Thursday, January 3, 2013

Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona:

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A  r  i  z  o  n  a      J  u  v  e  n  i  l  e    C  o  u  r   t  s

                                              Terminating

                                      Parental Rights

                                              by Jury Trial

                                                  in Arizona:

                                A First Year Look

                                                                 May 2005

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Children’s Action Alliance

      Board of Directors

               David J. Bodney

                  Chairman

               Laura Almquist

                David Bartlett

             Charles Blanchard

                                                          Children's Action Alliance (CAA) is a non-profit, non-

                 Fred DuVal                               partisan   organization    dedicated   to  promoting    the

                                                          well-being   of  all  of  Arizona's  children   and   their

                 Kay Ekstrom                              families through research, policy development, media

              Armando Flores                              campaigns and advocacy.

                 Sybil Francis

              Jaime Gutierrez

                Nora Hannah

                David Howell

               Diane Johnsen

                 Martin Latz

                John Loredo

               Steven W. Lynn

                                                          This   publication   was   underwritten   by   a   grant   from

                Bruce Merrill

                                                          Fostering   Results,   a   national,   nonpartisan   project   to

                Susan Navran                              raise awareness of issues facing children in foster care.

                                                          Fostering Results is supported by a grant from The Pew

             Christine Nowaczyk                           Charitable     Trusts   to  the   Children    and   Family

                Steve Roman                               Research Center at the School of Social Work of the

                                                          University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To learn

              Brenda Sperduti                             more        about     Fostering      Results     go       to

               Carolyn Warner                             www.fosteringresults.org.

             Carol Kamin, Ph.D.

               President/CEO

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                                                        Terminating

                                                Parental Rights

                                                        by Jury Trial

                                                            in Arizona:

                                          A First Year Look

                                                                           May 2005

Children’s Action Alliance prepared this report with the assistance of consultants, Gene C. Siegel, and Maureen

Domogala.  Children’s  Action  Alliance  would  also  like  to  thank  the  Arizona  Supreme  Court,  Administrative

Office of the Courts, Dependent Children’s Services Division, and the Office of the Arizona Attorney General,

Child and Family Protection Division for the collection of court and case statistical data as well as the many

judges, Child Protective Services staff and attorneys who were interviewed for this report and are acknowledged

individually in Appendix B.

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

FOREWORD

     The     juvenile    courts    play   a   critical  role   in    juvenile     court    reform     in   Arizona,     the   current

providing oversight and assuring accountability of                    dependency court hearing process and plans for court

our Child Protective Services (CPS) System, which                     improvement.       Based    on   this  study,  we   found    that

is   mandated       to  protect     abused     and   neglected        funding for Arizona’s juvenile courts has not kept pace

children,         provide       permanent          homes        if    with   the   critical   reforms   mandated   by   the   Arizona

reunification with the family is not appropriate, and                 State Legislature. This report concluded that without

assure the well-being of children in the state’s care.                additional resources, the expected results for CPS and

Recognizing the importance of the courts, the Pew                     the child welfare system in Arizona will not be totally

Commission on Children in Foster Care1  developed                     realized   as   the   courts   will   not   have   the   means   to

policy     recommendations            in   2004     related    to     provide effective and timely oversight that will enhance

improving court oversight of child welfare cases to                   the safety, well-being and permanency of children in

achieve better and more timely decisions affecting                    the state’s care.

children’s safety, permanence and well-being.                              This    second     report,  Arizona     Juvenile   Courts   -

                                                                      Terminating  Parental  Rights  by  Jury  Trial  in  Arizona:  A

The Pew Commission’s recommendations                                  First   Year  Look,   examines      the   legislative  mandate

call for:                                                             initiated    in   December       2003,   without     additional

                                                                      funding, to allow jury trials for termination of parental

     • Adoption   of   court   performance   measures   by            rights hearings based on a parent’s request. This first

       every dependency court to ensure that they can                 year look at jury trials reveals that this mandate affects

       track    and    analyze    their   caseloads,    increase      the     juvenile    court’s    resources     and     case    flow

       accountability       for   improved      outcomes      for     management          and    places    significant     additional

       children,     and    inform     decisions     about    the     burdens on all parties to these proceedings, including

       allocation of court resources;                                 CPS,    the   Attorney    General’s    Office   and    attorneys

                                                                      representing  children  and  their  parents.  This  strain

     • Incentives      and    requirements        for   effective     on    system    resources    also   indirectly   harms     other

       collaboration between courts and child welfare                 children’s      cases    because     scarce    resources      are

       agencies on behalf of children in foster care;                 redirected     to   the   jury  trial  process.    The   critical

                                                                      question     is  whether    the   benefits   of  the   jury  trial

     • A strong voice for children and parents in court               process       outweigh        the     potentially      negative

       and   effective   representation   by   better   trained       consequences   on   the   permanency   goals   of   all   the

       attorneys and volunteer advocates;                             children in the state’s foster care system.

     • Leadership from Chief Justices and other state

       court leaders in organizing their court systems to

       better    serve   children,    providing    training   for

      judges, and promoting more effective standards

       for dependency courts, judges, and attorneys.

     In     response      to    these     recommendations,

Children’s Action Alliance has produced two reports

examining the work of Arizona’s Juvenile Courts.

     The first report, Arizona Juvenile Courts: Working to

Improve   Outcomes   for   Abused   and   Neglected   Children,

available   on   Children’s   Action   Alliance’s   website   at

www.azchildren.org,         presents    the   past   decade    of

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

                                                       Table of Contents

FOREWORD  .............................................................. 3   How are contested TPR trials handled

                                                                             in Arizona? ..................................................................18

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY............................................6

                                                                             How are TPR jury trials assigned to judges

INTRODUCTION......................................................11         in the four counties that held jury trials?................18

BACKGROUND AND HISTORY                                                       What are the procedures for requesting

OF TPR JURY TRIALS IN ARIZONA ....................12                         and scheduling TPR jury trials?................................19

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS                                                        Are TPR trials open to the public? ..........................22

How many TPR jury trials                                                     Who participates in TPR jury trials? ........................23

have been requested? ................................................13

                                                                             What are the differences between

How many TPR jury and bench trials                                           TPR jury trials, bench trials

have been completed? ..............................................13        and other jury trials? ..................................................24

What were the outcomes of jury                                               Who is requesting TPR jury trials

and bench trials that were completed?  ..................14                  in Arizona? ..................................................................24

What happens to the children                                                 What impact do jury trials have on

when a jury or judge decides                                                 the courts, attorneys, CPS, and children? ..............25

not to terminate parental rights?  ............................14

                                                                             Where are jury trials being held? ............................29

What were the outcomes of cases

when jury trials were requested                                              RECOMMENDATIONS............................................30

but did not go to trial? ..............................................15

                                                                             Appendix A – Arizona statutes regarding

Why are relatively few TPR jury trials                                       termination of parental rights

actually completed and when                                                  and permanency hearings ........................................31

do they tend to resolve? ............................................15

                                                                             Appendix B – Individuals interviewed

How long do jury and bench trial cases                                       for this report..............................................................34

take from point of request to completion? ............16

                                                                             ENDNOTES ................................................................35

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                                                                                                                 Children’s Action Alliance

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

     This report provides an overview of Arizona’s first                    • Four of Arizona’s fifteen counties experienced

year   experiences   with   jury   trials   in   termination   of             completed TPR jury trials (i.e. trials that resulted

parental     rights   cases   (also   known     as   severance,              in jury verdicts) during this period.

termination or TPR).

     The ability of parents to request TPR jury trials in                   • Because      of  the   low   number       of  jury   trials

Arizona      became      law   as  a  result   of   the   Special             completed, it is too early to determine whether

Legislative Session on Child Protective Services (CPS)                      jury   trials   are   more   or   less   likely   than   bench

held during the fall of 2003. The law became effective                       trials   to   result   in   the   termination   of   parental

on December 18, 2003 and will expire after December                          rights. Outcomes for jury and bench trials are

31,  2006  unless  reauthorized  by  the  legislature.  The                  as follows:

information and perspectives provided in this first year

look    at  severance     jury   trials  were   derived     from               In Jury Trials -

interviews    with   judges,   Assistant   Attorneys    General              • 16 of the 17 completed jury trials resulted in

(AGs),   attorneys   representing   parents   and   children,                 jury verdicts severing parental rights on all or

and CPS case managers who were involved with TPR                               some of the children.

jury    trials   from    December        18,   2003,    through               • One completed jury trial resulted in a verdict

December 17, 2004.                                                             in which parental rights were not terminated.

     As  a  first  year  look  at  the  jury  trial  process,  the

findings     and    recommendations          provided     in  this              In Bench Trials -

report should be considered preliminary.                                     • 151 of the 158 completed bench trials resulted

                                                                                in judges’ rulings severing parental rights on

Summary Findings                                                               all or some of the children.

                                                                              • Seven     completed      bench     trials  resulted   in

     This review of the implementation of jury trials for                      judges’  rulings  in  which  parental  rights  were

TPR has found:                                                                 not terminated.

     • Statewide,         167     TPR     jury     trials    were           • When a jury or judge rules against terminating

        requested from December 18, 2003 through                              parental rights it does not mean that children

        December 17, 2004.                                                    are   immediately       returned     to  their   parents’

                                                                              custody.   In   fact,   the   children   continue   to   be

     • Excluding   pending   cases,   only   13   percent   of                adjudicated   dependent   and   will   likely   remain

       all jury trial requests (17 cases) resulted in jury                   with foster parents, relatives, or another out-of-

        trials being completed to verdict. Eighty-seven                       home   setting   while   CPS   works   toward   a   new

       percent   of   cases   involving   jury   trial   requests             permanent plan.

       were resolved before jury trials were held. Half

        the   cases   resolved     resulted    in  bench     trials         • Bench   trials   are   more   likely   to   be   held   and

        either   because   the   parent   withdrew   the   jury               completed as scheduled than TPR jury trials.

        trial request, failed to appear at the jury trial,                    In   Pima   County2,   there   were   45   TPR   bench

        or failed to appear at the pre-trial conference.                      trials   set   during   this   period   and,   excluding

       Just under one-third of the parents requesting                         pending       cases,    71    percent      resulted     in

       jury trials relinquished their parental rights at                      completed bench trials.

       some point before juries rendered verdicts in

        their trials. And, in eight percent of the cases,                   • Comparison data between jury and bench trials

        CPS withdrew its motion for severance.                                is   limited,   but   preliminary   Pima   County   data

                                                                              indicate     that   jury   trials   (when     held    and

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

       completed)       took   an   average    of   121   days   to           services   to   assure   safety,   child   well-being   and

       complete,   from   the   point   of   the   permanency                 permanency for other children (not involved in

       hearing, compared to 137 days for TPR bench                            the jury trial process) may be delayed because of

       trials.   This    is   primarily     due    to   calendar              the lack of additional and sufficient funding to

       congestion and scheduling practices that spread                        support the jury trial process.

       out the completion of bench trials (i.e., bench

       trials may be segmented over a period of days or                     • The roles of Court Appointed Special Advocates

       even    weeks    rather    than   completed      within    a            (CASAs),      Guardians       ad   litem   (GALs)      and

       continuous time period).                                               children’s  attorneys  are  not  clearly  defined  by

                                                                              court rule or statute in the TPR jury trial process.

     • The vast majority of both jury and bench trial

       decisions      to  terminate      parental     rights   are          • Arizona has adopted the national juvenile court

       appealed. When a case is on appeal, the child                          standard      of  One     Family/One       Judge    for   all

       who is the subject of the severance cannot be                          dependency   court   processes.   However,   having

       adopted until the appeal is concluded.                                 the same judge hear the dependency case and

                                                                              also preside over the severance hearing may be

     • TPR jury trials have more elements that could                          one important factor in the parent’s decision to

       lead to mistrials or appeals (whether successful                       request   a   TPR   trial   by   jury.   Because   of   court

       or   not)   of   the   verdicts.   Mistrials   and   appeals           calendaring        and   jury   trial   accommodation

       will   result    in   delays     of   permanency        for            issues,    Maricopa       and    Pima    Counties      have

       children.     In   FY  2004,    the   average    time    for           designated specific judges to handle all TPR jury

       Court     of   Appeals     Division     1   to  decide     a           trials; thus deviating from the One Family/One

       dependency   or   TPR   case   on   appeal   was   285                 Judge standard.

       days; for Division 2, it was 338 days.

