Areas of Practice
- Civil Mental Health
The Office of the Public Advocate protects the fundamental rights of and provides effective legal representation to all indigent persons when appointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court: Juveniles charged with criminal offenses, parents and children in dependency and severance matters, and people facing court ordered mental health evaluation and treatment.
- To give our clients a voice in court and obtain good results, which in turn enhances rehabilitation, strengthens families, and improves communities.
- To provide high quality legal representation that protects the rights of our clients and ensures that they receive equal treatment in court regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, and financial resources.
- To ensure that all clients and others with whom we have contact are treated courteously, ethically, professionally, and respectfully.
- To adhere to all ethical standards.
- To maintain the highest level of skill and respect in the juvenile and mental health law community.
- To work in partnership with other agencies to improve access to justice for all, develop sound policies, and enhance rehabilitative services.
- To maintain recognition as an effective and dynamic leader among organizations responsible for legal representation of juveniles, parents, and those facing court ordered mental health treatment.
- To maintain recognition as a leader in the training of attorneys and other professionals throughout the state.
- To maintain our community outreach activities to assist Maricopa County citizens in becoming participating members of their community.
- To perform our work in a fiscally responsible manner.
Message From the Public Advocate, Shannon Burns:
The Office of the Public Advocate for Juveniles and Mental Health Court is dedicated to the representation of juveniles between the ages of 8 and 17 accused of criminal conduct, parents in jeopardy of losing custody of their children to the state and persons facing court evaluation and court ordered mental health treatment.
Duties & Services
We ensure a youth's right to counsel guaranteed by the United States Constitution, Arizona Constitution and the Supreme Court (In re Gault); we protect a parent's right to rear their child without interference from the state; and we provide legal counsel to individuals facing court evaluation and court ordered mental health treatment.
The staff of the Public Advocate's Office is dedicated to assisting the youth of Maricopa County navigate the criminal justice system and achieve the best outcome for every child.
The staff is equally dedicated to ensuring that parents in jeopardy of losing custody of their children to the state of Arizona are afforded an opportunity to dispute the allegations and given an opportunity to rectify conditions that required the removal of their children.
Further, the staff is dedicated to ensuring individuals facing court evaluation and court ordered mental health treatment are provided an attorney to help them to combat court supervision of their mental health.