MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT NEWS RELEASES
Community and Media Relations Office
Central Court Building
201 W. Jefferson - Phoenix, AZ 85003
December 30, 2003
Contact: J. W. Brown, Director of Community and Media Relations
Phone: 602.506.7378 Pager: 450.8100
Contact 2: Karen Arra
Phone: 602.506.7570 Pager: 420.8951
Maricopa County Superior Court Launches Center for DUI Cases
New Year's celebrants who drive drunk could find themselves heading to Superior Court's new DUI Center before their hangovers clear. Kicked off earlier this month, all felony aggravated driving-under-the-influence cases will be assigned to this new court.
Two Court Commissioners-David Cunanan and Rick Nothwehr-will handle About 5,000 aggravated DUI cases filed annually in Superior Court.
"Although driving under the influence may appear to many to be simple criminal cases, they are not as simple as they appear," Presiding Judge olin Campbell said. "Challenges over the readings, reliability and maintenance of intoxilizer machines, investigations by multiple police agencies throughout the County and changing case law, make these cases among the more challenging to bring through court."
Motorists stopped by police while under the influence of alcohol or Drugs face charges of driving under the influence. The charge may be escalated to "aggravated DUI" if the motorist: has Prior DUI convictions, had a minor in the car while driving under the influence, was in an accident or hit-and-run, or was driving on a revoked or suspended driver's license.
"Aggravated DUI is a crime that has great social impact," said Commissioner Cunanan. "The Court is trying to better address this growing problem in our community which continues to wreck havoc in the lives of victims and their families, as well as the community as a whole."
Judge Campbell said he expects these cases to be brought to trial Faster with greater consistency in case management by having two Court
Commissioners assigned to hear aggravated DUI matters five days a week.
He pointed out that timely disposition of DUI and other criminal cases is critical to ensure offender accountability and integrity of the justice system.
Commissioner Cunanan noted: "The goal of Aggravated DUI Court is to Provide better service to our community, both in terms of community protection and defendant accountability, while protecting the rights of all litigants."
Judge Campbell said he selected Cunanan and Nothwehr for Aggravated DUI Court because "they both had public or private legal practice experience in DUI cases, and bring a wealth of practical knowledge to this assignment." The court began assigning cases on December 8 and the first trial began December 15.
The DUI Center is located on the 10th Floor of the Central Court Building, 201 W. Jefferson, Phoenix.
Commissioner David Cunanan is available to members of the media interested in photos and interviews.
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