Court Information             Court Policies             Frequently Asked Questions



Court Policies
Division Two of the Court of appeals has adopted policies affecting procedural matters not governed by rules of court. Many of these policies are explained here to assist the public and members of the bar.
I. BRIEFS
A. Civil appeals.
In civil cases, extensions are ordinarily granted. However, any such request must be made by motion. When possible, a party should determine if the opposing party has any opposition to the motion and, if there is no such opposition, the party seeking the extension should so indicate in the motion.
B. Criminal appeals.
In criminal cases, a party must request an extension by motion that sets forth good cause for granting it. In that motion, counsel should state whether or not the opposing party opposes the request. If an opening brief is not filed and the due date has passed, the court issues an order setting the matter for an order to show cause hearing that may result in the imposition of sanctions. If the late brief is an answering brief, the court issues an order stating the case will be deemed at issue if the answering brief is not filed within five days.
C. Juvenile appeals.
Juvenile appeals in parental rights severance cases or child dependencies are treated somewhat like civil appeals, although after one extension the court is likely to carefully scrutinize the reason for the requested extension. Juvenile cases must be expedited, as they are virtually always time sensitive. The court is less likely to grant repeated extensions in delinquency appeals, requiring extraordinary circumstances to justify extensions after the first one, which requires a showing of good cause.
D. Briefs sent to Thomson-West Publishing.
Counsel should be aware that most briefs filed with the court are sent to Thomson-West Publishing for inclusion in its Arizona brief bank service. Briefs in the following case types will NOT be sent to Thomson-West: juvenile court cases; domestic relations cases; criminal cases involving sexual offenses or child abuse offenses; and mental health cases. In OTHER types of cases, if counsel prefer that a brief not be included in the brief bank service, they can contact Thomson-West. Contact information is provided in the court's briefing orders.
II. SPECIAL ACTIONS

A. Defects
Special action petitions and related documents may be rejected by the court if they fail to comply with the rules or if they are tendered without a required filing fee. Make sure you review the Rules of Procedure for Special Actions, and any other applicable rules or laws before filing a petition.

B. Stays
The Court of Appeals will not grant a stay unless the superior court has already heard and denied a stay request.

When the special action petition and stay request are filed, the petitioner must speak directly with the person in the clerk’s office who handles special actions, either personally or telephonically by calling the court’s general number. Arrangements will then be made for a judge to hear the stay request. Stay hearings are generally conducted telephonically. The case is assigned to a panel at the time it is filed. The stay request will be heard by the presiding judge of the panel to which the case is assigned or another judge from that panel if the presiding judge is unavailable. Petitioner will be directed to the secretary for the judge hearing the stay request and will be responsible for notifying the other party(s) of the hearing and arranging any telephonic calls for the stay hearing.

A petitioner seeking a stay should consider whether there is sufficient time for completion of all briefing and whether there is a reasonable amount of time thereafter for the court to decide the special action without a stay. Petitioner should be prepared to explain any period of delay between the time the respondent trial judge entered the order from which the special action is being taken and the time the stay is being sought.

If a stay is granted, the court will enter an order so stating, setting the time for opposing counsel to file a response to the petition for special action and a reply, if any, and directing service.
C. General Information
A special action petition that is not accompanied by a stay request will be considered shortly after it is filed by the presiding judge of each panel, or another judge from that panel if the presiding judge is not available. The judge will determine whether a response to the petition for special action is warranted and will enter an order accordingly, setting the time for filing the response and a reply, if any. The court may set oral argument at that time if is requested or if the court believes oral argument will be helpful.

