Month: April 2013

Criminal Defense: Flagstaff Justice Court

This article is part of our “Criminal Defense in Northern Arizona Courts” series. We decided to publish this series because Northern Arizona is extremely diverse. And the courts of Northern Arizona are similarly diverse. Each court has different judges, prosecutors, rules, culture, bond schedules, and procedures.

Flagstaff Justice Court is located at 200 N. San Francisco Street in downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. The Flagstaff Justice Court has two courtrooms on the first floor of the Coconino County Superior Court. Flagstaff Justice Court handles both misdemeanor and felony cases. If a felony case is in the Flagstaff Justice Court, then it is in the Preliminary Hearing stage. Once a Justice of the Peace, or a Grand Jury, finds that probable cause exists in a felony case, the case will be transferred out of the Flagstaff Justice Court and up to the Coconino County Superior Court for further prosecution. Misdemeanor cases can be resolved in the Flagstaff Justice Court. Even a jury trial can take place in Flagstaff Justice Court, so long as it is a DUI case. Typically, the prosecutors and the defense attorneys will meet at Pre-Trial Conferences (PTC’s) to negotiate a non-trial resolution. If a case is not resolved with a plea agreement, the case will either be dismissed or will go to trial. If it’s a non-DUI misdemeanor case, the trial will be called a bench trial, which means that the Justice of the Peace will be the fact-finder (i.e., the Justice of the Peace will determine your guilt or innocence, much like a jury does in a felony case or a misdemeanor DUI case).

Who are the Justices of the Peace in Flagstaff Justice Court?

There is one publicly elected Justice of the Peace and one appointed Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore in Flagstaff Justice Court. The elected Justice of the Peace is the Honorable Howard Grodman. The Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore is the Honorable Erika Arlington. Judge Grodman was with the Coconino County Public Defender’s Office when he ran and was elected in 2010, replacing the retiring Judge Brian Kolb. In late 2012, Judge Arlington, whose prior experience includes prosecution and criminal defense, was appointed as the Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore.

Both Judge Grodman and Judge Arlington can preside over criminal cases, felony preliminary hearings, initial appearances (where an initial bond will be set on in-custody defendants), misdemeanor trials, and other civil proceedings.

According to Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) section 22-201: B. Justices of the peace have exclusive original jurisdiction of all civil actions when the amount involved, exclusive of interest, costs and awarded attorney fees when authorized by law, is ten thousand dollars or less.

Flagstaff Justice Court can also hear forcible entry and detainer actions, landlord-tenant disputes, and other civil actions, as dictated by Arizona statutes.

The Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC handles all criminal cases in Flagstaff Justice Court, whether it’s arguing for release from confinement, a DUI trial, or a preliminary hearing in a major felony case, we have the experience to get the best results. If you have a case in Flagstaff Justice Court, contact us right away for a free consultation.