    “Only if each parent has agreed to the appointment” in Rule 74
    and necessary placement in Rule 72.

    The esteemed Judiciary of our State realized in well-crafted arguments that forcing an expensive 3rd party upon litigants over their objections was a violation of their Civil Rights. Rule 74 was changed accordingly (attached). See the word “only”.
    A loop hole in this Rule 74 prohibition arose. Some Parenting Coordinators began seeking Sua Sponte appointments under Rule 72 as “Special Masters”. To preclude this renewed violation of Rights, the Court set out to apply the same protections to Rule 72 in R-16-0037 (see attached Petition of May 18, 2016). The change and the stated intent of the change were adopted and enacted effective Jan 1, 2017 (see attached one page order).
    The People have discovered that some Family Court Judges have returned to making Sua Sponte appointments of “Special Masters” on their own motion over the objections of litigants under the revised Rule 72. Judges Swann and McMurdie (affirmed by Chief Justice Bales) are clear in the intent of the amendment to Rule 72: "Would (1) preclude the trial court from appointing a family law master on its own motion without the agreement of the parties."

    The People seek a Nunc Pro Tunc correction by the Chief Justice to simply affirm and clarify by adding the word “ONLY” as the first word in the new amended Rule 72, which apparently has been inadvertently left out . This absent word has eviscerated the clear intent of the change stated in the Rule Petition R-16-0037 and subsequent administrative order rendered by the Chief Justice included herein.

    The People believe this to be a mere “Nunc Pro Tunc” clerical error which can be easily and immediately corrected by administrative order signed by the Chief Justice at his convenience, under the administrative authorities granted to him by Art 6 Sect 3 of the AZ State Constitution.

    The People respectfully request the Chief Justice place the word “Only” as the first word in the amended Rule 72.

    To all Family Court Judges: If you are considering making Sua Sponte appointments based upon a “clerical error” in Rule 72, please don’t do that. The intent of the changes recently implemented by the Arizona State Supreme Court are clear in the one page implementation order signed by the Honorable Chief Justice Scott Bales (attached).

    Thank-you for protecting the Rights of the People.

    /s/ Martin Lynch
    1120 w Broadway Rd, Apt 55
    Tempe AZ, 85282

    Invitation to cooperate in related Process Improvements is extended to Mr Barry Brody and Mr David Horowitz herein.

    FILED 10/2/2017

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