                                                                            • Because so few jury trial requests actually result in

     • Jury trials are taking priority over other hearings                    trials   held,   some   of   the   judges   responsible   for

       and     case   management        activities.   Therefore,              TPR jury trials experienced substantial blocks of

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                                                                                                            Children’s Action Alliance

  “down time” (i.e., unanticipated stretches of time              Recommendations

  on     judges’     schedules      when     no    hearings

  occurred).      To   better   plan   their  time,   judges      1. Based   on   the   first   year   experience   of   TPR   jury

  started    the    practice    of  stacking    trials  (i.e.,       trials, including the negative impact on workloads

  scheduling      multiple    trials  for  the  same    time         affecting   other   dependent   children’s   safety,   well-

  period). This practice reduces the likelihood of                   being     and   permanency        needs,    the   legislature

judges experiencing substantial down time, but it                   should allow the TPR jury trial provision to sunset.

  does not reduce or save time for the attorneys                     If there is consideration of reauthorizing this law,

  and CPS case managers who must still prepare                       the legislature should appropriate sufficient funds

  for   each   one   of   the   pending   stacked   trials   in      to support the additional costs for jury trials and to

  addition to their other cases.                                     address workloads of all involved parties.

• Jury    trials  have   a  significant    impact    on   the     2. The Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s

  workloads      of   key   parties   involved     in  these         Office should continue tracking both TPR jury

  proceedings.   AGs,   attorneys   for   children   and             and   bench   trials   and   expand   data   collection   to

  parents   and   CPS   case   managers   estimate   that            include:

  TPR jury trials take from three to ten times more

  time      than    TPR      bench      trials,   including            • Data     on   the   number,      outcomes      and   time-

  preparation and time in court.                                         frames   of   appeals   and   mistrials   for   both   jury

                                                                         and      bench      trials   and     the    impact      on

• In the four counties, there is consensus that TPR                      permanency for the children.

jury trials cost more than bench trials although

  there was no state appropriation to implement                         • How many days it takes from the permanency

  the jury trial provision of the new law.                                hearing and request for a jury or bench trial

                                                                          to   completion   of   the   trial   and   the   jury   or

• The jury trial option must be viewed in light of its                   judge’s decision.

  effects    on   other    children’s    cases.   CPS    case

  managers preparing for TPR jury trials have less                     • An    analysis   of  the   relevant   characteristics    of

  time to see other children on their caseloads and                      parents who are requesting jury trials including

  work     toward    the   well-being     of  those    other             how      many     requests     are    being    made      by

  children. Attorneys for parents and children as                        incarcerated parents, how many are being made

  well as AGs have less time to prepare for other                        by   parents     with   documented       severe    mental

  cases on their workload, all parties must shuffle                      illnesses,   and   how   many   are   being   made   by

  and reshuffle court hearings as jury trials may be                     parents with chronic substance abuse problems.

  held or cancelled.

                                                                       • What happens to children after a jury or judge

• There      is  a  continuing     need     for  basic   and             decides not to terminate parental rights.

  specialized      training    for  judges,    AGs,    other

  attorneys, CPS case managers, CASAs and GALs                    3. Prior to any decision to extend this legislation, the

  on topics relevant to TPR jury trials.                             Supreme Court or the Legislature’s Office of the

                                                                     Auditor      General     should     conduct     a   cost   and

                                                                     workload analysis of jury trials including:

                                                                       • An evaluation of why so few jury trial requests

                                                                         actually result in jury trials being completed, and

                                                                         the costs associated with this outcome.

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

     • The      impact     on    parties    and     case    flow     8. The Supreme Court and the Arizona Department

       management   whether   or   not   the   jury   trial   is        of   Economic      Security    should    make     additional

       actually held.                                                   training available for judges, AGs, other attorneys,

                                                                        CPS case managers, CASAs and GALs on TPR jury

     • The   costs   associated   with   remodeling   juvenile          trial issues including courtroom testimony.

       courts   to   accommodate   juries   and   the   related

       expenses that would allow jury trials to be held

       at juvenile court centers.

     • The TPR by jury workload as it affects other

       dependency         cases   not   directly    associated

       with the jury trials including other children’s

       well-being and timeliness of permanency.

     • An   assessment   of   whether   the   option   of   jury

       trials is fostering more adversarial proceedings

       in dependency matters.

4. As an alternative to a jury trial, the courts should

   consider allowing parents to make a formal written

   request to have a different judge preside over the

   severance trial than the judge responsible for their

   child’s    dependency       case.   (Other    jurisdictions,

   including the 65th Judicial District Children’s Court

   in El Paso, Texas, have successfully implemented

   this     practice     without     adverse      effects     on

   permanency for children.)

5. The Supreme Court’s Court Improvement Project

   should move forward with new rules to expedite (to

   within 90 days) the Court of Appeals’ consideration

   and findings in termination of parental rights cases.

   (Iowa has successfully implemented this expedited

   appeals process.)

6. The judges in Maricopa and Pima Counties should

   explore ways to issue findings and rulings in bench

   trials in a more expedited manner than waiting up

   to the 60 days permitted to issue their findings after

   a trial commences.

7. The Supreme Court should update court rules to

   clarify   the   roles   of   CASAs,   GALs,   and   children’s

   attorneys in contested TPR trials.

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

INTRODUCTION

     For many people, the ability to be tried by a jury                Attorneys General (AGs) who prosecute TPR cases,

of    ones’    peers    is  a   foundation       of   American         CPS    case   managers,      and   attorneys    who    represent

jurisprudence       and   the   embodiment        of  our   court       children       and/or       parents     in    these     matters.

process. However, of all cases heard in our courts –                   Comparisons   among   the   four   counties7        (Maricopa,

including  civil,  criminal,  and  juvenile  matters  –  few           Mohave,  Pima  and  Yuma  counties)  that  completed

actually  go  to  juries.  Most  cases  are  resolved  before          TPR   jury   trials,   including   different   experiences   in

they get to trial and those that do go to trial are often              metropolitan and rural counties, will also be drawn

decided by a judge, not a jury. In the vast majority of               where applicable. And comparisons between jury and

juvenile courts, jury trials in abuse or neglect matters                bench trials will also be discussed when relevant.

are extremely rare, even in states that permit jury trials                 This initial look at TPR jury trials in Arizona was

in dependency cases.3                                                  based on interviews with professionals involved in trials

     Perhaps  no  decision  made  by  juvenile  courts  is              that were actually held, and review of preliminary data.

more dramatic than deciding if parents should retain                  All statistics used in this report were provided by: the

the   right   to   parent   their   child   or   children.   Many      Office   of   the   Arizona   Attorney   General,   Child   and

juvenile courts face this difficult decision on a daily                 Family    Protection     Division;    the   Arizona    Supreme

basis and, until fairly recently, termination of parental               Court’s   Administrative   Office   of   the   Courts   (AOC);

rights   (also   called   severance   or   TPR)   proceedings          and    the   juvenile   courts   in  the   four   counties    that

have remained largely shielded from the public’s view                  experienced completed jury trials. Jurors, parents, and

due    to  concerns     about    privacy    and   the   need    to     children who participated in these proceedings were

protect children.                                                      not  interviewed  due  to  confidentiality  concerns  and

     When  a  child  is  adjudicated  dependent,  it  means             time constraints.

the juvenile court has determined that the parents or                      The       professionals       who     were      interviewed

guardians have abused and/or neglected that child to                   expressed strong and varied opinions as to the relative

such a degree that the state must formally intervene,                  benefits   and   drawbacks   of   jury   trials.   There   was   no

at least temporarily, to ensure the child’s protection.4               disagreement,   however,   when   it   came   to   discussing

When a parent’s rights are terminated, it means the court               the workload impact of jury trials. While the number

has determined the parent(s) are incapable on a long-                  of jury trials completed in Arizona has been relatively

term basis of providing a safe, permanent and stable                   small to date, the impact on key participants in the

home     for   that  child   and    it  is  in  the  child’s  best     TPR jury trial process has been anything but small.

interests to have the parental rights terminated.5                         While the focus of this paper is on TPR jury trials,

     In    Arizona,     up   until   December       2003,    when       interviews with key participants in severance matters

parents   contested   a   TPR   motion   or   petition,   their        revealed     that  juvenile   courts,   particularly    those   in

only option was to have their case tried before a judge                Maricopa       and    Pima    counties,    continue      to  face

(otherwise known as a “bench trial”). This judge was,                 formidable   challenges   with   crowded   court   dockets.

most often, the same judge who handled the parents’                    This    report    offers   some    options    to   address    this

dependency proceedings. With the passage of ARS§8-                     concern,   a   concern   that   applies   to   both   jury   and

223     in   December         2003,    parents      facing    the      bench trials.

termination       of  their   parental     rights   obtained     a

second option – the ability to request a jury trial in

TPR matters.6

     This report is intended to capture the key issues

and   experiences   surrounding   the   first   year   of   TPR

jury trials in Arizona. Where possible, comparisons of

perspectives   will   be   drawn   among   judges,   Assistant

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BACKGROUND AND

                                                                   possible      in   termination       of    parental     rights

HISTORY OF TPR JURY                                                proceedings. This reflected concerns regarding the

TRIALS IN ARIZONA                                                  possibility,   perceived    by  some,    that  CPS    reforms

                                                                   could   lead   to   more   children   being   removed   from

                                                                   their homes and thus the need for more options for

    Jury trials in TPR matters in Arizona emerged                  parents   and   opportunities   for   systemic   checks   and

within a much broader effort to reform the state’s                 balances.     Jury   trials,  say  proponents,      offer   an

Child Protective Services (CPS) system. The state’s                additional check and balance.

reforms      were    embodied      in   legislation    passed          The     statutory    provision    allowing    parents   to

during a special session of the state legislature in               request jury trials in severance cases is ARS §8-223. It

December        2003.    This   legislation    clarified   the     reads as follows:

mission      of  CPS    to:  (1)   protect    children,    (2)         A   hearing   to   terminate   parental   rights   that   is   held

promote the well-being of a child in a permanent                   pursuant to section 8-537 or 8-863 shall be tried to a jury

home   and   (3)   strengthen   the   family   and   prevent       if a jury is requested by a parent, guardian or custodian

                                                                                                             8

abuse or neglect.                                                  whose rights are sought to be terminated.

     Prior    to   the    special    session    and    during          An      emergency       clause    made      the   statute

negotiations       among      key    legislators    and    the     immediately effective upon the Governor’s signing

Governor’s      Office   on   how   to  improve     CPS,   one     on December 18, 2003. This new section of law also

legislator    suggested     the   jury   trial  option.   The      has a three year sunset provision; the law will cease

impetus for this legislator’s suggestion was based on              to   exist   after  December       31,  2006    unless    it  is

a   desire   to   afford   parents   as   much   due   process   as reauthorized by the legislature.

        “The underlying reason for

   severance jury trials was to give

   people a greater sense of fairness.

   Some people are concerned about the

   existing court process and CPS.

  Jury trials offer a balance that

   enables parents to plead their case

   in front of a jury of their peers

   instead of a judge who some feel

   may be biased.”

                         - Arizona State Senator

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    Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

    QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

    How many TPR jury trials have been                                Table 1

    requested?9                                                                TPR Jury Trials Requested

Q

                                                                                 (12/18/03 – 12/17/04)

        Statewide,   167   TPR   jury   trials   were   requested   from                  Number of jury     % of all requests

                                                                                           trial requests

    December 18, 2003 through December 17, 2004.

  A

                                                                      Pima County                70               42%

        As  shown  in  Table  1,  requests  for  TPR  jury  trials    Maricopa County            54               32%

    were received in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties during this          Cochise County             14                8%

    period. Pima County experienced the highest number               Yavapai County             10                 6%

    of   TPR   jury   trial   requests   (70),   which   represents   42 Mohave County            7                4%

    percent of all jury trial requests. In contrast, Maricopa        Yuma County                  5                3%

    County    experienced     54  jury  trial  requests,  which       Coconino County             2                1%

    represents 32 percent of all requests. Cochise County             Gila County                 2                1%

    experienced the third highest rate of jury trial requests;        Navajo County               1               <1%

    specifically, 14 requests which represents roughly eight          Pinal County                1               <1%

    percent of the statewide total.                                   Graham County               1               <1%

        In Pima County, there were 70 jury trial requests             Statewide Total          167              100%

    compared to 45 bench trials planned because a jury

    trial was not requested.

                                                                      Table 2

                                                                       TPR Jury and Bench Trials Completed

    How many TPR jury and bench trials                                             (12/18/03-12/17/04)

Q

    have been completed?

