The Criminal Division prosecutes felonies committed by adults in Pima County, all crimes committed by juveniles within the county, and misdemeanor offenses committed outside of city limits. Pima County has one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Our crime index is 4,983 crimes per 100,000 population, exceeding both Maricopa County and the state average.


To protect public safety, the County Attorney makes it a priority to take violent offenders to trial. The goal is to ensure that they receive the maximum possible prison sentences, both to hold dangerous criminals fully accountable for their crimes and to remove them from the community for as long as possible.


Specialized felony units within the Criminal Division handle cases involving murder, assault, armed robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, drug crimes, burglary, theft, domestic violence, and DUIs. Other units within the division handle misdemeanors, juvenile offenses, cold cases, appeals, and crime-related forfeitures of property. The Criminal Division also has established diversion programs for both adults and juveniles to help rehabilitate first-time, nonviolent offenders.

Division News
Kellie Johnson Appointed Chief Criminal Deputy
Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kellie Johnson as Chief Criminal Deputy of the Pima County Attorney's Office.
Kathleen Mayer Nominated for Ocotillo Legislative Advocacy Award
Kathi’s impact on the community has been tremendous. First, as a 30-year prosecutor, she brought countless criminal defendants to justice and helped restore a small measure of peace to the victims’ lives.
Pima County Prosecutors Honored
Two top prosecutors in the Pima County Attorney's Office were honored last week by a statewide group for their unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice and support for crime victims.
United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke and Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall Today Announce Their Agreement Regarding the Prosecution of Jared Lee Loughner for the January 8th Shooting in Tucson
Since the first moments of the investigation into the tragic events on January 8th, our offices have worked together, and with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, to investigate these crimes and to assist the victims and their families throughout this process. Our offices have had a long-standing relationship built on the core value of seeking justice, supporting victims and our communities. This strong relationship continues as we work to see that justice is served in this case.
Pima County Attorney's Office Awarded Grant to Aid Victims of January 8th Mass Shooting
Barbara LaWall, Pima County Attorney, is pleased to announce that the Victim Services Division of the Pima County Attorney's Office has been awarded a grant to provide services to victims of the mass shooting at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' "Congress on your Comer" event on January 8, 2011
April 2011 A Month of Crime Prevention Awareness and Activities
Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall encourages Pima County residents to participate in the many different outreach and educational activities that support victims of crime and promote efforts to prevent violence during the month of April.
Major Victory for County Attorney's Office in Animal Abuse Case
Pima County Attorney announces success in obtaining a court order requiring the forfeiture of property used to breed dogs for dog-fighting rings.
Prisoners in Arizona: A Profile of the Inmate Population
The Vast Majority of Prison Inmates Are Violent or Repeat Criminals: Over 94 percent of Arizona's Prison Inmates Are Repeat Felony Offenders or Have a History of Felony Violence, New Report Shows.
Inside the Criminal Division
Domestic Violence Unit
The Domestic Violence Unit handles both felonies and misdemeanors, the latter in a special domestic violence court. Using staff and victim advocates who are specially trained to address the unique concerns of victims of domestic violence, the Unit seeks to engage in early and meaningful contact with victims, achieve swift and certain accountability for offenders, and aggressively prosecute repeat offenders. Members of this Unit also actively participate in community groups such as the Pima County Domestic Violence Task Force, organized by Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, and the O’Connor House Domestic Violence Committee, organized by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

The Domestic Violence Unit has collaborated with community partners to establish a comprehensive Domestic Violence Protocol to guide law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, social service agencies, and the courts in handling all aspects of domestic violence cases. The Unit also works to prevent domestic violence, sponsoring and participating in events that raise awareness of domestic violence issues.

Read more about the Domestic Violence
Cold Case Unit

The Cold Case Unit coordinates with special investigative teams at the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff's Department to solve and prosecute long-unsolved cases. Cases successfully prosecuted by this unit have involved homicides that had remained unsolved for as long as 20 years. The Pima County Attorney's Office is committed to bringing offenders to justice, no matter how long it may take. Solving cold cases not only delivers justice, it also brings closure to families whose lives have been shattered by murder.

Forfeiture Unit
When law enforcement agencies have seized from criminals property such as firearms, vehicles, real estate and cash that was used or acquired during illegal activity, this Unit obtains court orders that require forfeiture of the property to the state. The forfeited property or proceeds from auctions or sales of the property then can be used to aid law enforcement and prosecution agencies to fight crime. The Pima County Attorney's Office uses these forfeited funds -- known as "anti-racketeering" funds -- to purchase computer equipment and software, saving taxpayer dollars.
Seized!
 Gang & Violent Crimes Unit
The Gang and Violent Crimes Unit prosecutes crimes committed by street gangs, ranging from murder and carjacking to drive-by shootings and home invasions. This unit also works closely with law enforcement agencies to identify gangs and their members in order to monitor gang activity in Pima County. The County Attorney's Office dedicates special effort to securing maximum prison time for offenders who use weapons to commit these crimes.

Read more about the Gang and Violent Crimes Unit
Homicide Unit
The Homicide Unit prosecutes the majority of the murder cases that occur in Pima County. In 2012, the Homicide Unit disposed of 95 cases. Sixty-two defendants pled guilty. Twenty-three were taken to trial, 20 of whom were found guilty.

