November featured the Pima County Attorney’s Office’s involvement in meaningful developments connected with recent rulings handed down by the United States Supreme Court, as well as a host of other efforts aimed at making our communities safer in numerous ways.
The People’s Office entered into a landmark agreement with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe that will allow County Attorney Laura Conover to swear in a Special Deputy County Attorney from the tribe’s prosecutor’s office who will now have the power to co-try criminal cases.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Laura joined Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio, Attorney General Alfred Urbina, and representatives from the Tribe’s prosecutor’s office at the Pima County Board of Supervisor’s meeting, where that body approved an Intergovernmental Agreement authorizing the partnership.
“We prosecute cases where Pascua Yaqui tribal members might be victims of violent crime, and by having a tribal prosecutor co-try a case, we can so better serve the victim while also providing greater transparency and accountability for how we serve tribal citizens,” Conover said of the agreement. “We are delivering on our promise as the People’s Office to serve all of us, not just some of us.”
Recognizing the possible broader effect of a recent Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma v Castro-Huerta, County Attorney Conover and Chief Deputy County Attorney Baird Greene traveled to meet with Pascua Yaqui leaders in July to propose an agreement that would empower a tribal prosecutor who understands the unique cultural and societal dynamics of sovereign communities.
The IGA, Pascua Yaqui AG Urbina wrote in a letter to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, would “help manage and control immediate jurisdictional questions in the furtherance of justice in Indian Country; and provide a model for state-tribal cooperative agreements in administering justice through the allocation of Indian Country resources that will enhance justice for victims.”
AG Urbina told the Pima County Board of Supervisors that this unique agreement promises to be a national model to better serve Native communities in pursuit of justice and public safety.
It certainly will in Pima County, as The People’s Office will meet in December with leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation in hopes of a similarly beneficial agreement.
In another case of national importance that landed in Pima County, PCAO submitted a reply in the ongoing argument about the meaning of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization on reproductive health in pursuit of clarity for Arizona residents.
With an Arizona Court of Appeals stay in effect to further the argument about the meaning of the high court’s ruling in Arizona, Chief Civil Deputy Sam Brown and his team submitted a brief in support of harmonizing the conflicting laws.
PCAO’s argument in support of Planned Parenthood of Arizona (PPAZ) details a litany of reasons why Arizonans would be better served by not having both a Civil War-era ban on abortions and a recent law allowing legal abortions up to 15 weeks of pregnancy both in effect with the overturning of Roe v Wade.
“While (Attorney General Mark Brnovich) claims to understand how the present statutory scheme regulating abortions fits together, no one else apparently does,” the PCAO brief states. “…if legislators, legal scholars, county attorneys, the AG, and the Governor’s office do not understand clearly what conduct is prohibited, how can we expect Arizonans of ordinary intelligence to know what acts are prohibited?”
The brief is provided here.
Be well, and we’ll be in touch next month with our Year End Review: a Report to the People of Pima County.
Stay safe and healthy!
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