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The following information may be bad news to you: Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

If you find yourself in the awkward bind of realizing that fact a day late, here’s what I recommend: Read Randy Howe’s touching article in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Then contact your loved one and apologize—more than once. And make amends by sharing the story’s link with her.

Randy’s story and his mother’s evocative and surprising letter of advocacy for her son may heal all wounds.

The heart of the story of Randall Howe—now an Arizona Court of Appeals judge—revolves around his mother’s position in regard to her son’s education, and a letter she sent to the district on his behalf. As he writes:

“Six years old was when children in Colorado started first grade, and my mother believed that I should begin school. The fact that I had cerebral palsy, walked with walker, and had a speech impediment—all of these things she deemed irrelevant to my need—my right—to go to school. Consequently, she enrolled me in the elementary school down the street from our house. School officials had never encountered children with a severe disability before and put her off, requiring that I be mentally and psychologically tested to determine if I was intellectually capable of attending school.”

“Undaunted, she did just that. And from reading the letter, you can see what happened. I went to first grade for four days, until school officials decided that they were unable to give a child with a disability the physical assistance necessary so that he could attend school. My mother—again undaunted—proceeded to petition, cajole and argue with the school officials, and to threaten legal action against the school board to get me the public education that was provided to every nondisabled child in the State of Colorado.”

Here is Randy’s whole story, which I (seriously) suggest you share with friends and family.

A new pro bono program will offer lawyers the opportunity to brief and argue cases at the Arizona Court of Appeals.

A new pro bono program will offer lawyers the opportunity to brief and argue cases at the Arizona Court of Appeals.

A brand-new program launches this week at the Arizona Court of Appeals through which attorneys may be approved to brief and argue appellate cases on behalf of self-represented litigants. If you’ve had a hankering to stand and deliver at the CoA, this may be your opportunity.

As the court says, “Attorneys interested in arguing a case at the Court of Appeals are being recruited as volunteers for this pro bono program.” To be considered, the court requires you to contact one of the designated lawyer–coordinators, who will be developing lists of counsel for both Division One and Division Two of the Court of Appeals.

The administrative order creating the program is here.

Here are the attorney–coordinator contacts:

Division One Pro Bono Attorney Coordinator:

Kimberly A. Demarchi, Esq.

Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP

201 East Washington Street, Suite 1200

Phoenix, AZ  85004

(602) 262-5728 or KDemarchi@LRRLaw.com

Division Two Pro Bono Attorney Coordinator:

Andrew M. Jacobs, Esq.

Snell & Wilmer LLP

One South Church Avenue, Suite 1500

Tucson, AZ  85701-1630

(520) 882-1207 or AJacobs@SWLaw.com

As the court has indicated, “Attorneys who want to volunteer for the program are encouraged to contact the coordinator nearest to them. The coordinators are not accepting requests from pro se litigants; they only will coordinate counsel for specific cases referred to them by the Court of Appeals.”

In the coming weeks, I aim to speak directly with some of those most involved in this novel program, including Division One Presiding Judge Diane Johnsen and Judge Sam Thumma, as well as the lawyer–coordinators, Kim Demarchi and Andrew Jacobs.

Until then, you can click here to read:

Arizona Court of Appeals logoAnd here is more information from the court:

“The Arizona Court of Appeals today launches a new program that seeks to improve access to justice for self-represented litigants while also creating opportunities for attorneys to brief and argue cases in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals will identify specific civil cases in which one or more parties are self-represented and offer the litigant(s) in those cases an opportunity to be paired with a volunteer lawyer.

“The Court of Appeals expects to select cases for the new program that are complex, cases that involve a new issue of law, or cases that require specialized legal research. The Court will select cases that fit these criteria and refer them to one of two volunteer attorney coordinators. The coordinators will work to find a volunteer lawyer to serve as counsel for the unrepresented party.

“‘This program will directly benefit the litigant, but it will also benefit our court in that we will receive briefs and hear arguments that have been prepared by trained lawyers,’ Court of Appeals Division One Presiding Judge Diane Johnsen said. ‘It will also give young lawyers, or attorneys who rarely argue cases on appeal, a chance to have oral argument at the court.’

“‘It is important to distinguish this program from other pro bono programs. The assessment of which civil cases qualify for the program will be conducted exclusively by the court. The court will not be accepting motions for the appointment of counsel from civil pro se litigants, nor will the court be accepting motions for a particular case to be included in the program,’ Division Two Presiding Judge Peter Eckerstrom said. ‘We aren’t forcing the unrepresented party to work with a volunteer attorney. The person involved in the case has final say, but we think they will welcome the free legal help.’

“Judges Eckerstrom and Johnsen are hoping that attorneys will welcome the chance to offer their services for free because they will get to brief a case and participate in an oral argument at the Court of Appeals while providing representation to a pro se party.

“The program is modeled after a similar program at the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Presiding Judge Johnsen said that Judge Samuel Thumma developed the program for the state court of appeals.

“‘This program meshes nicely with the statewide goal of increasing access to justice for self-represented parties,’ Division One Judge Thumma said. ‘The crucial step now is to recruit attorneys who would be willing to help advance this program.’

“Arizona’s Court of Appeals is divided into two divisions. Division One is based in Phoenix and serves the counties of Apache, Coconino, La Paz, Navajo, Maricopa, Mohave, Yavapai and Yuma. Division Two hears appeals from Cochise, Gila, Greenlee, Graham, Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties. Both divisions will be participating in the program.”

The September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine includes a short article titled “Civics Lesson.” Written by Supreme Court Justice Scott Bales and Court of Appeals Judge Larry Winthrop, it describes some initiatives that have been launched to honor the state’s centennial, and it urges lawyers to get involved and to donate their experience to the effort.

The article ended with a quiz. Social creatures that we are, I opted to have readers come online to this blog to see the answers.

No cheating—take the quiz before looking at the answers! (The questions and answers are below.) 

Testing Arizona

Think you know your Arizona history? Pretty sure you understand how our state’s legal past stacks up against the national past? Take our 5-minute quiz to discover if you’re a Grand Canyon Guru.

Q1: When was school segregation abolished in Arizona?

A1: In 1953, when the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County ruled that segregation in elementary and high schools was unconstitutional.

Q2: When was school segregation determined nationally to be unconstitutional?

A2: In 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court held in Brown v. Board of Education that school segregation is inherently unequal, and therefore illegal.

Q3: When did women in Arizona win the right to vote?

A3: In 1912, by initiative measure.

Q4: When did women nationally obtain the right to vote?

A4: In 1920, by constitutional amendment.

Q5: When did Native Americans win the right to vote?

A5: In 1948, the Arizona Supreme Court held in Harrison v. Laveen that Native Americans were eligible to vote in Arizona elections.

Q6: Who was the first woman to hold public office in Arizona?

A6: Sharlot Hall, appointed territorial historian in 1909.

Q7: Who was Arizona’s first Congresswoman?

A7: Isabella Greenway, a Representative from 1933-1937.

Q8: Which Arizonan served in the U.S. Congress for 57 years?

A8: Carl Hayden, a Representative from 1912-1927 and a Senator from 1927-1969.

Q9: How many times has the United States Constitution been amended?

A9: 27 times.

Q10: How many times has the Arizona Constitution been amended?

A10: More than 100 times.