National Association for Rights Protection
Cheryl A. Koch-Martinez, J.D.
Koch-Martinez is Manager of the Arizona Department of Health
Services Office of Human
Rights (OHR). The OHR provides free assistance to
individuals determined to have a Serious Mental Illness in the
public mental health system throughout Arizona. Offices are
located in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson. Previously she was a
staff attorney with the
Arizona Center for Disability Law, where she represented people
with mental health issues and engaged in civil litigation to improve
the delivery of mental health services throughout the state. She was
also employed by the Gila River
Indian Community as a prosecuting attorney. Her focus was on
prosecuting crimes committed against children. Prior to that, she
was a legal aid attorney assisting farm workers with
employment-related legal issues. She is an avid cyclist and also
enjoys hiking, Ultimate Frisbee, and soccer.
- Active Member of the
Arizona State Bar since October, 1998
- Admitted to practice
in U.S. District Court of Arizona & Ninth Circuit Court of
- September, 2005 –
Office of Human Rights, Arizona
Department of Health Services/Division of Behavioral Health,
Phoenix, Arizona. Responsible for management of advocacy
office that advocates for individuals with a serious mental
illness (SMI) statewide. Develop internal processes as well as
internal and external monthly reports. Supervise, train and
mentor staff of thirteen (13) to ensure delivery of strong
advocacy. Present client’s position at informal appeal
conferences, administrative appeal hearings and in
grievance/investigation matters. Address systemic issues
affecting the population served, develop educational materials
for individuals with a SMI and conduct community education and
- March, 2004 –
September, 2005: Staff
Attorney, Mental Health Team, Arizona
Center for Disability Law, Phoenix, Arizona. Responsible
for providing representation to individuals with serious mental
illness in matters involving administrative appeals, grievances,
service planning, hospital discharge planning and human rights
issues. Assisted in abuse and neglect investigations.
Collaborated with mental health agencies to identify systemic
issues affecting individuals with mental illness and advocated
for appropriate change. Acted as co-counsel in Arnold
v. Sarn, a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of
individuals with serious mental illness in Maricopa County.
Conducted community education and outreach. Performed the
majority of supervisory duties for the mental health team on an
interim basis for a period of eight months (November, 2004 –
- January, 2001 –
March, 2004: Prosecutor II, Gila
River Indian Community Law Office, Sacaton, Arizona.
Responsible for representing the American Indian tribe in
criminal prosecution of adults in tribal court, with primary
caseload of physical and sexual abuse crimes against children.
Coordinated a multi-disciplinary team for prosecution of crimes
against children, which included participation by federal
prosecutors and investigators, mental health and pediatric
professionals, victim advocates, tribal child protective
services, and tribal law enforcement. Also handled juvenile and
status offender matters, child in need of care matters, and
other civil matters in tribal court.
1998-January, 2001: Staff
Legal Services, Phoenix, Arizona. Engaged in complex civil
litigation involving primarily the Agricultural Worker
Protection Act. Also handled individual cases regarding public
benefits, public housing, tax deficiencies, workers’
compensation, and other legal issues faced by the low-income
population. Co-authored a successful appeal to the Ninth
Circuit regarding personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state
farmer who hired a farm labor contractor to recruit farmworkers
in Arizona. In addition, regularly conducted outreach and
community education and contributed to the writing of grant
applications and reports.
- May, 1997 to
August, 1997: Summer Law Clerk and January,
1998 to April, 1998: Part-time
Law Clerk, Gila
River Indian Community Law Office, Sacaton, Arizona.
Drafted motions and petitions regarding juvenile offender,
status offender and child in need of care matters. Researched
and wrote memoranda on various issues, including tax, Indian
Child Welfare Act and tribal water rights.
- May, 1996 to July,
1996: Summer Law Clerk, Colorado
River Indian Tribes Legal Aid Department, Parker, Arizona.
Researched and wrote memoranda on various legal issues,
including the distinction between civil and criminal
legislation, the criminal status of DUI legislation, due
process in housing evictions, individual taxation,
guardianships, etc. Assisted the legal aid attorney in
preparing civil cases and motions.
- Fall Semester 1997
(part-time): Prosecutor – through ASU College of Law’s
Prosecutor Clinic, City
of Tempe Prosecutor’s Office, Tempe, Arizona. Co-counseled
a DUI jury trial and prosecuted several bench trials on minor
criminal offenses. Participated in preliminary hearings,
arraignments and plea agreements.
- J.D., Cum Laude,
Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; 1998.
- B.A., With
Distinction, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, Major in
Criminal Justice, Area Certificate in Environmental Studies,
Minor in German; 1995.
- Volunteer Lawyers
Program, volunteer lawyer for Landlord-Tenant Clinic,
- Tempe Nazarene Church,
volunteer, primarily for Caravan (children’s program) and
Vacation Bible School, 2003-present
- Arizona Fiduciaries
Conference, Tucson, AZ, February 20, 2009: “Mental Health
System: Where to Go for Help” – an overview of the public system
in Arizona, with a focus on services for and rights of persons
with a SMI.
- 2007 Summer Institute,
Sedona, AZ, July 20, 2007: “Know Your Rights: Legal Rights of
Arizonans with Alcohol and Drug Problems” – an overview of
anti-discrimination laws and rights of persons with alcohol or
drug problems with respect to training and employment.
- Sydney Yates Scholar,
Arizona State University and Gila River Indian Community (1997)
- Honors, Legal Methods
and Writing (1995)
- Board of Regents
Scholarship, Arizona State University College of Law (1995)
- Phi Beta Kappa (1995)