                                                                                          # of jury trials  # of bench trials

                                                                                            completed          completed11

        A total of 17 TPR jury trials were completed in four          Pima County               12                 29

  A                                                                                                                   12

    counties   between   December   18,   2003   and   December   17, Maricopa County             2                98

    2004 period, compared to 158 TPR bench trials.                    Mohave County               2                14

                                                                     Yuma County                 1                 17

        As shown in Table 2, only four of Arizona’s fifteen

                                                                      Total                     17                158

    counties  experienced  completed  jury  trials  (i.e.  trials

    that resulted in jury verdicts) during this period. Of the         In Pima County, the only jurisdiction from which

    statewide total of 167 jury trial requests, 39 trials were     comparable request versus completed bench trial data

    still pending as of December 17, 2004. This means 128          were immediately available, of the 45 TPR bench trials

    of the 167 jury trials requested between mid-December          set  during  this  period,  four  were  still  pending  as  of

    2003 and mid-December 2004 resulted in some form of            December   17,   2004.   Excluding   these   four   pending

    case outcome or resolution. Excluding the 39 pending           bench  trials,  the  Pima  County  data  indicate  that  71

    trials,10 13 percent of all jury trial requests resulted in    percent  (29  out  of  41  cases)  resulted  in  completed

   jury trials being completed to verdict.                         bench trials.

        As   also   shown   in   Table   2,   the   number   of   TPR  The      preliminary     information      from    Pima

    bench trials completed during this period in the four          County is consistent with comments made by jury

   juvenile    courts  was   substantially  higher   than  the     and    bench    trial  participants  who   indicated   that

    number     of  completed    jury  trials  (158  completed      bench trials, when requested, are more likely to be

    bench trials versus 17 completed jury trials, a ratio of       held and completed than TPR jury trials. In other

    over nine to one).                                             words, jury trial requests appear much less likely to

                                                                13

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                                                                                                           Children’s Action Alliance

   result in completed trials than trials arising out of            parental rights, it does not mean the dependency case

   bench trial requests.13                                          is dismissed nor does it mean the child is returned to

                                                                    his   parents.   It  does  mean    that  the  evidence    and

   What were the outcomes of jury and                               considerations   of   the   child’s   best   interests   did   not

Q                                                                   support     termination     of  parental    rights.  In  fact,

   bench trials that were completed?

                                                                    children remain adjudicated dependent and will likely

                                                                    stay   with   foster   parents,   relatives,   or   another   out-of-

        The vast majority of both TPR jury trials and bench         home      setting   while   CPS    works    toward    a  new

  A

   trials completed during this period resulted in severance on     permanent      plan.   The   new   permanent     plan   could

   all or some of the children listed in the TPR motion/petition.   possibly become “return to parent,” but it subsequently

                                                                    may be “severance and adoption” again if the parents

        Data   from   Maricopa,   Mohave,   Pima,   and   Yuma      do    not   demonstrate      sufficient   progress    toward

   counties show the following:                                     remedying the behaviors and/or conditions that led to

                                                                    their children’s dependency.

          In Jury Trials -

        • 16   of   the   17   completed   jury   trials   resulted   in

         verdicts severing parental rights on all or some

          of the children.

        • One completed jury trial resulted in a jury verdict

         in which parental rights were not terminated.

          In Bench Trials -

        • 151  of  158  completed  bench  trials  resulted  in

         judges’ rulings severing parental rights on all or

          some of the children.

        • Seven completed bench trials resulted in judges’

          rulings   in   which   parental    rights  were    not

          terminated.

        Because     of   the   low   number     of  jury   trials

   completed, it is too early to say whether jury trials are                 “I think parents’ counsel have begun

   more or less likely than bench trials to result in the              to ask for jury trials before the time line to

   termination of parental rights.

                                                                       keep their options open. When they get

   What happens to the children when a                                 closer to trial, they realistically discuss the

Q

   jury or judge decides not to terminate                             pros and cons of a jury trial with their

   parental rights?

                                                                       clients and, most often, decide it is not

        When     a  jury  or  judge  rules  against  terminating       the way to go.”

  A

   parental    rights  it  does  not  mean   that  children  are

   immediately returned to their parents’ custody.                                                        - Yavapai County

                                                                                         Presiding Superior Court Judge

        When a jury or a judge decides not to terminate

                                                                 14

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    Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

   What were the outcomes of cases when                                Why are relatively few TPR jury trials

Q                                                                   Q

   jury trials were requested but did not                              actually completed and when do they

   go to trial?                                                        tend to resolve?

        The vast majority (87%) of cases involving jury trial               In   this  first  year,  many  cases  involving  jury  trial

   A                                                                  A

   requests were resolved before jury trials were held.                 requests resolved close to or on the first day of trial.

        Of   the   167   jury   trials   requested,   39   cases   were     There appear to be a number of reasons why jury

   pending as of December 17, 2004. Of the remaining                    trials are not held. These include:

   cases,    128    reached      some    form     of  resolution.

   Seventeen      (17)   cases   resulted   in  completed     trials        • Mandatory  mediation  in  some  counties  which

   where     juries   rendered     verdicts,14  and    111    cases           helps many of these matters resolve before trial,

   reached some other form of resolution without a jury                       particularly if relatives are involved and present

   rendering a verdict.                                                       an alternative placement for the child.

        Table   3   shows   that   half   of   the   cases   where   the

   parent initially requested a jury trial resulted in bench                • Many parents who initially request trials (either

   trials either because the parent withdrew the jury trial                   jury  or  bench  trials)  do  not  show  for  pre-trial

   request, failed to appear at the jury trial, or failed to                  hearings   (or   mediation)   which   can   lead   the

   appear   at   the   pre-trial   conference.   Just   under   one-          court,   after   consideration   of   the   evidence,   to

   third (34 cases) of the parents requesting jury trials                     sever their parental rights.

   relinquished      their   parental    rights  at  some    point

   before juries rendered verdicts in their trials. And in                  • Some   parents   realistically   assess   their   chances

   eight percent of the cases that did not go to jury trial,                  before juries (or judges) and ultimately agree to

   CPS withdrew its motion for severance.                                     the child’s permanent placement before or soon

                                                                              after a trial commences.

     Table 3                Resolutions of Jury Trial Requests When Trials Not Held

                                                      (12/18/03-12/17/04)

                                                                      Number of cases      Percentage of jury trial requests reaching

                                                                          (N=111)           of resolution without a trial being held

     Jury trial request withdrawn by parent,

     bench trial ordered                                                      27                             24%

     Parent failed to appear at trial, bench trial

     held in absentia                                                          7                               6%

     Right to jury trial denied by judge due

     to non-appearance of parent at pre-trial

     conference, bench trial ordered                                          22                             20%

     Parent relinquished, jury trial vacated                                  34                             31%

     Guardianship agreed to, trial vacated                                     5                               5%

     Motion for summary judgment granted,

     parental rights terminated                                                6                               5%

     Motion for termination withdrawn

     by CPS                                                                    9                               8%

     Dependency adjudication set aside

     on appeal, no trial                                                       1                             <1%

                                                                    15

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                                                                                                                     Children’s Action Alliance

               • Parents’    attorneys    may    also  decide    after  a    How long do jury and bench trial cases

                request for a jury trial has been made that it is Q

                                                                             take from point of request to

                not in their clients’ interests to go to trial and                             15

                                                                             completion?

                 convince     parents   to   relinquish   or   withdraw

                 their requests.

                                                                                  In Pima County, jury trials have taken an average of

                                                                            A

               • Parents may initially ask for jury trials to preserve       121 days to complete, from the point of a child’s permanency

                their right to have a jury trial and decide later            hearing, versus 137 days for TPR bench trials.

                whether they want a jury to decide their case.

                                                                                  Figure 1 shows the TPR process and average time

               • The    state  may    agree   to  change    the   child’s    periods  for  starting  and  completing  TPR  jury  trials

                permanent        plan   in   some    way   (e.g.,  from      and bench trials in Pima County, from the point of

                adoption to guardianship) before a trial begins.             the    permanency        hearing    and    trial  request    to

                                                                             completion of the TPR process.16

                Figure 1 – Time Frames to Complete TPR Jury and Bench Trials in Pima County

                                                                   Permanency Hearing

                                                            (within 12 months after removal)

                          Motion for TPR filed by CPS children’s                    Petition filed by person

                                       attorney, or GAL                             with legitimate interest

                        (within 10 days after permanency hearing)

Court decides whether               Parent admits, does not                              Initial TPR Hearing

evidence supports TPR               contest, or fails to show            (held within 30 days after permanency hearing;

                                       without good cause                         no time frame if petition is filed)

                                                              Parent contests

                                         (trial date set within 90 days of permanency hearing)

                                          Parent contests                          Parent contests

                                      and requests jury trial             but does not request jury trial

               Average 68 days                                                                                Average 50 days

               from request to                     Settlement conference, mediation,                           from contest

               start of jury trial                     and/or pre-trial conference                               to start of

                                                                                                                 bench trial

                                          Start of TPR jury trial         Start of contested TPR

                                                                                bench trial

                                           Completion of TPR             Completion of contested

Average 5 days                                  jury trial                   TPR bench trial                              Average 34 days

                                                                                                                             from start of

from start of jury

                                                                                                                             bench trial to

  trial to verdict                        Jur y Trials                           Contested Bench Trials                     judge’s ruling

                           Average 121 days from permanency              Average 137 days from permanency

                                   hearing to completion                         hearing to completion

          Statutory time-frames. The statutory time-frames are the same for both TPR jury and bench trials. See ARS §8-862.D in Appendix A.

          Average actual time-frames for Pima County.

                                                                         16

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

      The preliminary data show that while bench trials                 Appeals of TPR cases delay permanency for children.

are initiated sooner than jury trials in Pima County,                       The   vast   majority   of   both   jury   and   bench   trial

they take longer to complete.                                          decisions to terminate parental rights are appealed.

                                                                        When a case is on appeal, the child who is the subject

Timeliness of TPR Trial Dispositions/Rulings                           of the severance cannot be adopted until the appeal

      In   Maricopa   and   Pima   Counties,   TPR   jury   trials,     is concluded. In FY 2004, the average time for Court

when held, are likely to take less time to complete than bench         of Appeals Division 1 to decide a dependency or TPR

trials.   This   is   primarily   due   to   calendar   congestion   and case on appeal was 285 days17; for Division 2, it was

scheduling practices that prevent timely completion of TPR              338 days18.

bench trials in these two courts.

      The     juvenile    courts    in   Maricopa      and    Pima               “In Yuma County, it is easier to find time

counties      schedule     TPR    bench     trials  in  available         for bench trials and fewer things get in the

segments   of   the   court   calendar   which   can   spread

these     events   over    days   or   weeks.    In   jury  trials,       way to cause delays. More things can go

however,      once    a  jury   is  seated    and    the   trial  is      wrong in jury trials that can lead to

underway       there    will  be   a  ruling    within   a   finite       mistrials.”

period     of  days.   Also,   in  bench     trials  in  the   two

urban     county     courts,    judges    often    take   matters

under      advisement       at   the   conclusion       of  these                         - Yuma County Superior Court Judge

hearings      and    issue  written    findings     of  fact   and

rulings days or weeks later (up to 60 days after the

bench trial is held).                                                  Jury    trials  present    opportunities     for   mistrials   and

                                                                        greater issues for appeal than TPR bench trials.

      In Mohave and Yuma counties, TPR bench trials take                      There    have   been  two   mistrials  in  TPR    jury   trials

less   time   to   complete   than   jury   trials.   The   judges   in   these during the first year.

counties are more likely to rule from the bench at the conclusion

of bench trials than judges in the two urban counties.                      Mistrials occur when the judge agrees that the jury

                                                                        has    been    exposed     to  inadmissible     information.     In

      In Mohave and Yuma counties, TPR bench trials                     other   words,   evidence   has   been   introduced   that   is

can generally be completed within one uninterrupted                    likely   to   lead   to   a   jury   verdict   that   is   not   based   on

day and judges can usually issue prompt rulings at the                 relevant  facts.  When  a  judge  declares  a  mistrial,  the

conclusion      of   these   hearings     or   soon    thereafter.     jury is dismissed and the case must be retried. Mistrials

                                                                        do not exist with bench trials.

                                                                              While both bench and jury trials may be appealed, jury

     “I never take a severance under

                                                                         trials present more issues for appellate review.

advisement. I make a prompt ruling and

                                                                             This is due to a number of factors including the

explain it. Jury trials take longer and there is

                                                                        more complex evidentiary and procedural issues that

no discussion. When I rule in bench trials I                            arise in jury trials and the greater possibility that a jury

explain why I have made the decision.”                                  may be persuaded by bias or emotion. In addition to

                                                                        constitutional challenges and sufficiency of evidence

                                                                        issues, jury trial appeals may also include other factors

             - Mohave County Superior Court Judge                       not present in bench trials such as instructions to the

                                                                        jury, jury selection, and jury misconduct. 19

                                                                     17

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                                                                                                                   Children’s Action Alliance

   How are contested TPR trials handled                                  This  practice  played  an  important  role  in  reducing

Q                                                                        continuances and delays that had plagued the juvenile

   in Arizona?

