Protocol and Practice of Persons Appearing in the Court of Judge Suzanne Nicholls
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Specific Comments or Advice for LitigantsSpecific Requirements or Preferences Welcome to Judge Suzanne M. Nicholls’ Division. We are located in the Central Court Building, Courtroom 704. Our address is: 201 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, Arizona 85003. Our Division phone number is 602-372-0901.
The main point of contact for the Division is my Judicial Assistant, Leslie Strombeck, at the Division phone number listed above. Leslie's email address is Leslie.Strombeck@JBAZMC.maricopa.gov. Alyssa Wasson is my Courtroom Assistant. Alyssa provides an important role in the functioning of hearings, handling of juries, and other things that need to happen within the Division. She can be reached through the Division phone number and via email at Alyssa.Wasson@jbazmc.maricopa.gov. Generally speaking, if there is a need to email the Division, you should email Leslie or both Leslie and Alyssa.
These Protocols are not intended to be all-inclusive, but merely a helpful starting place. You are welcome to reach out to the Division with specific questions if you cannot find answers in these Protocols and/or where the law does not already provide an answer.
Of utmost importance in this Division, is the display of mutual respect and courtesy from and to judicial staff, attorneys, parties, victims, and spectators in and out of my courtroom, regardless of whether a person is represented by an attorney or representing themselves. Harassment and/or discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation will not be tolerated in this Division.
Courtesy to Court Staff: Please be courteous to court staff at all times. Remember that they can be helpful to you, but they are not lawyers and they are not permitted to provide legal advice.
Courtroom (and Virtual) Appearances: Appropriate attire is expected for all proceedings, including virtual hearings and conferences. Virtual appearances may be permitted after the proper filing of a motion requesting such an appearance if deemed appropriate by the given facts. Please provide information outlining why you believe a virtual appearance is necessary to explain why the Court should deviate from its in-person requirement. There shall be no food or drink allowed and no eating or drinking in the Courtroom (including virtual appearances). This includes the prohibition of chewing gum.
Recording: Each hearing is recorded through the Court’s recording system. Outside or personal recording of a hearing by any means (e.g., cell phone, tape recorder, laptop, etc.) is prohibited without prior approval from the Court. This includes a prohibition against any audio, video, or photographic imaging.
Self-Represented Litigants: I understand that when a party is representing himself/herself without an attorney (“pro per”) the process can be somewhat confusing and scary. I will do my best as the judge to explain the process to self-represented litigants or to answer questions about the process during hearings. If you have questions, it is best to ask. Please understand, however, that as the judge I cannot give legal advice to either party. Please note that all parties, whether self-represented or represented by an attorney, are required to know and comply with the Rules and Statutes equally. If you are representing yourself in litigation without an attorney, there is a Self-Service Center located on the first floor of the East Court Building where litigants can obtain information and some limited assistance with the process. The Clerk of Court also provides a lot of useful information in the form of Frequently Asked Questions and self-service packets with forms you can use to file documents in your case. You can find those resources and more at the Clerk of Court website at https://www.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/. You are encouraged to use these free services.
Pre-Trial Practice and Management IssuesMotion Practice No Ex Parte Communication: All written communication with the Court, including email, must copy the opposing party unless a specific exception allows for ex parte communication.
eFiling: This Division has a strong preference for motions and other pleadings to be filed through the Clerk of Court’s eFiling system. This Court believes the eFiling process is much easier and more productive on all ends of processing and generally negates the needs for duplicate Minute Entries regarding the same issues, limits filing efforts of attorneys, staff, pro pers, court staff, clerk staff, and saves travel time and expenses. It also makes it much faster for us to process your requests. Information on eFiling and how to do it, including manuals, can be found here: https://efilingonline.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/Web/#/.
Citation to Case Law: This Division adheres to ARCAP Rule 13(f) regarding citation to case law and encourages counsel to save space by omitting parallel citations – citation to the volume, page number(s) and paragraph(s) of the official Arizona reporter, only, is sufficient. Citation of non-Arizona case law must be to the volume and page number of applicable regional or federal reporters. If a case is not available in an official Arizona reporter in an applicable regional or federal reporter, a party may provide a citation to an electronic database or another source, but should also provide a copy of, or working link to, the case. Please make sure you are citing to relevant law in your motions to ensure compliance with all relevant Rules and to appropriately support your position.
Forms of Orders: You must submit (lodge – not file) a Form of Order with all motions. Forms of Orders should be submitted in WORD format, instead of pdf or other document type.
No Combination Response/Motions: All motions, responses, replies and other filings must be submitted individually. Counsel shall not combine any motion with a responsive pleading. All motions are to be filed separately and designated as such. No filing will be accepted if filed in combination with another.
Timely Filing and Emailed Copies: When a Minute Entry or other Order directs the parties to file a document, the Court expects that the document will be filed by the required date. Copies must be emailed to this Division and provided to the other party at the time of filing, along with copy of an eFiling or other filing receipt. If you are filing a pleading that involves an issue that is an actual emergency or where there is a hearing in your case within the next several days, you must also email a copy of that pleading (with proof of filing), and including any Form of Order, to the Division to ensure that it is seen on time. If you are unclear where to find your eFiling or other filing receipt, please reach out to the Clerk of Court for assistance at (602)37-CLERK or (602)372-5375.
Joint Filings: When a Rule requires a document to be filed jointly, or the Court so orders, the document must be filed jointly. If an opposing party fails to participate in the joint filing in good faith, a party may file the document separately and notify the Court of the opposing party’s conduct or inaction that necessitated the separate filing.