Court of Appeals

There are two Court of Appeals in Arizona, Division 1 and Division 2. The state is divvied up geographically.

Court of Appeals, Division Two , Divsion 2 covers Tucson

Court of Appeals, Divsion One (or 1 or I if you prefer). Division 1 covers Phoenix

tip: you can seach Arizona Court of Appeals by doing this google search (but it’s not clear how well this works — i.e. can’t find older opinions; should use the court’s search functions to be more sure):
bicycle (Divsion 1)
bicycle (Division 2)

There’s two comments here about some interesting decisions, relating to Maxwell.

There’s a very recent (2013) ruling about using headlights on the sidewalk: Baggett.

Order of court proceedings for civil traffic complaint:

  1. local court; e.g. a justice court, or city municipal court… if found responsible you file a “Notice of Appeal” get a copy of the record, and eventually file a
  2. “Motion for Rehearing”, or the “Appellant’s Memorandum” (different names for the same thing?)  in county superior court, if unhappy “Generally, there is no right of appeal to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court”, but next stop is…
  3. [There’s a big caveat here, see comment below  about Banahan and the earlier Poli for details] Court of Appeals. Division One or Divison Two (by geography) “The second highest court in Arizona. A case originating in the traffic court will rarely be considered by the Court of Appeals” …  also note “In rare cases, a special action may be granted”.  If Court of Appeals rules and are still unhappy you can ask the…
  4. Supreme Court; which is entirely at their discretion.

Here are a couple of handy documents about how Traffic Court works in Arizona:

  • look under “appeals” there are several, e.g. Representing yourself: appealing a civil traffic case, currently dated 2008
  • Civil Traffic Rules and Procedure – The New Rules Prepared by Hon. George T. Anagnost, Peoria Municipal Court, 2002. Covers procedural rules, rules of evidence, etc (another copy of this document is here). Especially interesting fragments: “Rule 17. Rules of Evidence and Burden of Proof… (a) The Arizona Rules of Evidence shall NOT apply in civil traffic cases” “Rule 12 . The State NEED NOT be  represented by counsel at the hearing or appeal of a civil traffic complaint” (indeed, it is exceedingly rare for the state to be represented, except in the City of Flagstaff).
  • Resource page “Guide to Arizona Traffic laws” from ASU school of Law; has many references to law books geared to finding resources for representing yourself.

Here’s a site that supposedly has a whole bunch of different rules for different courts, e.g. Phoenix specific rules. (the original link was )


There’s a really handy document at the Arizona Attoney General’s site: The Criminal Justice Process: An Overview. There’s a handy flowchart, as well.

Searching with Findlaw

Apparently Findlaw has a free search that works just fine for Arizona Court of Appeals and az Supreme Court… e.g. here is Baggett via Findlaw. But couldn’t find Maxwell, perhaps too old?


6 thoughts on “Court of Appeals”

  1. The Superior court won’t consider new evidence (although some of the
    stuff in the appellant’s memo wasn’t introduced in trial court, and probably didn’t
    help the case), and the Court is required to “view the facts in a light most favourable to upholding the ruling of the trial court”.

    Consulting the “Representing yourself” civil traffic PDF:
    There’s also a “motion for oral argument”, requesting the court allows (typically very short) verbal argument.

    Then there’s a “motion for rehearing”, which appears to be the same as a “motion for reconsideration” (?)

    And then there’s an appeal from the Superior court to an Appelate court.

    In any higher court, I expect they want as simple of a case as possible, don’t want to grant a motion for oral argument or such, since that can just end up introducing additional, possibly
    contradictory facts, complicating their job.

  2. “Interesting” Rules of Evidence in Civil Traffic Cases… these are the so-called new rules (as amended in 2002 or something)…

    Rule 12 . Representation by the State
    The State need not be represented by counsel at the hearing or appeal of a civil traffic
    complaint. Absent extraordinary circumstances, the State’s right to be represented by counsel
    at the hearing is waived unless, at least 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date or within
    10 calendar days of receipt of notice that the defendant will be represented by counsel,
    whichever is later, the State notifies the court and the defendant, of its election to be represented by counsel.

