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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I find out where my case is being heard?

Q: Can I talk to the judge outside of court?
A: No. By law, the judge can only speak with you in court in the presence of the opposing party.
Q: How should I refer to the judge when I am in court?
A: It is common court practice to refer to the judge as “Your Honor”, when appearing in court.
Q: If my case is scheduled for 8:30 AM, why wasn’t it called until 10:15 AM?
A: Cases are scheduled at various times of the day. Many cases are scheduled for the same time. If you are scheduled to appear at 8:30 AM. you can be called anytime between 8:30 AM. and 12 noon, depending on the number of people appearing in court. Please note, it is important to arrive in court on time since a roll call and general information regarding court procedures and services may begin before court convenes.
Q: What if I need an interpreter?
A: If you are involved in a criminal or domestic violence case and English is not your first language, please notify the Court immediately and you will be provided with an interpreter.
Q: Where should I stand when my case is called in Court?
A: When the judge calls your case it is important that you stand in front of the railing separating the audience from the judge. The bailiff will point you in the right direction if you have any questions.
Q: When will I speak with the judge?
A: When your case is called in court, this will be your opportunity to speak with the judge directly or through your attorney.
Q: Can I look at my file?

Court/Legal Terms

  • The Judgeis the central figure in the courtroom and is generally seated higher than everyone else. The judge allows both sides the opportunity to present their version of the facts. The Judge oversees the trial and decides legal questions that arise.
  • The Courtroom Clerk/Bailiffsits at the desk to one side of the judge. The clerk is an officer of the court and records a summary of what happens in a case, orders made by the court during the trial, and the verdict at the end of the trial. The clerk may administer the oath or affirmation to jurors and all witnesses and marks all exhibits when they are received in evidence.
  • Witnessesgive testimony concerning the issue being tried.
  • ThePlaintiff (also called the Petitioner) is the person who submits a complaint to the court. In a criminal case, this would be the State of Arizona.
  • TheDefendant (also called the Respondent) is the person against whom the complaint is brought. The defendant is the person charged with an offense.
  • Lawyer, Attorney, and Counsel are names referring to the legal representative of a party in trial.
  • TheCity Attorney/Prosecutor is the prosecuting officer who represents the State in criminal cases.
  • The Jury is a group of individuals from the community selected to hear evidence in a court case and decide the case based on the facts.
  • Pro per is a term derived from the Latin in propria, meaning "for one's self", used to describe a person who handles his or her own case without a lawyer. When a non-lawyer files his or her own legal papers, he or she is expected to write "in pro per" at the bottom of the heading on the first page.

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