The Legal Nexus

A blog of the Maricopa County Bar Association

Arnold vs. Sarn and the Electronic Record on Appeal

Arnold vs. Sarn and other Historically Significant Cases

By Michael K. Jeanes, Clerk of the Superior Court

The Clerk’s Corner in the May edition of the Maricopa Lawyer discussed historically significant cases that have touched the Superior Court in Maricopa County in one way or another. Parties, attorneys, judicial officers and others were encouraged to designate qualifying cases for this designation. The process and forms are readily available and the brief time it takes to file the motion potentially preserves the case for all time.

Among the cases listed as examples was this description: “Public Fiduciary v. Arizona State Hospital (Sarns case/mental health), which began as a class action in 1981 and continues today.” Fortunately, this cursory write-up caught the attention of Charles Arnold, the “Arnold” in Arnold vs. Sarns, as the case is nationally and internationally known by the legal and non-legal community. Arnold (“Chick” when engaged informally) was willing to share his insight into the case and its far-reaching effects and agreed to have his comments published in this edition of the Maricopa Lawyer.

The value in designating a case as historically significant is that the case remains available to educate and put the legal and social environment in context. Even more valuable is designating cases while the players are still available and passionate about their insight.

The Electronic Record on Appeal Expands

In August of 2009 the Clerk’s Office started a pilot with Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals by providing the record on appeal electronically in one probate case, followed by appeals in all family and probate court cases. Continue reading


June 17, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Attorneys Ask Arizona Supreme Court to Enjoin State’s Planned Freeze on Medicaid Enrollment to Take Effect July 1

Three public-interest law firms have asked the Arizona Supreme Court to place an injunction and expedite consideration of their request for a special action on Gov. Jan Brewer’s plan to freeze enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program. Brewer’s petition to freeze enrollment for about 140,000 adults who earn the same as or less than the federal poverty level would take place July 1, despite voters’ determination through passing Proposition 204 in 2000 that that population should be covered.

In their motion for injunctive relief, the petitioners said they are concerned that thousands of low-income Arizonans will be “irreparably harmed” if an injunction is not issued by the Supreme Court.

In Thursday’s motion, attorney Tim Hogan said that it appears the government will approve the state’s request to deny health care eligibility under Medicaid to adults without dependent children who apply after June 30 and parents with an income at or above 75 percent of the federal poverty level who apply after Sept. 30.

“All indications from the federal government are that it will grant Arizona’s request,” Hogan wrote. Continue reading

June 17, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Former Solicitor General Chosen as Lead Counsel to File SB 1070 Petition

Paul D. Clement

Gov. Jan Brewer has chosen renowned attorney Paul D. Clement as lead counsel in filing Arizona’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court regarding SB 1070.

Clement is a partner at Bancroft PLLC in Washington, D.C. He served under President George W. Bush as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States, from 2005 until 2008. Before Clement’s service as solicitor general, he was acting solicitor general for nearly a year and principal deputy solicitor general for more than three years. He is a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Clement has argued more than 50 cases before the Supreme Court, including McConnell v. FEC, Tennessee v. Lane, Rumsfeld v. Padilla, and McDonald v. Chicago. Additionally, Clement’s lower court experience includes many of the government’s pivotal cases, such as Walker v. Cheney and the successful appeal in United States v. Moussaoui. He currently serves as lead counsel representing 26 states, including Arizona, in the Florida lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of ObamaCare. That case is currently before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Mr. Clement has an impeccable nationwide reputation for his expertise in appellate and constitutional litigation,” said Brewer. “He is well-suited to lead our excellent legal team as we advance Arizona’s appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Brewer said she is optimistic the Supreme Court will choose to hear the state’s defense of SB 1070.

It will likely be late September or early October before the court announces whether it will hear the case.

June 6, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment

Professor Penny Willrich Named Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Phoenix School of Law

Penny Willrich

Phoenix School of Law Professor Penny Willrich has been appointed as the new associate dean of academic affairs, beginning July 1. She will take on the post as Associate Dean Shandrea Solomon steps down to become a full-time assistant professor of law.

“Professor Penny Willrich is the perfect person to serve as our associate dean for academic affairs,” said Shirley L. Mays, dean of Phoenix School of Law. “As one of the tenured faculty members of the law school, she is both knowledgeable and passionate about Phoenix School of Law. A former judge, Professor Willrich is a well-respected member of the legal community and a great model for our culture.”

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the entire Phoenix Law family – students, faculty, staff, and administrators – to lead and develop an educational institution,” said Willrich. “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues at PhoenixLaw as we strive to develop a center of excellence, as we implement programs and projects to further our mission pillars, as we become more entrenched in the fabric of the legal community and as we continue to graduate lawyers who rock the state in bar passage. This new job is a set of new responsibilities in a labor of love.”

Before teaching at PhoenixLaw, Willrich served as the first African-American woman trial court judge in the history of the state of Arizona from 1999 to 2005. She served in the juvenile, criminal, and family division. However, she continues to serve the court as a judge pro tem. From 1995 to 1999, Willrich served as a commissioner of Maricopa County Superior Court. She served in the juvenile and criminal division. As a juvenile court commissioner, Willrich was appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court to prepare the initial draft of re-drafted juvenile court rules. Continue reading

June 3, 2011 Posted by | About Us | Leave a comment