TUCSON, ARIZONA – January 4, 2021 – Laura Conover, the first elected prosecutor from outside the agency since 1972, arrived with her team today at the Pima County Attorney’s Office (PCAO) to begin the transformation she promised throughout her campaign. It is a seismic shift following one, continuous 40-year administration.
“This leadership team, along with the support of the people of Pima County, has allowed me to work hard during the transition to prepare for a new day in justice reform for our community,” Conover said. “The People’s Office is open for service.”
Today, Laura formally announces key policies and initiatives immediately in effect, including:
- Cash bail reform – A pre-trial release from the Pima County Jail will no longer depend on a person’s ability to pay but rather the threat they pose to community safety.
- Ending capital punishment – PCAO will not seek draconian punishments like the death penalty and juvenile life without parole.
- Diversion & deflection – PCAO will use data-driven alternatives to incarceration to help end the criminalization of mental illness & substance use disorders.
- Immigration – Office-wide training begins this month to mitigate the consequences of local criminal charges in immigration cases, including family separation.
- Conviction & Sentence Integrity – This newly-enhanced Unit embodies Conover’s commitment to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice, and unduly harsh, unnecessarily expensive punishments.
- Fraud Unit and Consumer Protection – Alongside regional partners, this Unit will address unchecked harm to the community’s most vulnerable, including the elderly and laborers.
On January 2, 2021, Laura took the Oath of Office quietly and safely from John Leonardo, the retired Presiding Judge of Pima County Superior Court (pictured above), alongside her immediate family.
“After his years on the bench, Judge Leonardo was then the United States Attorney during Laura’s years as a Federal Public Defender. In other words, he was her adversary,” said Jack Chin, Senior Counsel to Conover and Chief of the new Fraud and Conviction & Sentence Integrity Units. “That he would lead Laura’s transition is an astounding example of her coalition-building skills and, with the leadership team she has assembled, the potential is wide open.”
More key reforms and initiatives to create real community safety in Pima County are forthcoming in the coming weeks and months.