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New law allows federal trials in additional Arizona cities

August 14, 2019

Expanded federal court proceedings are now allowed in additional Arizona cities, a change officials said could make the court system more accessible.

President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan-backed bill into law last week to allow U.S. District Court proceedings in Flagstaff and Yuma.

Federal law previously limited U.S. District Courts to Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Globe. Court sessions have not been held in Globe for decades and the federal courthouse in Prescott is currently unstaffed.

Those involved in federal felony cases usually had to travel to Phoenix or Tucson.

“This is a great win for Arizonans in northern and southern Arizona,” Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally said in a statement. “Now, federal proceedings can be held in Yuma and Flagstaff and the ability to access our justice system has been made just a little bit easier.”

Flagstaff and Yuma both have federal courthouses and U.S. magistrate judges currently work in both. The duties of magistrate judges are limited to proceedings such as pretrial hearings, minor criminal cases and some civil disputes.

The new law allows for U.S. District Court judges to do trial work in the cities.

“This truly makes the court system more accessible to jurors as well as their families,” Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans told the Arizona Daily Sun .

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