Justice of the peace courts have jurisdiction of misdemeanors and criminal offenses
punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars and 84% surcharge
or imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed six months. Additional penalties
and surcharges are not considered part of the fine for jurisdictional purposes.
Justice courts may commence action against felony offenders through preliminary
hearings to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant is
guilty of an offense and should answer in superior court. If you elect to proceed
with a preliminary hearing in justice court, a transcript of that proceeding may
be used in any trial in Superior Court.
The Superior Court of Navajo County is located in Holbrook, in the same Governmental
Complex as the Public Defender and County Attorney offices. This court has jurisdiction
over criminal matters including felonies and misdemeanors, as well as civil and
other cases enumerated in the Arizona Constitution, Art. 6, Sec. 14.
Drug Court is a court-managed, drug intervention and treatment program. Drug Court
may be offered by the Prosecutor to a defendant who is or will be placed on probation.
There may be significant benefits such as dismissal of the charges (deferred prosecution)
upon successful completion of the program. The Defense Attorney will review the
terms of a Drug Court plea agreement with the defendant after researching the case
and all defenses, and after determining that the Prosecutor is willing to offer
a Drug Court plea agreement. An assessment and interview will determine whether
the defendant is a substance abuser. If eligible for Drug Court after the assessment,
the defendant must be willing to commit to the entire program. The program may be
successfully completed within one year. Drug Court is currently held in Holbrook
and Show Low Justice Courts. Termination from the program occurs if the Drug Court
Committee determines that the defendant will not complete the program successfully.
That decision is based on circumstances including but not limited to new felony
or misdemeanor convictions; violent behavior or threats of violence towards self
or others; inappropriate, disruptive, or noncompliant behavior; continued violations
of program rules; or if the participant absconds from the program. In that event,
the defendant’s probation will be revoked and sentencing will be for the original
charge set forth in the Drug Court plea agreement. More information may be obtained
in the Drug Court Orientation Manual.
Domestic Violence Court
A newly formed Domestic Violence (D/V) Court went into operation in Show Low Justice
Court at the end of October, 2009. The Court refers first-time misdemeanor offenders
with no previous domestic violence convictions to the D/V prosecutor at the initial
appearance. The Prosecutor screens the candidates and determines whether the defendant
is appropriate for the program. The court-appointed (or retained) Defense Attorney
reviews the case and all possible defenses and if trial is not viable, discusses
the Domestic Violence Plea agreement with the defendant. If the defendant enters
a D/V guilty plea and completes the program, including 26 domestic violence classes
over a nine- month period, the charges will be dismissed. The aim of the D/V Court
is to enable defendants to acquire skills and tools to prevent further involvement
in domestic violence incidents, and to assist the victim by appropriate referrals
to supportive agencies and programs. If the defendant fails to complete the program,
the justice court will proceed with sentencing pursuant to the terms of the plea
agreement. There are significant benefits to the program. The mandatory education
sessions have a reduced fee, the charges are dismissed after successful completion
of the program, and the federal law banning firearms for D/V offenders is avoided.
Perhaps the most positive benefit of the program are the classes. They are provided
in a non-threatening, non-intimidating context so that the defendant can process
the information and recognize the triggers producing the behavior, and how to achieve
control over the behavior.
The Navajo County Juvenile Court presides over criminal matters involving persons
under the age of 18. Juvenile offenders have the right to court-appointed counsel
in all proceedings involving offenses, dependency or termination of parental rights
pursuant to Title 8 of the Arizona Revised Statutes that may result in detention.
Juveniles can be prosecuted as adults. Arizona Revised Statute 13-501 and the Arizona
Constitution provide for criminal prosecution in cases against 15, 16 and 17-year-old
defendants involving charges of first degree murder in violation of A.R.S. 13-1105;
second degree murder in violation of A.R.S. 13-1104, forcible sexual assault in
violation of A.R.S. 13-1406; armed robbery in violation of A.R.S. 13-1904; any other
violent felony offense; any felony offense committed by a chronic felony offender;
or any offense properly joined to an offense listed above. The aim of the Juvenile
Court is to comply with constitutional, statutory, and administrative requirements
which focus on treatment and rehabilitation as well as protection of the community
and youth. Programs include delinquency prevention, treatment, probation, statewide
automation and other related activities.