                                                                         courts through the mid-1990s and helped reduce the

                                                                         length of time dependent children remained involved

        Typically,    contested  severance   matters   are  handled      in    the   court   system.21As     will  be   discussed,     the

   A

    through  bench  trials,  not  jury  trials.  Bench  trials  do  not  perceived unfairness of retaining the same judge from

    involve juries – they are presided over by a single judge. In        dependency          through       severance       proceedings

    the vast majority of bench trials in Arizona, the same judge         represents one important factor in why parents may

    that   handles   a  family’s  pre-severance  (i.e.,  dependency)     request jury trials.

    matters presides over the bench trial. This “One Family/One              Juvenile courts in Arizona continue to try to follow

   Judge”   approach   reflects   one   of   a   number   of   nationally One     Family/One        Judge     case   handling      in   all

   recognized   guidelines   and   practices   recommended   by   the    dependency matters, although the two urban county

   National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and              juvenile courts have more difficulties maintaining this

    the   American     Bar    Association    in  dependency     and      practice   through   all   dependency   proceedings   than

    termination    of  parental   rights  cases.  Specifically,  these   rural county courts. For example, in Maricopa County,

    adoption and permanency guidelines state:20                          adhering       to  One     Family/One       Judge     has   been

                                                                         particularly challenging in the past two years due to

        It is strongly preferred that the same judge or judicially       substantial     judicial    rotation.22 But    overall,   all  of

   supervised   magistrate   presides   over   the   entire   child   welfare Arizona’s  juvenile  courts   have   adopted     the   One

    case   from   the  preliminary    protective  hearing   through      Family/One Judge approach in dependency cases.

   permanency, including adoption. Following a case from start

    to  finish  offers  the  judge  an  opportunity  to  see  the  impact How are TPR jury trials assigned to

    decisions have made on the child, creates the best possibility of  Q  23 in the four counties that held

                                                                         judges

    ensuring that case plans relate to the specific needs of the child   jury trials?

    and family and allows for development of perspective about

    cases. Judicial monitoring must continue until a permanent

    home is finalized and the court can close its case. Judges must           While all Arizona juvenile courts continue to support

                                                                        A

    use the full extent of their authority to protect children and to    One     Family/One     Judge   case  handling    in  dependency

   keep  children  and  other  family  members  safe.  Judges  must      matters, different judges are assigned to handle TPR jury

    hold all participants in the proceedings, including state and        trials in Maricopa and Pima counties.

    local  agencies,   accountable    to  provide  reasonable    and

    necessary services to children and families.                              All    Arizona     juvenile    courts    maintain      One

                                                                         Family/One   Judge   case   assignment   in   TPR   bench

        In Arizona, One Family/One Judge case handling                   trials.  However,     in  severance     jury  trials,  there  are

   was adopted as the preferred practice in dependency                   substantial differences between the urban and rural

   matters by all juvenile courts before the end of 2001.                county   courts.   The   two   urban   county   courts   have

                                                                     18

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

designated specific judges to handle all TPR jury trials.              importance of continuity and the benefits of keeping

In Maricopa County, two superior court judges have                    judges     with   juvenile   court   experience      assigned    to

been assigned to handle jury trials. In Pima County,                   these cases. These proponents also emphasize that the

one     juvenile    court    judge    has    been    given    this     assigned   judge   has   an   obligation   to   be   fair   to   all

assignment.24    In   the   rural   county   courts,   the   same      parties   and   to   hold   CPS   and   parents   appropriately

judge who handled the dependency phase of a case                        accountable       to  ensure    that   the   best   interests   of

will also handle the TPR jury trial.                                    children are served. Proponents of keeping the same

     The      juvenile    courts    in  Maricopa      and    Pima      judge add that there is no empirical or factual basis for

counties   are   transferring   TPR   jury   trials   to   specially   the perception of some that having the same judge

assigned     judges    due   to  crowded      court   calendars.       preside      over    a   TPR     bench      or    jury   trial   is

There     is  simply   not   enough     open     time   in  these      fundamentally or presumably unfair to parents.25

juvenile    courts’    schedules    to   find   three   or   more            Those   who   feel   different   judges   should   handle

consecutive      days   required    to  complete      jury  trials.    TPR     matters     emphasize      there    are   fundamental

These     consecutive    time    periods   must    be   set  aside     constitutional   and   fairness   issues   that   override   the

whenever a jury trial is scheduled, whether or not the                  arguments in support of One Family/One Judge in

trial actually goes as planned. Unfortunately, because                 severance cases. Those favoring a different judge for a

so few jury trial requests result in trials being held, the            severance matter do not necessarily agree that a jury

specially assigned judges responsible for TPR jury trials              trial is also warranted. In other words, there is not a

were experiencing substantial blocks of “down time”                     consensus  in  Arizona  among  judges,  AGs,  CPS  case

(i.e.   unanticipated      stretches     of  time    on   judges’      managers,      and    attorneys    regarding     whether     One

schedules when no hearings occur).                                     Family/One Judge case assignment should continue

                                                                        through the severance phase.

     It   remains   almost   impossible   for   Maricopa   and   Pima

County Juvenile Courts to hold and complete severance bench           What are the procedures for requesting

trials without delays.                                                 and scheduling TPR jury trials?

                                                                    Q

     Assigning   TPR   jury   trials   to   specific   judges   in

Maricopa and Pima counties allows jury trials to be set                     The Arizona Supreme Court is responsible for drafting

                                                                      A

on   consecutive   days   and   helps   relieve   some   of   the      and    implementing      state  court   rules,  including    those

pressures on regular juvenile court dockets. However,                  applicable to juvenile courts. Rule 66.1.B covers the request

these dockets include TPR bench trials that remain                    for a TPR jury trial and reads:

difficult    if  not   impossible      to  schedule      without

interruption       in   the   two    urban     county     courts.           The    request  for  a  trial  to  a  jury  shall  be  signed

Scheduling difficulties and the time it takes for a judge              personally by the parent or by counsel of record, filed and

to   issue   a  written    decision    in   TPR    bench     trials    served   on   the   petitioner   prior   to   the   initial   termination

continue to pose formidable challenges.                                hearing provided by Rule 65 of these rules or, if counsel is

                                                                        appointed at the initial termination hearing, within twenty

      There are strong disagreements about retaining the One            days of appointment of counsel. If the written request for

Family/One Judge case handling approach in TPR trials                  jury trial is signed by counsel of record, the counsel must

(bench or jury).                                                       avow that the request for jury trial has been made by the

                                                                        parent.   Failure   to   file   and   serve   the   request   in   a   timely

     Despite the clear call for One Family/One Judge                    manner   constitutes   a   waiver   of   the   right   to   a   jury   trial.

case assignment noted in the Adoption and Permanency                   Failure to appear at the initial termination hearing or the

Guidelines, there are strong disagreements about this                  termination     adjudication     hearing    shall  be  deemed    a

practice     when     it  comes      to   severance     matters.       rescission of any request for a trial to a jury.

Proponents        of    this   approach       emphasize        the

                                                                    19

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                                                                                                                       Children’s Action Alliance

     Some of the parties involved in jury trials feel the                  generally   offered   but   not   required   as   a   matter   of

process for requesting a TPR jury trial may be more                       juvenile     court    policy   (the   juvenile    court    began     a

complex or onerous for parents than in criminal or                         mandatory       permanency        and    TPR     mediation      pilot

civil jury trial cases. However, one of the intents of the                 project in early 2005).26  One other difference involves

rule is to help minimize the chances that the parent’s                     Maricopa   County   where   the   two   specially   assigned

attorney will request a jury trial just to cover all bases.               judges      have     implemented          “Trial    Management

Still, a substantial number of jury trial requests resolve                 Conferences” that occur roughly 10 to 14 days before

right    before    or   right   after   trials  begin.   The    high       a  jury  trial  is  set  to  commence.  These  proceedings,

frequency       of   these    “false    starts”   presents     many        held  after  the  pre-trial  conference,  involve  only  the

dilemmas       for   the   courts    and   raises   an   important         attorneys  (for  the  state,  the  parents,  and  the  child)

question – who benefits when jury trials are scheduled                     and are intended as one more method for the court

but     do   not    go?   Most     certainly,    these    incidents        to make sure that the parties are ready to go to trial.

represent another source of delay for other children                            Table   4   shows   the   processes   for   each   of   the

not necessarily involved in the jury trial, but who are                    four counties.

awaiting permanency.

                                                                           Scheduling TPR jury and bench trials

The   hearing   process   leading   up   to   jury   and   bench                As   mentioned   earlier,   juvenile   courts   in   many

trials and alternatives to trial                                           counties,   particularly   Maricopa   and   Pima   counties,

     The      statutorily    required     first  hearing     in   the      are experiencing very heavy court dockets. Much of

termination process is the initial termination hearing.                    this    can    be   attributed      to   a  sharp     increase     in

Things start to vary a bit after this initial hearing. In                  dependency         petition    cases,   which     have    risen    21

Mohave       and    Yuma     counties,    for   example,      parties      percent from fiscal year to 2003 to 2004,30  and the fact

involved       in   severance      actions     are    required      to     that juvenile courts conduct more frequent hearings

participate       in   pre-trial    mediation.      In    Maricopa         than     other    divisions    of   the   superior     court.    The

County,      mediation       is  routinely     held    but    is  not      addition of TPR jury trials has created new scheduling

required.   In   Pima   County,   through   mid-December                   challenges  for  the  courts  because  jury  trials  require

2004,     mediation       or   settlement     conferences       were       consecutive days and uninterrupted time periods.

  Table 4

                   Proceedings Leading Up To Termination Trials (Bench and Jury)

                                    Maricopa County              Mohave County                  Pima County                 Yuma County

Initial termination hearing       • If TPR motion filed, must be held within 30 days of the Permanency Hearing.

                                   • If TPR petition filed, must be held no sooner than 10 days following completion of service.

Mediation or                     Mediation and/or            Mandatory                    Mediation or                Mandatory

Settlement conference27          Settlement conference       mediation or                 Settlement conference       mediation or

                                  routinely held.             Settlement                   offered but not             Settlement

                                                              conference.                  required.                   conference.

Pre-trial conference or

                                                                      Usually set 30 days before trial.

Status hearing

Trial management                 Usually held 10 to 14       Not applicable               Not applicable              Not applicable

conference                       days before jury trials

                                       28

                                  only.

Jury or Bench Trial               • If a trial (bench or jury) results from the filing of a TPR motion, it must be held within 90 days

                                  of the Permanency Hearing.29

                                                                      20

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

      The   courts   are   likely   to   move   other   types   of   hearings   The    courts   attempt   to  start  termination     jury  trials

when they need time for TPR jury trials.                                  within 90 days of the permanency hearing but all courts

                                                                           report difficulties meeting this requirement. This is also true

      The courts have attempted, with varying degrees                     for TPR bench trials in Maricopa and Pima counties.

of success, to make TPR jury trials a priority. If a jury

trial has to be held, other hearings will be moved to                          In the four counties, the courts have had serious

make   room   for   it.   While   this   reflects   statutory   and       difficulties meeting the timeline in at least half of their

court time requirements for TPR trials (i.e. trials are                  jury trials. In some cases, parents waive the timeline

supposed to start within 90 days of the permanency                        requirement. However, the complexities inherent in

hearing), it also reflects the courts’ recognition of the                 TPR jury trials, the characteristics of individuals who

importance of these events. However, because so few                       request jury trials (e.g. many exhibit serious mental

TPR jury trial requests result in actual trials, the courts               health     problems),      the   availability   and    number      of

have adapted court scheduling practices. In the two                       witnesses,   the   need   for   adequate   preparation   time,

urban county courts, multiple jury trials are likely to                   and    heavy    court    dockets     also  contribute      to  these

be scheduled for the same time period (i.e. they are                      challenges.   Unfortunately,   in   the   two   urban   county

“stacked”) as the court anticipates most if not all will                  courts, it is also very difficult to commence TPR bench

resolve before the actual trial. This practice of stacking                trials within 90 days of the permanency hearing.

trials  reduces  the  likelihood  of  judges  experiencing

substantial down time, but it does not preclude other                         Jury trials to date have been set for two to more than five

parties from having to prepare for pending trials.                        consecutive days, with three to four days being the average

      In   the   two    rural   counties,    the   superior     court      time set aside for these matters.

judges handle all types of cases, not just severance jury

trials. When a jury trial is set on their calendars, they                      The     designated       judge    currently      assigned     to

have to move other proceedings to make room. This                         handle TPR jury trials in Pima County sets matters for

situation is magnified when multiple jury trial requests                  Tuesdays through Thursdays (three consecutive days)

occur within the same time frame.                                         unless   there   are   compelling   reasons   to   extend   this

                                                                           period. Other courts do not appear to have specific

      Most   important,   however,   is   the   fact   when   jury         days   for   jury   trials   but   all   set   them   for   consecutive

