PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – If you have business at any one of the 26 Maricopa County Justice Courts, you need to call before going down to the courthouse. None of the courthouses are closed, but the Maricopa County Justice Courts are trying to limit in-person contact to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
“Courthouse doors are still open at this time to comply with the law and to handle emergency needs such as orders of protection, but with the spread of COVID-19 it is prudent to scale back operations,” court spokesman Scott Davis explained in news release Friday morning. “Many matters now will be handled over the telephone.”
The move is to comply with an order issued by the Arizona Supreme Court earlier this week.
Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County will prohibit physical access to all Superior Court buildings through April 8.
Limiting in-person contact doesn’t mean the courts are not working. People can still request protective orders and file lawsuits, and citations, including traffic violations, will still be processed, but each matter will be handled a bit differently.
To request a protective order, fill out the paperwork online at azpoint.azcourts.gov, and then call the court with your user number to find out how to proceed. If you are already involved in a proceeding, call the specific court handing it to get the latest guidelines.
While some matters may be continued at a judge's discretion, Davis said, "Protective orders may still be requested and issued without delay."
Because the coronavirus situation is a fluid one, the Justice Courts said it will update its website and Facebook page as further changes are made. All court contacts are listed at justicecourts.maricopa.gov/Locations.
The 26 Justice Courts throughout Maricopa County handle civil lawsuits of $10,000 or less, small claims cases of $3,500 or less, evictions, misdemeanor offenses such as shoplifting, writing bad checks, etc., and the full range of civil and criminal traffic offenses including DUIs. Each is presided over by an elected Justice of the Peace.