High profile and more complicated homicides are assigned to senior attorneys with 15 to 30 years of prosecution experience. These attorneys work with newer prosecutors to help them gain experience in homicide prosecution. The prosecuting attorney is involved throughout the case, from being called to the scene at the beginning, through the defendant's sentencing. The Unit works with all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Pima County. A panel of senior prosecutors meets regularly to review the status of active homicide cases. The panel reviews such issues as whether a plea agreement may be appropriate in a particular case.

Juvenile Unit
The  Juvenile Unit prosecutes minors accused of criminal offenses. In fiscal year 2011-2012, the Juvenile Unit prosecuted 3,294 cases. The offenses charged included assaults, possession of marijuana and other illegal drugs, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of firearms, and other violent crimes. Less serious cases may be referred to the County Attorney's Juvenile Diversion program known as the Community Justice Boards.

Juvenile prosecutors also work closely with school administrators and school resource officers from law enforcement agencies, attending monthly meetings of the School Multi-Agency Response Team (S.M.A.R.T.).
Misdemeanors Unit
This Unit prosecutes misdemeanors that occur in the unincorporated areas of Pima County, including Green Valley and Ajo. Misdemeanors are lower level crimes punishable by a fine and no more than six months in jail.

In fiscal year 2011-2012, the Misdemeanors Unit handled 20,997 cases, charging offenses including assault, DUI, domestic violence, theft, cruelty to animals, trespassing, and issuing bad checks.


Ajo Court House
Appeals Unit
The Appeals Unit is responsible for briefing and arguing criminal appeals in the Arizona Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. In an average year, the Unit represents the State in approximately 15 to 20 cases before the Arizona Supreme Court and over 100 cases in the Court of Appeals. The Unit also helps busy trial attorneys by writing other motions and memoranda and performing legal research when unique issues arise before and during trial. In addition, the Units appellate attorneys regularly conduct trainings for trial attorneys.

In 2010, the Appeals Unit successfully defended officers use of the Intoxilyzer 8000, a machine used in DUI investigations to measure breath alcohol concentration, against challenges by criminal defendants that its software was flawed. This appellate victory facilitates the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies and this Office to protect our community by holding drunk drivers accountable.
Narcotics Unit
The Narcotics Unit works with law enforcement officers in arresting drug dealers and seizing narcotics and dealer assets to get drugs off the streets. In 2012, the Narcotics Unit disposed of 1,712 cases. Of those, 1,483 defendants pled guilty. Sixty-two were taken to trial, 54 of whom were found guilty. The Unit encourages first-time offenders to use the innovative new Drug Court to help them treat their addiction. The Unit also participates in the County Attorney's new Drug Treatment Alternative to Prison (D.T.A.P.) Program, which provides residential drug treatment in lieu of prison time for addicts who have committed repeated, nonviolent drug offenses.

Video clip provided by www.kvoa4.com
Property Crimes Unit
The Property Crimes Unit handles cases involving burglary, theft, fraud and embezzlement. In 2012, the Unit disposed of 1,552 cases. Guilty pleas were entered by 1,348 defendants. Fourty-nine of the 63 defendants taken to trial were found guilty.

The County Attorney takes a hard stance on criminals who commit residential burglaries. As part of holding offenders responsible for their crimes, prosecutors in this unit seek full restitution for the victims. The County Attorney also looks for remedies for other financial losses suffered by the victims. The Property Crimes Unit works closely with the Victim Compensation Unit of the Victim Services Division .
Special Victims Unit (SVU)
The Special Victims Unit prosecutes sexual and physical abuse against adults and children, including sexual assaults, stalking, molestation, child abuse, and animal cruelty. These are among the most difficult, emotional, and disturbing crimes the County Attorney's Office prosecutes. The Office is dedicated to the aggressive and just prosecution of perpetrators of sexually motivated crimes against our most vulnerable citizens -- most frequently children, the elderly, and women. In 2012, the Special Victims Unit disposed of 141 cases involving sexual assault, sexual exploitation of children, and other sexual offenses. Of these, 98 defendants pled guilty, and 28 went to trial. Twenty of those 28 were found guilty.

This Unit coordinates with numerous other agencies, including Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center, Las Familias Angel Center for Childhood Sexual Abuse Treatment, and the Pima County Animal Cruelty Task Force. The Pima County Attorney's Office also spearheaded the creation of a coordinated Sexual Assault Protocol and a Child Abuse Protocol for Pima County law enforcement and social service agencies.

All convicted sex offenders must register with the Sheriff's Department. Failure to register is a felony offense that is prosecuted by this Office. Information about where registered sex offenders reside in Pima County, by zip code, is available online at the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.
Vehicular Crimes Unit
The Vehicular Crimes Unit prosecutes felony including aggravated DUI, endangerment, child abuse, felony fleeing, leaving the scene of a collision, criminal damage, aggravated assault, and murder. In 2012, the Vehicular Unit disposed 304 cases. Guilty pleas were entered by 282 defendants. Of the 6 defendants who were taken to trial, 4 of them were found guilty.

Below is a retrospective montage from the TAC 20 Year Anniversary Campaign.
Video Courtesy of Transport Accident Commission Victoria.

Click image to learn more

Homicide Unit
Cold Case Program
Special Victims Unit
Narcotics Unit
Property Crimes Unit
Vehicular Crimes Unit
Forfeiture Program
Juvenile Unit
Misdeameanors
Appeals Unit
Resource Center
32 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85701