                                                                                                            31

trials are taking priority over other hearings, safety and                (uninterrupted)         periods.     Overall,     the   courts    are

permanency issues for other children may be delayed.                      allowing sufficient time for jury trials although at least

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                                                                                                                  Children’s Action Alliance

two     of   the   17   trials   completed       through      mid-      managers   and   parents   must   shuffle   their   schedules

December 2004 exceeded their allotted time.                            whenever  a  jury  trial  is  actually  held.  This  creates  a

                                                                        domino effect forcing the juvenile court to continue

     In contrast to jury trials, termination bench trials are           and/or reschedule other dependency or delinquency

rarely held during uninterrupted time blocks in the two urban          matters  because  key  participants  are  tied  up  in  jury

county    courts;  in  fact,  bench   trials  are  almost  always      trials.   This   phenomenon   is   particularly   evident   in

segmented over a period of days or even weeks.                         Pima County due to the higher number of cases that

                                                                        have  actually  gone  to  trial  and  to  a  lesser  extent  in

     The  primary  reason  for  the  interrupted  flow  of              Maricopa   County   during   this   time   period.   But   this

bench   trials   in   Maricopa   and   Pima   counties   is   the       domino       effect   is  not  limited    to   the   two   urban

crowded juvenile court dockets. There is also a sense                  jurisdictions. In Mohave and Yuma counties, the pool

that    TPR     bench     trials  are   not   given    the   same       of   AGs,    CPS    case   managers,      and   attorneys     who

precedence as jury trials. Furthermore, if a parent in                  represent   children   and   parents   in   dependency   and

Maricopa or Pima County reconsiders their jury trial                    termination   cases   is   smaller,   so   when   a   jury   trial   is

request   after   the   jury   trial   has   been   scheduled,   the    held,    the    court    must    reset    other    hearings     to

case may be sent back to juvenile court for a bench                     accommodate the schedules of these key parties.

trial before the original dependency judge. This can

compound   delays   and   scheduling   dilemmas.32            The      Are TPR trials open to the public?

two rural county courts, in contrast, are able to hold Q

severance bench trials without interruption; generally,                      The majority of TPR jury trials held to date have been

within a half to one-full day, and as noted earlier, in                 closed to the public. Those that were open did not present

                                                                       A

the two rural county courts, the same judge is more                     significant problems for the courts.

likely to handle jury and bench trials.

                                                                            Arizona   law   (ARS   §8-224)   allows   parents   facing

     Jury trials can have dramatic effects on the schedules of          termination trials “to request that a hearing or trial …

key   participants   in  dependency    and    severance   matters,     be   open   to   the   public.”   Before   the   so-called   open

forcing them to reschedule other juvenile court hearings and            hearings law went into effect, TPR bench trials were

other case management duties for dependent children.                   closed to the public due to confidentiality and other

                                                                        concerns. Now, parents may request that any hearing

     Because   jury   trials   are   held   over   uninterrupted        related to a dependency action, including TPR bench

time stretches and take precedence over other court                     and    jury   trials,  be  open    to   the  public.    Through

hearings,      AGs,    attorneys    for   children,    CPS    case      December 17, 2004, most TPR jury trials were closed

                                                                    22

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     Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

     proceedings. The few that were open did not present                    strangers     (jurors)   as  well  as   parents,   and   provide

     significant    problems      for  the   courts.   In   the  open       details of prior abuse and/or neglect. In bench trials,

     proceedings, the courts did take special precautions to                there is no jury and the judge can manage the trial to

     ensure   attendees   understood   the   need   to   maintain           protect a child more directly than in a jury trial.

     confidentiality;      specifically,   the   judges    repeatedly

     admonished         those     in   attendance,       posted     the          The   current   juvenile   court   rules   do   not   specifically

     admonishment          in   the   courtroom,      and    required       address what CASA volunteers and GALs can and cannot

     everyone   entering   the   courtroom   to   sign   a   paper          do in jury trials.

     containing the admonition.

                                                                                 There are ongoing questions by CASA volunteers,

     Who participates in TPR jury trials?                                   GALs   and   attorneys   for   children   in   TPR   jury   trials

Q                                                                           about their respective roles.       The participation of the

   AThe   presence   of   multiple   parties   at   TPR   jury   trials     non-attorney GAL and the CASA volunteer appear to

     makes these proceedings distinctly different from other types          be   limited   to   providing   testimony   in   those   cases   in

     of jury trials.                                                        which they are called to testify by one of the parties. If

                                                                            one of the parties does not call them to testify, they will

          TPR jury trials typically involve more parties than               not have an opportunity to provide information to the

     other     types   of  jury   trials.  At  criminal     trials,  for   jury. Even when called to testify, they usually are not

     example, you only have two parties – the defendant                     permitted to provide their opinion as to what may be

     (with     her   or   his  attorney)     at  one    table   in  the     in the best interest of the child. They are, however,

     courtroom, and the prosecutor at the other table. In                   generally     permitted      to  testify   and   express     their

     TPR jury trials, you may have the state’s attorney (AG),               opinions in TPR bench trials.

     the attorneys for the parents, the attorney for the child                   Also, the rules do not specifically delineate the

     or children, the guardian ad litem33          for the child (if        child’s attorney role at trial even though the child is

     one  has  been  appointed),  and  a  guardian  ad  litem               the named party. For example, is the child’s attorney

     (GAL)  for  the  parent  (if  one  has  been  appointed).              allowed   to   voir   dire  the   jury   and   use   preemptory

     You    may    also   have    a  Court     Appointed      Special       challenges?       Can     the   child’s    attorney     question

     Advocate (CASA volunteer)34  at the trial.                             witnesses called by the other parties? If so, is it direct

                                                                            or cross examination? Can the child’s attorney call

          There are also differences between TPR jury and TPR               witnesses,   give   an   opening   statement   and   closing

     bench trials in who attends, participates, and testifies.              argument and, if so, at what stage of the trial?             The

                                                                            answers   are   even   less   clear   for   GALs   who   may   be

          Perhaps the most noticeable difference between                    attorneys; sometimes they are treated as full-fledged

    jury trials and bench trials involves witness testimony.                parties and other times as limited parties, witnesses

     Because juries are more apt to listen to live testimony                or spectators.

     rather than read transcripts or other documents, most

     evidence in a jury trial is presented through witnesses                          “Jury trials have a great impact on the

     who testify in person. This contrasts with bench trials                   court because they take precedence and the

     where witnesses may testify telephonically or through

     written  submissions.  This  means  more  witnesses  are                  court has to move other hearings to make

     physically     present     for   jury   trials.   Another      key        room on the calendar. For me, I have to

     difference     may    involve   the   testimony     of  children.

     Children’s   attorneys   may   be   generally   reluctant   to            cancel a lot of home visits and other things

     have their clients testify in jury trials because it may re-              to appear in jury trials.”

     traumatize the children. For example, in a jury trial, a

     child    may    have   to  testify  in  front   of  a  group    of

                                                                                                                  - CPS Case Manager

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                                                                                                                   Children’s Action Alliance

     “I believe jurors are as capable of                                       The TPR jury trial differs from the TPR bench trial

dealing with termination matters as anyone                                with   respect   to  evidence    that   can  and   should    be

                                                                          presented   in   several   ways.   Expert   witnesses   are   an

else. While jurors are not trained to handle                              example of how evidence is presented differently for a

these cases, severance matters are difficult                             jury.   In   a  bench    trial,  expert  reports    and   other

                                                                          documentary evidence are admitted regularly in lieu

no matter who you are.”                                                   of testimony. The judges are familiar with the experts’

                                                                          credentials   and   the   basic   nature   of   the   reports.   By

                         - Assistant Attorney General                     contrast,     a  jury   is  not    generally    educated     or

                                                                          knowledgeable       in  the  same    manner     and   must   be

                                                                          educated not only on the subject matter but be given

                                                                          the opportunity to decide the credibility of the expert

      What are the differences between                                    through his or her credentials and live testimony.

  Q                                                                           An overriding principle is the risk that a jury will

      TPR jury trials, bench trials, and

                                                                          decide an issue of fact based on irrelevant information

      other jury trials?

                                                                          or emotion. In order to control this risk, parties must

                                                                          engage      in  more     formal    pretrial   discovery    and

           One key difference between TPR jury trials, bench trials,      disclosure.   What   witnesses   will   say   on   the   stand   in

     A

      and other jury trials is the need to educate jurors on the role     front of a jury must be “nailed down” through formal

      of CPS, the basic components of dependencies and severance          discovery   (i.e.   depositions,   interrogatories,   requests

      matters,   and   the   roles   of   multiple   parties   (including   the for  admission)  prior  to  trial  to  determine    what

      child’s attorney).                                                  testimony should not be allowed, either by agreement

                                                                          or through a motion to the court to limit or exclude

           While jury trials are fundamental components of                the    testimony.     Formal     discovery     is  used    very

      civil   and   criminal   cases,   they   are   new   to   Arizona’s infrequently in non-jury TPR cases.

     juvenile  courts.  Many  of  the  key  parties  involved  in

      TPR jury trials during this past year had no experience             Who is requesting TPR jury trials

      trying cases to juries. TPR jury trials also represent the Q

                                                                          in Arizona?

      first   time   the   public   has   been   directly   involved   in

      severance matters. Starting when the jurors are going

      through      the   selection     process    and    continuing            Arizona’s jury trial statute authorizes only parents to

                                                                         A

      throughout the trial, the court and the parties have to             request severance jury trials. The state’s attorney, the child’s

      take substantial time to explain the basic aspects of the           attorney, and CPS do not have this capability.

     juvenile court process, what a dependency is, what a

      severance is, the role of the jury in the severance trial,              Although   we   do   not   have   precise   data   on   the

      the role of CPS and other parties, and other relevant               characteristics   of   parents   making   requests   for   jury

      topics.   This   must   be   done   in  easy   to  understand       trials,  key  TPR  trial  participants  interviewed  for  this

      language,     avoiding    the   jargon    that  many    system      paper   identified   case   characteristics   that   appear   to

      professionals take for granted. This is a unique aspect             increase the likelihood of a parent requesting a jury

      of TPR jury trials. In bench trials, there are no jurors,

      and the judge and the attorneys can focus on ensuring                       “All my jury trials were closed proceedings. I

      that parents and children understand the nature and

                                                                             don’t believe there is a teen on earth who wants

      substance of the proceedings.

                                                                             the public to know her or his business.”

           A second difference between TPR trials and other jury

      trials involves important evidentiary issues.                                                   - Child’s Attorney in Pima County

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

trial. The requests for a jury trial may be due to one or                    “Mental illness is a real factor. The

more of the following:

                                                                        mother in the case I tried just did not believe

     • Parents     who    want   a   different   judge    to            that the jurors would rule to sever. I had

       handle their TPR trial.

                                                                        two other jury trials set and they settled

     • Parents   who   are   incarcerated   and   who                   before trial. In both of these the Moms were

       may   be   using   jury   trials   to   spend   some             incarcerated. Substance abuse is also an

       time out of prison – this includes at least

       some parents who are serving extended                            important factor. These parents really

       prison     sentences,     who    have    not   been              damage themselves and they do not see how

       actively involved in their children’s lives,

       and     who    have    no   hope    of   parenting               it affects their kids.”

       their children.

                                                                             - Assistant Attorney General in Pima County

     • Parents     with    chronic     substance     abuse

       problems       and/or     with   serious    mental

       health problems.35                                                 • Cases    involving   dependent      children    who

                                                                           have     been   in  an   out-of-home     placement

     • Parents   who   have   previously   relinquished                     (e.g. a foster home) for a cumulative total

       rights   to   other   children   and/or   that   have               period of 15 months or longer, and whose

       extensive histories with CPS.                                       parents,   the   state   believes,   are   unlikely   to

                                                                            remedy the circumstances that led to out-of-

     • Parents     who     feel   jury   trials  offer   an                home placement.36

       opportunity to show their children that they

       did not give up.                                                   • Cases    that   do    not   have    a  permanent

                                                                           placement option for the child, and with no

     • Parents who see jury trials as a forum to be                         overriding     parental     mental    illness,   less

       heard by members of the public before they                           severe   histories   of   child   abuse,   along   with

       relinquish   parental   rights   or   before   a   jury              some evidence of the parents making some

       terminates these rights.                                             efforts to participate in services.37

     • Parents who view TPR jury trials as criminal

       trial-type      proceedings        intended        to         What impact do jury trials have on the

       determine      parental    “guilt  or   innocence”            courts, attorneys, CPS and children?

