GHS Grad holds court in Arizona

GREENVILLE – Dyani Juarez graduated from Greenville High School in 1998. That same year she packed her bags and headed for Casa Grande, Ariz. She didn’t know what opportunities lay ahead, but according to her mom and dad, Debbie and Darrell Biddlestone of Greenville, she took her nickname’s “go-get’em-kid” attitude and headed out.

Sixteen years later she was appointed Deputy Magistrate of the City of Casa Grande Municipal Court. “I was appointed July 8 (2014), sworn in the next morning and heard 40 cases that day,” said Juarez.

This was the second accomplishment of 2014 for the young lady from Greenville. On May 9 Juarez became a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management (ICM), having “successfully completed the rigorous requirements” of the program. Known as the Court Executive Development Program, it is the only one of its kind in the United States. It was established 44 years ago, partly due to Chief Justice Warren Burger’s call for improving the management of state court administration. Since then, over 1,200 court professionals from 40 states, Washington D.C., Guam and 12 foreign countries have become Fellows.

“I started (the program) in 2006, got serious about it in 2010, graduated as Certified Court Manager in 2011 and Certified Court Executive in 2012,” she said. “Previous classes had to go to Virginia for the (ICM Fellow) training. My class was the first to have trainers located in their home states.”

As Court Administrator and Deputy Magistrate, Juarez handles two high-volume courts with 10 employees, including clerks, bailiffs, security, probation and volunteers. Her courts primarily handle misdemeanor traffic, injunctions against harassment, protection orders and some domestic violence.

When Juarez arrived in Casa Grande 16 years earlier she had no idea what she wanted to do; she’d picked that city because a family friend, Joe Juarez who later became her husband, lived there. She signed up with a temp agency and one of the positions they had open was a court clerk.

“Why not?” she said, and took the job. A year later she found out it was a temp-to-hire position. “They said ‘well, do you want the job?’” She told them yes and has been there ever since.

Judges at the municipal level are appointed, not elected (Juarez hates politics… they “can be very ugly”). Also, at the jurisdiction level they don’t have to be attorneys… had she ever considered applying?

“Actually I did,” she said. “Judges are appointed for two-year terms. The previous one had retired from the bench after 28 years. I applied for the position and got the interview… it was the strangest interview I’d ever had. The public was involved.” She laughed. “I was one of several candidates… they said if you don’t get the position, please stay! I need you!” She didn’t get the position. The only candidate who actually was an attorney was the one appointed.

About this time her husband, Joe, noted his wife is also in property management. “How many properties?” “I don’t know,” she said. “Ten or 11.” “And she went to school while working full time and raising two kids,” he added.

Dad said “Go Get’em Kid” was her nickname. In high school she managed three jobs (one of them at the license bureau), was a candy striper and a member of the Business Professionals of America.

A year after she had committed to the full time position from Temp to Hire, her boss said ‘you’d indicated a year ago you might want to go to college’.” She acknowledged she had. “When you go to lunch you will get the paperwork you need and you will enroll in college.” It wasn’t just a suggestion. She did exactly that.

Dyani Juarez, GHS Class ’98

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