When all briefing is completed, the panel of the court to which the special action has been assigned will consider the special action, deciding whether to decline jurisdiction, accept jurisdiction but deny relief, or accept jurisdiction and grant relief. If the court declines jurisdiction, it will do so in an order. If the court accepts jurisdiction, it may do so in either an order, a decision order, or a published opinion.
III. INFORMATION RELATED SPECIFICALLY TO CRIMINAL APPEALS
A. Stay of appeal pending Rule 32 proceedings.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, the court of appeals will not stay a criminal appeal pending the outcome of post-conviction proceedings filed pursuant to Rule 32, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. But, if a party obtains relief in a Rule 32 proceeding, that party should inform the Court of Appeals, filing a status report and attaching a copy of the minute entry granting the relief, since it may affect a pending appeal.
B. Voluntary Dismissal of Appeal
A party may voluntarily dismiss an appeal but if the appellant is the defendant and the defendant is represented by counsel, the defendant must sign the notice of or motion for dismissal, reflecting his or her agreement with the same.
IV. ORAL ARGUMENT
Both panels schedule oral arguments on Wednesday afternoons unless special circumstances prevent them from doing so. A request for oral argument must be made in writing before the reply brief is due or filed. The court will rule on the request for oral argument by order shortly thereafter, at the time the case is submitted to the court for its consideration, which is when all briefing is completed and the record is complete. If a party cannot attend oral argument when scheduled, the party may seek a continuance by filing a motion. The Court of Appeals prefers that the party contact opposing counsel to determine if there is any objection to a continuance and specify a time frame within which to reschedule the oral argument, so noting in the motion.

Parties will receive a notice, advising them whether a request for oral argument was granted and, if so, the date and time of the argument. The parties will be asked at that time whether they do not want a draft decision provided in advance of argument. The draft is prepared by one of the three judges of the panel to which the case has been assigned. A party who does not want a draft decision must notify the court in writing within 10 days of the date of the order granting oral argument.

The court allots 25 minutes per side for oral argument in all cases except special actions, in which case parties have 15 minutes per side, and in cases heard pursuant to Rule 29, in which the parties have 30 minutes per side. Because time is allocated per side, multiple appellants or appellees must divide the time among themselves. If a party wants more time, the party may make that request at the time oral argument is requested.

An amicus curiae ("friend of the court" ) must obtain advance permission to argue.

Parties should be aware that before oral argument, the panel of judges to which the case has been assigned has read the briefs and any draft decision that was issued. Consequently, unless a judge expresses an interest otherwise, the parties may assume the court is familiar with the facts and procedural posture of the case and should focus arguments on the legal issues. The panel will confer after oral argument about the case.
V. ACCELERATED APPEALS
Rule 29, Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, provides for an accelerated disposition of an appeal. A party wishing to proceed pursuant to the rule should file a motion before the reply brief is filed or is due. If a stipulation can be obtained, that is preferred. Generally, the Court of Appeals sets the accelerated appeals for oral argument and issues a written ruling within three days of argument. The ruling, which is generally in the form of a Decision Order, is comparatively brief; issues are decided in a more summary fashion than in memorandum decisions or published opinions in order to expedite the process.
VI. MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION
A party may file a motion for reconsideration in all cases except juvenile cases and orders declining jurisdiction in special actions. In accordance with Rule 22(b), Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, and Rule 31.18(b), Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure, a party may not file a response to a motion for reconsideration unless the Court of Appeals so orders.

A party should not merely reiterate the arguments set forth in the appeal briefs. In fact, both the civil and criminal appellate rules provide that a motion for reconsideration "shall be directed solely to discussion of those specific points or matters in which it is claimed the appellate court erred in determination of facts or law."
VII. REQUESTS FOR PUBLICATION
The Court treats motions or requests for publication of a memorandum decision as an opinion as motions for reconsideration. Such requests may be captioned as motions for reconsideration. ARCAP 22 and Rule 31.18 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure apply to motions for publication in civil and criminal cases respectively. Therefore, such motions must be filed within fifteen days of the Court's decision.
VIII. SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
The court of appeals has a very successful settlement program, which offers litigants an alternative to allowing the case to proceed through the appellate process. For more information on the program, click here.