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November 2022

Pascua Yaqui Chairman Peter Yucupicio addresses the Pima County Board of Supervisors

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.

Collaborating with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Pascua Yaqui Prosecution Agreement

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.”

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Pascua Yaqui Attorney General Fred Urbina and Pima County Attorney Laura Conover

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.”

Post signing, the tribe took a group picture and congratulated the PCAO authors of the IGA on the far right, Civil Chief Deputy Sam Brown, Deputy Bobby Yu, and behind them Deputy Kyle Johnson.

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.

Abortion Law in Arizona

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.

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Chief Civil Sam Brown

“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. 

Other November highlights here in the Legal Services Building include:

  • PCAO officially joined the Tucson Police Department and several federal law enforcement partner agencies in launching a U.S. Department of Justice program known as the National Public Safety Partnership, a coalition that will focus on addressing violent crime in our area.
  • Within our Civil Division, our Land Use Unit garnered a victory for Pima County residents regarding fair notice this month, winning a summary judgement protecting the Pima County’s Zoning Code requirement that a primary structure be constructed before any accessory buildings such as garages or home offices on residentially zoned property. Congratulations to  Civil Unit attorneys Javier Gherna and Krystal De La Ossa for their fine work.
  • With the cooler weather, our Community Outreach Coordinator Sofia Blue arranged for Laura and her team of volunteers to join Amphi Park neighbors,  resuming one of our favorite activities – helping to clean up trash and debris while forming bonds with neighbors to beautify neighborhoods and promote public safety.
  • Within a 3-month period, our 88-Crime team and the Pima County Attorney’s Office distributed 10,000 free gun locks to make homes throughout Pima County safer for children and for adults.
  • As the month winds down, we will be in far western Pima County to participate in an Ajo Community Meeting with members of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance along with law enforcement and the Ajo Justice Court to address concerns about criminal activity in the community. Did you know that our County is so vast, it takes approximately 2 hours and fifteen minutes to reach our furthest courthouse and prosecutor’s office?  Laura will visit residents in Robles Junction, Three Points, and Ajo to stay informed of the needs of our rural residents.  Importantly, she will deliver very special news about progress in restoring local victim advocacy located right in the heart of Ajo.

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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