                                                                Q

       rather than what they are – civil proceedings

       intended  to  determine  what  is  in  the  best

       interests of children.                                      AThere is broad agreement across the four counties that

                                                                     TPR jury trials significantly magnify the workloads of AGs,

     • Parents whose attorney believes a CPS case                    attorneys, and CPS case managers, compared to TPR bench

       manager will not present well before a jury.                  trials. These professionals estimate that jury trials take from

                                                                     three  to  ten  times  more  time  than  bench  trials,  including

     • Parents or parents’ attorney who perceives a                  preparation and actual trial attendance.

       potential   advantage   in   a   jury   trial,   even   if

       CPS  has  made  diligent  efforts  to  reunify  a                 Jury trials have profound effects on the workloads

       child with the parents.                                       of   key  professionals    involved    in dependency        and

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                                                                                                                 Children’s Action Alliance

                                                                               “Jury trials require a good ten days to two

termination matters. These effects occur whether jury

trials actually are held or not. Because attorneys and                    weeks out of my time as a case manager. You

CPS case managers must prepare for jury trials as if                     have to drop everything else and focus all your

they are going to be held. Jury trials also affect judges’

                                                                          attention on the trial, prepare for it, then

workloads. Judges have to set aside sufficient time on

their calendars to hear the TPR jury trials which may                     actually go to it. Everything else on the caseload

require   delaying   other   cases   on   their   calendars   or          gets neglected.”

reassigning the other cases or the TPR jury trial to

another judge.

                                                                                           - CPS Case Manager in Pima County

      When jury trials are scheduled, attorneys and CPS case

managers   must   reschedule   all   other   hearings   and   work

responsibilities.                                                     they are going to be held and, when they do actually

                                                                       proceed, they have to move all other work obligations,

     When   jury   trials   are   scheduled,   AGs,   CPS   case       including  other  trials,  off  their  schedules  at  the  last

managers,   and   attorneys   for   parents   and   children           minute.  This  is  a  problem  not  only  for  the  persons

must     reschedule      other   hearings     and   other    work      involved in the TPR jury trial, but for all others in the

responsibilities. In Pima County, when a jury trial is                 rescheduled   trials   and   hearings   including   children,

scheduled,   attorneys   are   not   allowed   to   reschedule         parents,   foster   parents,   CASAs,   doctors   and   other

other dependency or delinquency matters38              until the       expert witnesses to name but a few. While TPR bench

Monday before a trial is set to start. This policy was                 trials   present   their   own   unique   challenges   (i.e.   in

enacted because few jury trials are actually held. But                 terms   of   being   scattered   over   days   or   weeks),   they

the  impact  on  attorneys  and  CPS  case  managers  in               generally     do   not  produce      this  domino     effect   on

terms of preparation time and scheduling is dramatic                   people’s schedules.

nonetheless – they have to prepare for these trials as if

                                                                            Without sufficient funding, the extra time and work

                                                                       required for jury trials may exacerbate stress and turnover

      “The workload impact can depend on                              for at least some AGs and CPS case managers.

how many trials are going at once. Most

                                                                           For the AGs who prosecute TPR cases, jury trials

trial lawyers usually have more than one

                                                                       produce substantial increases in preparation and in-

trial to prepare for. Aside from that, the                            court presentation time. This is a concern for at least

average preparation is five times the                                 two   reasons.   First,   the   extra   preparation   time   may

                                                                       prevent   AGs   from   adequately   preparing   for   other

amount compared to bench trials. If the                               cases   on   their   caseloads.    Second,    the   extra   work

lawyer has the amount of time he really                               demands   add   substantial   stress   that   can   exacerbate

                                                                      AG     turnover.39    The     same    is  true   for   CPS    case

needs, it can take 10 times the amount of                             managers.   The   extra   work   required   to   prepare   for

time versus a bench trial. I like the TPR                            jury trials forces case managers to fall behind on other

                                                                       cases and work substantial overtime. Again, this is true

jury trials, though, because these are cases

                                                                      whether jury trials actually go or not.

where I think I can best advocate for my

client in front of a jury.”                                           Cost impact

                                                                           In the four counties there is consensus that TPR

                                                                      jury trials cost more than bench trials. The costs of jury

              - Attorney for Parents in Pima County                    trials,   however,   should   not   be   measured   solely   by

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

direct or out of pocket expenses. The substantial time                 Impact on permanency for children

and workload demands discussed earlier may present                          In 1997, the federal Adoption and Safe Families

substantial   direct   and   indirect   costs   that   should   be     Act   (ASFA)   was   passed   by   Congress   to   speed   the

considered       in   any   future     cost/benefit      analysis.     process  of  finding  permanent  homes  for  children.40

Assessing direct and indirect costs and weighing these                  Arizona’s      landmark       dependency        court     reforms

against   the   argument   that   the   opportunity   for   jury       instituted   since   the   late   1990s   to   present   day   also

trials offers greater fairness or justice than bench trials            emphasize        the   need    for   timely   permanency        for

is a key issue to be resolved.                                         abused  and  neglected  children.  Proponents  of  TPR

     In     the   meantime,        there    are   some      readily     jury   trials  believe    that   jury   trials  offer   necessary

identifiable     direct   costs   unique     to  jury   trials.  In    balance   and   fairness   to   the   existing   juvenile   court

addition to the costs of juries, evidence and testimony                dependency and CPS systems. But what effects do jury

must      be    presented      differently.     For    example,        trials have on permanency for children?

presenting evidence to a judge in a bench trial does

not   require   fancy,   large   reproductions   or   multiple

                                                                                  “Jury trials will require judges, attorneys,

copies of materials as is needed in jury trials. Expert

witnesses usually are called in front of a jury whereas                      CPS case managers, doctors, foster parents

judges may require only written reports from certain                        and many others to spend tens of thousands of

experts. These additional costs may include:

                                                                            extra hours over the three year time period

      • Jury fees and expenses.                                             allowed under the current law. Can our state’s

      • Costs    associated    with   photographic       evidence           limited resources be better spent for the benefit

        that are not already budgeted for in the Office                     of all children in foster care?

        of the Attorney General and CPS.

      • Costs for hiring additional bailiffs.                                                                -- Assistant Attorney General

      • Costs   for   expert   witness   testimony   (i.e.   to   pay

        expert witnesses for their time).                                    Judges,   AGs,   attorneys   representing   children   and/or

                                                                        parents, and CPS case managers have varied perceptions of

      • Costs  for  formal  discovery  (e.g.  court  reporters          the impact of jury trials on permanency for the children who

        for depositions and copies of transcripts).                     are subjects of the jury trials.

      • Costs for bringing in witnesses from other states                    There is no consensus across the four counties as

       who   physically   appear   in   jury   trials   versus   the    to whether jury trials promote or detract from timely

        telephonic testimony often permitted in bench                   permanency for children who are subjects of the jury

        trials (e.g. transportation, lodging and meals).                trial   process.   Some   of   the   professionals   involved   in

                                                                        these cases indicated they saw no effects whatsoever,

      • Costs for remodeling courtrooms and building                    while others pointed to delays tied to the time it takes

       jury assembly and deliberation rooms at juvenile                 to schedule and hold jury trials. Some cited delays in

        courts, if the law becomes permanent.                           finalizing  adoptions  because  of  appeals  or  mistrials,

                                                                        and emphasized the possibility that at least some CPS

      • In some counties, there may be additional costs                 case   managers   may   be   waiting   longer   to   file   TPR

        for   contract   attorneys   if   they   work   beyond   a      motions       or   petitions     because     of   the   concerns

        certain number of hours.                                        regarding   the   demands   of   jury   trials.   Others   cited

                                                                        delays caused by jury trials being scheduled but then

      • Overtime pay for CPS case managers.                             being reset as bench trials.

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                                                                                                                 Children’s Action Alliance

Impact on other dependent children.

     There were no additional resources provided to

the courts, AG’s Office or CPS for the implementation

of    the   jury  trial  process.    However,      dependency

petitions have increased 21% for the court from FY

2003 to FY 2004, and the number of children in foster

care under the court’s supervision has increased 18%.

This in itself has placed a substantial burden on all

involved       parties    in   the    dependency        process.

Additionally, CPS case managers have less time to see

other children on their caseloads and work towards

securing their permanent placements. Attorneys for

parents and children as well as AGs have less time to

prepare for other cases on their workload. All parties

must shuffle and reshuffle court hearings as jury trials

may be held or cancelled. The exact impact of jury

trials on other children has not been measured in this

preliminary      study,   but   should    be   in   any   further

evaluation of this process.

Training

     There   is   a   continuing   need   for   basic   and   specialized

training programs on topics relevant to termination jury trials

including how to testify before a jury.

     One of the more intriguing aspects of this first

year look at TPR jury trials involves how key parties

present   themselves   to   juries.   How   someone   may

appear (i.e. the way they look, the ability to appear

friendly   to   jurors,   etc.)   before   a   jury   may   be   as

important        as  the    content     of   their   testimony.

Virtually   all   of   the   parties   involved   in   jury   trials

suggested that there is a need for introductory and

ongoing       training    on   all  aspects    of  trying   cases

before a jury.

     As the number of jury trials requested and held                          “Jury trials drag the process out. It

presumably   increases   across   the   state,41   judges   and          takes longer to get us to the jury trial in

attorneys     also   need    basic   and    ongoing     training.

Training      for   judges    and   attorneys     should,    at  a       our county. I have one case where the

minimum,        cover   evidentiary     issues,  jury   selection        lawyer wants to depose 27 people. This

considerations,       initial  and   final   jury  instructions,

forms of verdict, effective client advocacy, and other                   can be very expensive and delay the case.”

relevant     topics.  Future    training    should    also  cover

effective   methods   for   educating   jurors   on   relevant

issues tied to TPR jury trials.                                                       - Presiding Superior Court Judge in

                                                                                                                Yavapai County

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      Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

     “Having a jury’s decision hinge on a worker’s

appearance before a jury or the worker’s ability to

testify, instead of the facts of the case, is a real

concern. Some of us do a better job of presenting

ourselves than others.”

                  - CPS case manager in Maricopa County

           Many CPS case managers, expert witnesses and other

      key   parties   need   training   on   courtroom   testimony   for   all

      types of trials (jury and bench).

           The need for courtroom testimony training is

      not     limited    to   jury   trials.  Many     CPS     case

      managers,        for   example,      need     training     on

      preparing for and presenting testimony in court

      for     all   types    of   trials    (including      bench

      proceedings), not just TPR jury trials.

      Where are jury trials being held?

   Q

           Most TPR jury trials are being held in superior court

      courtrooms that were designed for adult civil and criminal

     A

      matters. These settings can be intimidating for dependent

      children involved in jury trials.

           In Arizona, as elsewhere, very few juvenile courts

      have the capacity and facilities for jury trials.42   If jury            “We have no budget for TPR jury trials.

      trials were to be held at the juvenile courts, current              The counties absorbed the expenses. We had

      facilities   would     have    to   be    remodeled      and

      arrangements       would   have   to  be   made    with  jury       100 prospective jurors report for my trial.

      commissioners   (usually   based   at   superior   court)   to      We had to hire a bailiff which was not

      either provide transportation to and from the juvenile              budgeted for. I let the mother call an expert

      court   buildings   for   jurors,   or   the   state   or   counties

      would have to hire additional jury commissioners and                witness and this cost thousands of dollars.”

      staff for the juvenile courts.

                                                                                    - Mohave County Superior Court Judge

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                                                                                                                 Children’s Action Alliance

RECOMMENDATIONS

                                                                           • The   costs   associated   with   remodeling   juvenile

1. Based on the first year experience of TPR jury trials,                    courts   to   accommodate   juries   and   the   related

   including the negative impact on workloads affecting                      expenses that would allow jury trials to be held at

   other   dependent   children’s   safety,   well-being   and               juvenile court centers.

   permanency needs, the legislature should allow the

   TPR     jury   trial  provision    to  sunset.   If  there    is        • The   TPR   by   jury   workload   as   it   affects   other

   consideration        of   reauthorizing      this   law,   the            dependency cases not directly associated with the

   legislature   should   appropriate   sufficient   funds   to              jury   trials   including   other   children’s   well-being

   support   the   additional   costs   for   jury   trials   and   to       and timeliness of permanency.

   address workloads of all involved parties.

                                                                           • An assessment of whether the option of jury trials

2. The Supreme Court and the AGs Office should                               are   fostering   more   adversarial   proceedings   in

   continue tracking both TPR jury and bench trials                          dependency matters.

   and expand data collection to include:

                                                                      4. As an alternative to a jury trial, the courts should

     • Data on the number, outcomes and time-frames of                   consider allowing parents to make a formal written

       appeals and mistrials for both jury and bench trials              request to have a different judge preside over the

       and the impact of permanency for the children.                    severance trial than the judge responsible for their

                                                                         child’s dependency case. (Other jurisdictions,

     • How many days it takes from the permanency                        including the 65th Judicial District Children’s Court

       hearing and request for a jury or bench trial                     in El Paso, Texas, have successfully implemented

       to   completion      of   the  trial  and   the   jury   or       this practice without adverse effects on permanency

      judge’s decision.                                                  for children.)

