Video of this program can be found at: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh-xFB5ObJz5iH0gO7c5Dy1ms_p_OqLwg
PHOENIX (September 1, 2022) – Providing access to justice and helping members of the community are two of the main reasons that keep AmeriCorps members motivated to serve at the Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library Resource Center. The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is seeking enthusiastic AmeriCorps members to continue serving customers who visit the Law Library Resource Center and need assistance navigating the court system.
“Not everyone can afford an attorney, but everyone deserves the representation and to be able to go through the justice system and understand it,” said public policy student and former AmeriCorps member Grayce Dean. “If there are financial difficulties it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be represented, so it’s important to be able to give the public the tools to be able to do that.”
Proving Access to Court Services (PACS) AmeriCorps members help self-represented litigants in four regional court facilities to navigate throughout each courthouse, various departments, and the Judicial Branch website. AmeriCorps members also provide legal information needed to complete court forms and process protective orders.
“When people walk in here, it’s a hard day for them. It may be one of the worse days of their lives and anything we can do for them they are usually very grateful,” said law student and former AmeriCorps member Oliver Lemke. “You have to understand the difficulty they are in because I don’t think that anyone wants to be in the middle of a legal battle without being able to afford an attorney.”
PACS AmeriCorps members have the flexibility to choose a Law Library Resource Center location to serve in and get the opportunity to create their own schedule. While serving, members learn about the judicial system and court process, gain direct service real-life experience assisting court customers, earn a modest living allowance and an educational award upon successful completion of the program.
“I’ve been looking into going into law for a long time and to actually get into a court and experience it and see things first-hand and getting to observe in the courtroom, that’s what helps me decide what I want to do and if this would be the right environment for me,” said Dean.
The Judicial Branch of Arizona created the Providing Access to Court Services (PACS) AmeriCorps Program in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family. The program is funded by an agreement with the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
“If the words liberty and justice for all actually mean anything then it has to include access to the court for anyone who needs it not just people who can pay,” said Lemke. “I feel like this program is addressing that problem in society and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The PACS AmeriCorps Program is currently recruiting for the Fall Cohort starting on September 1, 2022 and running through May 1, 2023. Members must complete 675 hours during their term. Interested applicants should email their résumé to PACSAmeriCorpsProgram@jbazmc.maricopa.gov.
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The Judicial Branch of Arizona in Maricopa County is comprised of Superior Court, Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation, which includes juvenile detention. The Judicial Branch in Maricopa County is the fourth largest trial court system in the nation and, along with its 3,200 employees, is dedicated to providing a safe, fair and impartial forum for resolving disputes, enhancing access to services, and providing innovative, evidence-based practices that improve the safety of the community and ensure the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch. For more information, visit www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.