Content Warning: Loss, Grief.
Another extraordinarily busy week in Justice has passed. In talking about the work our victim advocates and our Special Victims and Domestic Violence and Redacting professionals dedicate their services to, I felt it best to mark this week’s post with a warning about the content. I’ll continue to do that going forward, as necessary.
In recent weeks, our courthouse dogs have laid at the feet of children, snuggling with them while they try to recount trauma. Last weekend, in particular, our Hug-A-Bears were essential. We store the Hug-A-Bears here at the Legal Services Building and load each victim advocate’s car with a bag full of them. A child can hug their Bear every time they think about a lost loved one. At a crime scene, or in reporting a death notification to children, our experts tell us that extreme fatigue will eventually set in, and the Hug-A-Bear helps the child drift off for at least the brief relief of sleep.
I’m not a trauma expert; that’s why we have the crown jewel of the Office here: our Victim Services Division. And these experts have been working very hard.
I couldn’t report with advocates to the scenes described above last weekend; it wouldn’t be appropriate. But I do what I can, which is why Patrick and I spent our Saturday night under a tent at South Tucson’s first-ever street fair, and I took to a platform in front of hundreds of people up and down 6th Ave (masked and outdoors!), shouting into a microphone that we were handing out free gun locks. The in-house experts here are going to continue to prosecute violent crime and hold accountable the people who have committed it once it’s happened. I will keep trying to pull my weight alongside them on police ride-alongs during my Saturdays and prevention work at night.
Speaking of prevention work, I also want to remind everyone that the beautiful gift of expungement (that is, a chance to get your marijuana conviction wiped off your record) is a 90% pro bono effort. Taxpayer money is not involved in this special project. Why? Because everyone is so excited to work on it, we don’t need to use hardly any Office resources. The Chief of that unit is a pro bono attorney. He has law students from both the University of Arizona and the University of California at Davis pitching in as clinical interns. We have undergrad volunteers doing the heavy lifting. We do have some wonderful staff who assist, and we print the motions in the building. Proudly. Because Expungement = Public Safety. Getting people back to work, back to school, and housed is smart crime prevention. Then we use the savings in resources to beef up our violent crime units. This is the Pima County Attorney’s Office, 2021.
To be continued,