     • An    analysis   of  the   relevant   characteristics    of    5. The Supreme Court’s Court Improvement Project

       parents who are requesting jury trials including                  should move forward with new rules to expedite (to

       how      many     requests     are   being     made      by       within 90 days) the Court of Appeals’ consideration

       incarcerated parents, how many are being made                     and findings in termination of parental rights cases.

       by   parents    with    documented       severe    mental          (Iowa has successfully implemented this expedited

       illnesses,   and   how    many    are   being   made     by       appeals process.)

       parents with chronic substance abuse problems.

                                                                      6. The judges in Maricopa and Pima Counties should

     • What happens to children after a jury or judge                    explore ways to issue findings and rulings in bench

       decides not to terminate parental rights.                         trials in a more expedited manner than waiting up

                                                                         to the 60 days permitted to issue their findings after

3. Prior to any decision to extend this legislation, the                 a trial commences.

   Supreme Court or the Legislature’s Office of the

   Auditor General should conduct a cost and                          7. The Supreme Court should update court rules to

   workload analysis of jury trials including:                           clarify the roles of CASAs, GALs, and children’s

                                                                         attorneys in contested TPR trials.

     • An   evaluation   of   why   so   few   jury   trial   requests

       actually result in jury trials being completed, and            8. The Supreme Court and the Arizona Department

       the costs associated with this outcome.                           of Economic Security should make additional

                                                                         training available for judges, AGs, all other

     • The impact on parties and case flow management                    attorneys, CPS case managers, CASAs and GALs on

       whether or not the jury trial is actually held.                   TPR jury trial issues including courtroom testimony.

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

Appendix A – Arizona statutes regarding termination of parental rights and

permanency hearings

     The grounds for terminating parental rights                            6. That the putative father failed to file a notice

are delineated in ARS §8-533.B which reads:                                     of claim of paternity as prescribed in section

                                                                                8-106.01.

     Evidence   sufficient   to   justify   the   termination   of

the parent-child relationship shall include any one of                      7. That the parents have relinquished their rights

the following, and in considering any of the following                         to a child to an agency or have consented to

grounds,      the   court    shall   also   consider    the   best             the adoption.

interests of the child:

                                                                            8. That the child is being cared for in an out-of-

     1. That the parent has abandoned the child.                               home placement under the supervision of the

                                                                               juvenile court, the division or a licensed child

     2. That     the   parent    has   neglected     or   willfully            welfare   agency,   that   the   agency   responsible

        abused     a  child.   This   abuse    includes    serious             for the care of the child has made a diligent

        physical   or   emotional   injury   or   situations   in               effort   to   provide    appropriate      reunification

        which   the   parent   knew   or   reasonably   should                 services     and    that   either    of   the   following

        have     known     that   a  person    was   abusing     or             circumstances exists:

        neglecting a child.

                                                                             (a) The     child    has   been     in   an   out-of-home

     3. That   the   parent   is   unable   to   discharge   the                 placement   for   a   cumulative   total   period   of

        parental      responsibilities    because     of   mental                nine    months      or  longer    pursuant     to  court

        illness,    mental     deficiency     or   a  history    of              order     or  voluntary     placement     pursuant     to

        chronic abuse of dangerous drugs, controlled                             section 8-806 and the parent has substantially

        substances        or    alcohol      and     there     are               neglected  or  willfully  refused  to  remedy  the

        reasonable        grounds      to   believe     that   the               circumstances which cause the child to be in

        condition       will   continue     for   a   prolonged                  an out-of-home placement.

        indeterminate period.

                                                                             (b) The      child   has   been     in   an   out-of-home

     4. That the parent is deprived of civil liberties due                       placement   for   a   cumulative   total   period   of

        to   the   conviction   of   a   felony   if   the   felony   of         fifteen   months   or   longer   pursuant   to   court

        which     that   parent   was   convicted     is  of  such               order     or  voluntary     placement     pursuant     to

        nature as to prove the unfitness of that parent                          section 8-806, the parent has been unable to

        to have future custody and control of the child,                         remedy   the   circumstances   which   cause   the

        including      murder     of   another     child   of  the               child to be in an out-of-home placement and

        parent,  manslaughter  of  another  child  of  the                       there     is  a  substantial    likelihood     that   the

        parent   or   aiding   or   abetting   or   attempting,                  parent      will  not   be   capable    of   exercising

        conspiring  or  soliciting  to  commit  murder  or                       proper and effective parental care and control

        manslaughter of another child of the parent, or                          in the near future.

        if the sentence of that parent is of such length

        that   the   child   will   be   deprived   of   a   normal         9. That the identity of the parent is unknown and

        home for a period of years.                                            continues       to  be   unknown       following     three

                                                                               months of diligent efforts to identify and locate

     5. That     the   potential     father   failed    to  file  a            the parent.

        paternity       action     within     thirty    days     of

        completion   of   service   of   notice   prescribed   in            10. That   the   parent   has   had   parental   rights   to

        section 8-106, subsection G.                                             another       child     terminated        within      the

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                                                                                                                    Children’s Action Alliance

         preceding two years for the same cause and is                       The requirements for a permanency hearing and

          currently      unable      to   discharge      parental       timelines for permanency are found in ARS §8-862:

          responsibilities due to the same cause.

                                                                             A. The court shall hold a permanency hearing to

     11. That all of the following are true:                                     determine the future permanent legal status of

                                                                                 the child:

     (a) The   child   was   cared   for   in   an   out-of-home

          placement pursuant to court order.                                  1. Within      thirty    days    after   the    disposition

                                                                                 hearing       if   the    court     does     not    order

     (b) The   agency   responsible   for   the   care   of   the                reunification services.

          child     made      diligent    efforts    to   provide

          appropriate reunification services.                                2. In all other cases, within twelve months after

                                                                                the   child   is   removed   from   the   child's   home.

     (c) The      child,   pursuant      to  court    order,    was             The court shall not continue the permanency

          returned   to   the   legal   custody   of   the   parent             hearing beyond twelve months after the child

          from whom the child had been removed.                                 is  removed  from  the  child's  home  unless  the

                                                                                party   who   is   seeking   the   continuance   shows

     (d) Within  eighteen  months  after  the  child  was                       that the determination prescribed in section 8-

          returned, pursuant to court order, the child                          829, subsection A, paragraph 3 has been made

          was removed from that parent's legal custody,                         or will be made within the time prescribed in

          the child is being cared for in an out-of-home                        that paragraph.

          placement        under     the   supervision      of  the

         juvenile court, the division or a licensed child                    B. At   the   permanency   hearing,   the   court   shall

          welfare   agency   and   the   parent   is   currently                 determine:

          unable to discharge parental responsibilities.

                                                                              1. Whether        termination       of   parental      rights,

     C. In   considering   the   grounds   for   termination                    adoption, permanent guardianship pursuant to

        prescribed in subsection B, paragraph 8 or 11                           section   8-872   or   some   other   permanent   legal

         of   this   section,   the   court   shall   consider   the            status is the most appropriate plan for the child

         availability    of  reunification      services    to  the             and   shall   order   the   plan   to   be   accomplished

        parent and the participation of the parent in                           within a specified period of time.

         these services.

                                                                             2. Whether reasonable efforts have been made to

     D. In   considering   the   grounds   for   termination                    finalize the permanency plan in effect.

         prescribed in subsection B, paragraph 8 of this

         section,  the  court  shall  not  consider  the  first              C. If  the  court  determines  that  the  child  should

         sixty days of the initial out-of-home placement                         remain in out-of-home placement longer than

         pursuant   to   section   8-806   in   the   cumulative                 eighteen       months      from     the   date     of   the

         total period.                                                           permanency   order,   the   court   shall   conduct   a

                                                                                 review of the order at least once each year. After

     Arizona   law   also   requires   that   for   a   judge   in   a           reviewing the order, the court may reaffirm the

severance bench trial or a jury in a severance jury trial,                       order or direct other disposition of the child.

the    court’s   findings     with   respect    to  grounds      for

termination must be based on “clear and convincing                           D. If the court determines that the termination of

evidence under the rules applicable and adhering to                              parental rights is clearly in the best interests of

the trial of civil causes.”43                                                    the child, the court shall:

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

     1. Order the department or the child's attorney or

         guardian ad litem to file within ten days after

         the permanency hearing a motion alleging one

         or more of the grounds prescribed in section 8-

         533    for   termination        of  parental      rights.   The

        party who files the motion has the burden of

        presenting evidence at the termination hearing

         to prove the allegations in the motion.

     2. Set a date for an initial hearing on the motion

        for termination of parental rights within thirty

         days    after    the    permanency         hearing.      If  the

         termination is contested at the initial hearing,

         the    court    shall    set  a   date    for   the   trial   on

         termination        of   parental     rights    within    ninety

         days after the permanency hearing.

     E. If    the     court     determines        that     permanent

         guardianship is clearly in the best interests of

         the child, the court shall:

     1. Order the department or the child's attorney or

         guardian ad litem to file within ten days after

         the permanency hearing a motion alleging the

         grounds        prescribed        in   section      8-871     for

        permanent  guardianship.  The  party  who  files

         the    motion       has   the    burden       of   presenting

         evidence at the hearing to prove the allegations

        in the motion.

     2. Set a date for an initial hearing on the motion

        for permanent guardianship within thirty days

         after      the     permanency           hearing.       If    the

        permanent          guardianship        is  contested      at  the

        initial hearing, the court shall set a date for the

         trial   on   the    permanent        guardianship        within

         ninety days after the permanency hearing.

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                                                                                                        Children’s Action Alliance

Appendix B – Individuals interviewed for this report

     Children’s Action Alliance would like to thank the following individuals for taking the time to provide their

comments and information relevant to TPR jury trials in Arizona:

Randi Alexander, Esq.                                            Bruce MacArthur,

The Honorable Mark Anderson, Arizona State Senate                     Office of the Arizona Attorney General

Denise Avila-Taylor,                                             The Honorable Michael McVey,

     Office of the Arizona Attorney General                           Maricopa County Superior Court

Paul Bennett, Esq.                                               Sara Moody, Child Protective Services

David Braun,                                                     Bill Owsley,

     Office of the Arizona Attorney General                           Office of the Legal Advocate, Maricopa County

The Honorable Robert Brutinel,                                   Eileen Palles,

     Presiding Judge, Yavapai County Superior Court                       Office of the Arizona Attorney General

Merritt Bingham Dublin,                                          Judith Palmer , Esq.

     Office of the Arizona Attorney General                      Rich Poniske, Child Protective Services

Jeff Costin , Child Protective Services                          Robert Rosenelli, Esq.

David Croxton, Child Protective Services                         The Honorable Julie Roth,

Julie Duncan , Child Protective Services                              Mohave County Superior Court

The Honorable Patricia Escher,                                   The Honorable Stephen Rubin,

     Pima County Juvenile Court                                       Lead Dependency Judge,

The Honorable Richard Fields,                                         Pima County Juvenile Court

     Pima County Superior Court                                  Peggy Schwartz, Child Protective Services

The Honorable Stephen Gerst,                                     Keith Singer, Esq.

     Maricopa County Superior Court                              William Stanton,

The Honorable Charles Harrington,                                     Arizona Supreme Court,

     Pima County Juvenile Court                                       Administrative Office of the Courts

Hervey Hotchkiss,                                                Pat Trebesch,

     Office of the Arizona Attorney General                           Office of the Arizona Attorney General

David N. Howarth,                                                Edward Truman,

     Office of the Arizona Attorney General                           Office of the Arizona Attorney General

The Honorable John Kelly,                                        Carey S. Turner,

     Pima County Superior Court                                       Office of the Arizona Attorney General

The Honorable Virginia Kelly,                                    Kathy Tuthill,

     Pima County Superior Court                                       Office of the Arizona Attorney General

The Honorable Kirby Kongable,                                    Karyn Vampotic,

     Yuma County Superior Court                                       Office of the Arizona Attorney General

The Honorable John Leonardo,                                     Tracy Wareing, Office of the Governor

     Presiding Judge, Pima County Superior Court                 Jo Ann Zirkle ,

Sandra Lopez, Child Protective Services                               Office of the Arizona Attorney General

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Terminating Parental Rights by Jury Trial in Arizona: A First Year Look

End Notes

                                                                                               11. In Pima County, the preliminary bench trial data reflect cases in which

                                                                                                   parents     specifically  waived    their  rights   to  jury  trial.  In  Maricopa,

1. The  Commission,  a  national,  nonpartisan  panel  funded  by  The  Pew                        Mohave,   and   Yuma   counties,   the   preliminary   bench   trial   data   may

   Charitable   Trusts   and   composed   of   leading   experts   in   child   welfare,           reflect  at  least  some  cases  that  started  as  jury  trial  requests  but  then

   undertook the first-ever, comprehensive assessment of two key aspects of                        reverted to bench trials.

   the foster care system: a federal financing structure that encourages an

   over-reliance on placement of children in foster care at the expense of                     12. The  Maricopa  County  Juvenile  Court  reported  that  141  bench  trials

   other more permanent options for children who have been abused or                               were completed during this period but outcomes for these bench trials

   neglected, and a court system that lacks sufficient tools, information,                         were available for only 98 of these cases. Therefore, a more conservative

   and accountability necessary to move children swiftly out of foster care                        count of “completed” bench trials has been used in this report.

   and into permanent homes. More information on the Pew Commission

   and its final report can be found on their website at www.pewfostercare.org                 13. This is also consistent with data provided by the Milwaukee County

                                                                                                    (Wisconsin)       Circuit   Court    that   show    that   over   96   percent    of

2. Pima County was the only jurisdiction from which comparable bench                               termination   filings   in   2002   and   2003   were   resolved   through   court

   trial data were immediately available.                                                           (bench) trials, defaults, or consents.

