Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Arizona does not have a statutory purpose clause for juvenile court, but a rule of juvenile court states that proceedings "shall be conducted as informally as the requirements of due process and fairness permit."

17B A.R.S. Juv.Ct.Rules of Proc., Rule 6

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

In Arizona, law enforcement officers (LEO)’s can issue a citation that serves as an order to appear before the court. When LEOs take youth to a court-approved detention facility, a report and sworn affidavit or citation must be submitted to the court within 24 hours. When not detained, following a referral to the prosecutor for delinquent or incorrigible acts, the petition alleging delinquent or incorrigible acts must be filed with the court within 45 days. Depending on the jurisdiction, commissioners or hearing officers appointed by the court may conduct pretrial detention hearings and process, adjudicate, and dispose of non-felonious allegations, subject to court order. A city or town attorney/prosecutor assigned to municipal court with approval of the county attorney (DA) may establish diversion programs for most misdemeanor/ordinance-level offenses except DUI-related offenses. Lesser alcohol violations are also excluded from diversion when the youth participated in a diversion program at least twice within the last 2 years.

Otherwise, once a complaint is received, the county attorney prosecutor (DA) can make the decision to divert or defer prosecution of a juvenile accused of committing a delinquent or incorrigible act. The DA can refer to a court-administered or community based alternative program to divert from juvenile court. Unless the DA pre-delegates the decision to JPO, when a complaint is received by the court, the JPO submits the referral to the DA to make the decision on whether to file a petition, though some felonious offenses and priors make the juvenile ineligible. When the DA declines prosecution, JPO can proceed with diversion referrals. Once the juvenile is accepted into the program and admits responsibility for the essential elements of the accusation, the juvenile, victim, parent and others affected by the offense have the right to participate in the program. Within 30 days, participants must agree to ‘any legally reasonable consequences for the juvenile or parent/s that participants determine necessary to resolve the matter except confinement’. These meetings and records are open to the public and must be completed within 90 days (90 school days for a school alternative program) and can be extended by the DA or JPO. Upon successful completion, the DA will not file a petition.

Once a petition is filed, the DA can defer prosecution, but no timelines are specified. Following an admission, the court may defer acceptance of the child’s plea until the time of disposition. The child is then subject to orders of the court under supervision of a probation officer pending adjudication or disposition hearing. After adjudication, judges can ‘set aside’ some matters specified in statute.

Pre-petition court diversion time limit/s exist.

In Arizona, pre-petition court diversion agreements are set for up to 90 days or up to 90 school days for a school alternative program, and time limits for post-petition diversions are not specified in statute. 

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Arizona’s Supreme Court amended Rule 12  effective 1/1/17 to restrict routine use of shackling.

Competency, 2015

In Arizona, the legal basis for juvenile competency determinations and related procedures is found in a comprehensive article of the juvenile code (of statutes) and Juvenile Court Rules, which align with the Dusky standard. Juveniles may not participate in delinquency, incorrigibility or criminal proceedings if the court determines the juvenile is incompetent to proceed. Youth alleged to have committed a serious offense and deemed ‘incompetent’ or ‘not restorable to competency’ meet the definition of dependency. The evaluation report is provided first to the defense attorney for redaction; and distributed to the state (prosecutor) and the court within 24 hours.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

Continue reading »


Tell us what you think of JJGPS. Questions, feedback, or other comments are welcomed.

Questions or feedback »

Follow on Twitter »