    Rule 13 . Discovery; Officer’s Notes
    (a) No pre- hearing discovery shall be permitted absent extraordinary circumstances.
    (b) Immediately prior to the hearing, both parties shall produce for inspection any preprepared exhibits and written or recorded statements of any witness. Failure to comply with this rule may result, in the court’s discretion, in the sanction of granting a recess or continuance to permit such inspection or denying admission
    of the evidence not so exchanged.
    (c) During the hearing, upon request of the defendant, the citing officer shall produce any notes made by the officer in reference to the civil traffic complaint. This rule shall not be construed to create a duty on the officer to maintain or preserve notes.

    Rule 17. Rules of Evidence and Burden of Proof
    (a) The Arizona Rules of Evidence shall not apply in civil traffic cases. Evidence may be admitted subject to a determination that the evidence has some probative value to a fact at issue. Nothing in this rule is to be construed as abrogating any statutory provision relating to privileged communications.
    (b) The State’s burden of proof shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.


    Particularly the following:
    Unlike the court of appeals, the Supreme Court is not required
    to hear every appeal.

    The following is all from memory, as I recall, essentially all of it
    from the above source documents:

    1) trial court; municipal or justice for misdemeanors; for felonies,
    they can only handle the initial appearance, and
    (hypothetically) dismiss the case if they decide the police
    didn’t meet the “probably cause” burden (I think the burder
    may be “preponderance of the evidence” in some states?)

    2) appeal to superior court (unless it’s capital, in which case appeal
    is automatic and to the supreme court). That’s usually
    written, but “motion for oral argument” may allow a (short)
    argument, I guess in addition to the existing record, and
    probably (?) in addition to a written memo.

    2.5) motion to reconsider. That’s a request to the same court (here,
    superior) to reconsider its judgement. It costs nothing, but
    must be submitted within 14 (?) calendar days, and I assume
    it’s essentially never successful.

    3) court of appeals
    3.5) motion to reconsider (?)
    4) supreme court
    4.5) motion to reconsider (?)

    I don’t know if the court of appeals is guaranteed or if they’re
    “solicited” like for the supreme court (or if it depends on what court
    the trial was in?).

    There are other rules for (1), like: small claims court goes to
    justice court, but nonsmall claims (something like >=10,000$) goes to
    superior court. There’s other rules for things like minors and such.

  4. I was under the impression that civil traffic violations could, at least theoretically, be appealed to the Court of Appeals; this dismissed appeal says otherwise. In short, the statute 22-375 effectively precludes appeals above the Superior Court for traffic laws unless it is a constitutional (“validity”) challenge. It is separately unclear to me if/how constitutional challenges, e.g. for vagueness, or due process, can ever be made for civil (as distinct from criminal) infractions.

    Arizona v. Banahan CA-CV 11-0806-156892
    Furthermore, as Banahan is appealing from a judgment regarding a civil traffic violation, his rights to appeal are defined by A.R.S. § 28-1600 (2012). That section, in pertinent part, provides that “[a] party may appeal the judgment of the court . . . to the superior court in the same manner as provided by rules adopted by the supreme court.” There is no provision in § 28-1600, however, permitting an additional appeal to our court. In fact, our court has previously found that we lack jurisdiction to review the adjudication of a civil traffic violation. See Poli, 161 Ariz. at (151,) 153, 776 P.2d at (1077,) 1079.

    So, if it’s true that civil traffic violations can never be appealed above Superior Court; it’s implied that it’s impossible to ever even make a constitutional challenge to a civil traffic law. (well other than at trial and then at Superior Court appeal). One possible exception is something called a Special Action by the Court of Appeals (to be researched later).

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