3. Abuse/neglect (i.e., dependency) proceedings precede termination of                         14. This excludes the 40 pending cases because the outcomes were not yet

   parental rights matters. As of January 2004, 11 states (Colorado, Maine,                        known.

   Massachusetts,  Michigan,  Montana,  Oklahoma,  South  Dakota,  Texas,

   Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have statutes or case law that permit                     15. “Completion” means the jury trial has been completed and the jury has

   or require a jury trial in dependency cases. The remaining states have                          rendered a verdict, or the judge has issued her/his ruling following a

   case law or statutes or local court rules that specifically prohibit a jury                     bench trial (i.e., parental rights terminated or not).

   trial in dependency cases. See Szymanski. L. (2004).Jury Trial in Abuse,

   Neglect,   Dependency   Cases   NCJJ   Snapshot,   9(1).   Pittsburgh,   PA.   National     16. Pima County data are presented here because of the higher number of

   Center for Juvenile Justice.                                                                    completed jury trials in that county. These figures only apply to cases

                                                                                                   where jury or bench trials were actually held and completed during the

4. A publication prepared by Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona                            December 18, 2003 through December 17, 2004 period. These data

   Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, in September 2004                           should be considered preliminary.

   and   entitled  Arizona   Juvenile   Courts:   Working   to   Improve   Outcomes   for

   Abused and Neglect Children contains an overview of Arizona’s juvenile                      17. Email of April 13, 2005 from The Honorable Maurice Portley, Court of

   court proceedings for dependency and severance cases.                                           Appeals, Division I.

5. In Arizona, there are two ways to initiate termination actions. The first                   18. Telephone   conversation   with   Michelle   Nimmo,   Court   of   Appeals,

   most common method involves the filing of a motion to sever parental                            Division II, March 31, 2005.

   rights.    ARS    §8-862.D.1.    states   “If  the   court   determines      (at  the

   permanency hearing) that the termination of parental rights is clearly in                   19. Comparison data on appeals of TPR jury and bench trials during this

   the best interests of the child, the court shall order (CPS) or the child’s                     first year were not available for this study.

   attorney or guardian ad litem to file within 10 days after the permanency

   hearing a motion alleging one or more of the grounds prescribed in                          20. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. (2000) Adoption

   ARS §8-533 for termination of parental rights.” Arizona law (ARS §8-                             and  Permanency  Guidelines:  Improving  Court  Practice  in  Child  Abuse  and

   533.A.) also allows any person or agency who “has a legitimate interest                         Neglect Cases. Reno, Nevada. (Page 5) The purpose of the Adoption and

   in the welfare of a child to file a petition for the termination of the                         Permanency   Guidelines  is   “to   set   forth   the   essential   elements   of   best

   parent-child relationship.”                                                                     practice  for  the  court  processes  that  lead  to  a  permanent  home  for

                                                                                                   children who cannot be reunified with their families.”

6. Only   six   states   (Nevada,   Oklahoma,   Texas,   Virginia,   Wisconsin,   and

   Wyoming)   have   statutes,   court   rules,   and/or   case   law   that   permit   or     21. The National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) conducted a series of

   require a jury trial in termination of parental rights cases. Szymanski, L.                     studies     examining       juvenile    court   practices,    including     judicial

   (2003) Jury  Trials  in  Termination  of  Parental  Rights  Cases:  NCJJ  Snapshot ,             assignments, before and after court reforms were instituted statewide.

   8(12).    Pittsburgh,    PA.   National     Center    for  Juvenile    Justice.   The           The first study, completed in 1996, found frequent changes in judges

   remaining 43 states have case law or statutes or local court rules that                         handling       dependency        matters.    This    contributed      to   frequent

   specifically prohibit TPR jury trials.                                                           continuances and delays in court proceedings and prolonged court

                                                                                                   involvement for many dependent children. G.J. Halemba & G. Siegel

7. The     Presiding    Superior    Court    Judge    in  Yavapai   County     was   also           (1996) Arizona Court Improvement Project: Final Report. Pittsburgh, PA.

   interviewed for this report. The Yavapai County Superior Court convened                         National Center for Juvenile Justice. A follow up study conducted after

   one TPR jury trial during this period though this trial did not end in a jury                    court   reforms   were   adopted   statewide,   including   One   Family/One

   verdict (the parent relinquished rights before the end of the trial).                           Judge case assignment, found significant reductions in continuances

                                                                                                    and delays, as well as significant decreases in the average length of

8. Grounds for terminating parental rights in Arizona are delineated in                             time dependent children remained court involved. G. Siegel, et. al.

   ARS §8-533.B. (See Appendix A.)                                                                  (2002) The Arizona Court Improvement Project: Five Years Later. Pittsburgh,

                                                                                                   PA. National Center for Juvenile Justice.

9. All Arizona jury trial statistics used in this report were provided by the

   Office of the Arizona Attorney General, Child and Family Protection                         22. For    example,     in  2003,    half  of  the   judges   assigned    to  Maricopa

   Division,   the   Arizona   Supreme   Court,   Administrative   Office   of   the               County’s southeast court facility (SEF) rotated off the juvenile bench.

   Courts, and/or the juvenile courts in Maricopa and Pima counties.                               The majority of new judges rotated in from the criminal bench and

                                                                                                   did   not   have   experience   with   juvenile   cases.   G.J.   Halemba,   et.   al.,

10. Excluding pending jury trials was necessary for this preliminary analysis                       (2004) Arizona   Dual   Jurisdiction   Study:   Final   Report.   Pittsburgh,   PA.

    because we do not know the outcomes for pending events.                                        National Center for Juvenile Justice.

                                                                                          35

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23. All juvenile court judges in Arizona are superior court judges. When                        CASA volunteers nationwide. Information obtained from the National

    cited   in   this   paper,   however,   their   titles   reflect   the   court   they   were CASA Organization (www.nationalcasa.org).

    assigned to during the December 2003 through December 2004 period.

                                                                                            35. Previous research on families involved in the juvenile court system has

24. The judge assigned to handle jury trials in Pima County is currently                        shown very high rates of chronic substance abuse and mental illness

    assigned to juvenile court but he conducts jury trials at the superior                      among parents of dependent children. For example, see G. Siegel, et.

    court building, not at the juvenile court. Other judges may handle TPR                      al. (2002) The Arizona Court Improvement Project: Five Years Later. NCJJ.

    jury trials if there is a conflict. In early 2005, a different superior court

    judge will be assigned to handle TPR jury trials. After that assignment                 36. See   Appendix   A   for   the   specific   grounds   for   terminating   parental

    is   completed,     the  Pima    County     Juvenile   Court    will  rotate  jury          rights in Arizona.

    assignments among the juvenile court judges.

                                                                                            37. Pursuant to both state and federal law, the juvenile court is required to

25. Some     proponents     of   the  One    Family/One      Judge    approach    also          make      “reasonable     efforts”  findings    at  almost    every   stage  of   a

    emphasize   that   when   a   TPR   motion   is   filed,   it   is   an   extension   of   a dependency action. “Reasonable efforts refer to those actions which

    dependency case and, thus, parents are not entitled to a change in judge.                   the state (i.e. CPS) would reasonably be expected to take, such as the

                                                                                                provision of appropriate rehabilitative or treatment services, to enable

26. The Pima County Juvenile Court will be initiating a pilot TPR mediation                     children to remain safely at home before they are placed in foster care.

    project in five of its courtrooms in early 2005. This project will involve                  It   also   refers   to   those   actions   the   state   would   reasonably   make   to

    mandatory referral to mediation between the initial severance hearing                       reunite foster children with their biological parents. (TPR motions or

    and pre-trial conference. The initial severance hearing will be handled                     petitions)     cannot    be  filed  without    consistent    reasonable    efforts

    by   the   same   judge   that   handled   the   dependency   while   the   pre-trial       findings by the juvenile court.” This description of reasonable efforts

    conference will be handled by the judge assigned to the jury trial. The                     was drawn from a letter written by the Honorable Leonard P. Edwards,

    court is also initiating a mandatory permanency mediation pilot project,                    Presiding   Juvenile   Court   Judge   in   Santa   Clara   County,   California.

    also starting in early 2005. Parties will be required to go to mediation                     (1995) Resource Guidelines: Improving Court Practices in Child Abuse &

    prior to the permanency planning hearing. Courtrooms that will not be                       Neglect Cases (Pg. 167-168). Reno, NV

    participating in the mandatory TPR and permanency mediation projects

    will have the option of referring parties to mediation but it will not be               38. Many      court   appointed     attorneys   handle     both   dependency      and

    mandatory. The court anticipates that expanded mediation will reduce                        delinquency cases. Attorneys may have to reschedule hearings for both

    the number of cases that go to contested TPR bench and jury trials.                         types of cases when a jury trial is scheduled.

27. Mediation   is   conducted   by   either   a   court-employed,   contracted,   or       39. The   state   has   provided   funding   for   additional   AGs   and   CPS   case

    volunteer mediator. Settlement conferences may be facilitated by the                        managers.       However,     the  funding     was   given   to  meet    only   the

    judge who handled the dependency phase, the judge assigned to the                           dependency caseloads projected through fiscal year 2005. It did not

    jury trial, or a different judge, depending on the county.                                  include funding to increase staff to account for the additional time

                                                                                                necessary to prepare for and present at jury trials. At the same time,

28. As shown, trial management conferences for jury trials are unique to                        additional   funding   has   not   been   provided   at   the   county   level   for

    Maricopa County. Interviews indicated the judges in Maricopa County                         attorneys who represent parents and children in these matters, and

    require only attorneys to attend these conferences.                                         jury   trials  dramatically     increase    work    demands      for  these   key

                                                                                                professionals as well.

29. Arizona law and court rules do not specify a time limit for holding

    TPR bench or jury trials in cases involving TPR petitions. However,                     40. Adoption and Permanency Guidelines (Page 93).

    almost all TPR matters in Arizona involve motions, not petitions.

                                                                                            41. A recent discussion with the Chief Counsel for the Protective Services

30. Based  on  information  provided  by  the  Administrative  Office  of  the                  Division,    Office   of  the  Arizona    Attorney    General,    indicated   that

    Arizona Supreme Court, Dependent Children’s Services Division.                              Maricopa County may be experiencing a substantial increase in jury

                                                                                                trial requests and jury trials that may actually be held.

31. While Yavapai County has not completed a termination jury trial to

    verdict   yet,   the   Yavapai   County   Juvenile   Court   holds   jury   trials   on 42. The Pima County Juvenile Court Center has two courtrooms with jury

    Wednesdays through Fridays.                                                                 boxes   and   adjoining   jury   deliberation   rooms.   It   does   not   have   jury

                                                                                                assembly rooms. The Maricopa County Juvenile Court does not have

32. However, the judges handling jury trials in Maricopa and Pima counties                      any jury boxes nor does it have any jury assembly or deliberation rooms.

    have initiated some steps that are intended to minimize the frequency

    of cases bouncing from jury to bench trial.

33. Guardians   Ad   Litem   (GALs)   may   be   appointed   by   the   court   for

    children and/or parents. GALs are almost always attorneys, but their

    roles are different than attorneys appointed to represent children or

    parents.    In   brief,  the  GAL    is  appointed    to  represent    the   “best

    interests” of the child or parent. The child or parent may not agree

    with  the  GAL’s  assessment  regarding  what  is  in  their  best  interest.

    Attorneys     for  children    and    parents,   on   the   other   hand,    must

    advocate for and represent their clients’ wishes.

34. CASA volunteers are trained volunteer advocates who speak for the

    best   interests   of  children   in  court.  Today,   more    than   900   CASA

    programs are in operation, with 70,000 women and men serving as

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