Criminal Division

The Criminal Division prosecutes felonies committed by adults in Pima County, all offenses committed by people under 18 (juveniles) within the County, and misdemeanor offenses committed outside of city limits. The Mission of the Criminal Division is to promote public safety by:

  1. Holding people fully accountable for the harms they have committed against their community.
  2. Creating opportunities for people to repair the harm they caused through restorative justice.
  3. Providing access to meaningful rehabilitation to everyone who struggles with substance use disorder or mental illness.
  4. Reducing future harm through crime prevention.


The County Attorney is dedicated to the empowerment of victims; data-driven, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to problems; and meaningful collaboration with our community partners.

criminal division
Pima County Chief Criminal Deputy Dan South (left) with Pima County Attorney Laura Conover (right).

Appeals Unit

Myles Braccio, Supervising Attorney

This team 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 more than 100 cases in the Court of Appeals. The Appeals 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 Unit’s appellate attorneys regularly conduct trainings for trial attorneys and serve as advisors to both misdemeanor and felony trial attorneys on an ongoing basis.

Community Protection Bureau

Lauren Deakin, Bureau Chief

The goal of the Community Protection Bureau (CPB) is to implement an Intelligence–Driven Prosecution model aimed at people in our community who have committed repetitive offenses. CPB is divided into four geographic teams corresponding to the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff’s neighborhood crimes divisions to better enable the teams to coordinate with law enforcement. Each team meets weekly with TPD’s corresponding divisions to share information and find out who is driving crime in that division. CPB attorneys prosecute property, narcotics, and violent offenses, focusing their efforts on those individuals who victimize entire neighborhoods through a pattern of ongoing, destructive, criminal behavior.

Conviction & sentencing Integrity Unit

Gabriel "Jack" Chin, Bureau Chief

CSIU’s mission is to review legitimate claims of innocence by people who have been convicted by PCAO and/or believe they have received excessively harsh sentences. The CSIU bureau chief organizes the work of the CSIU Committee and leads all re-investigations of cases that present a credible claim of innocence or excessive sentencing.

Domestic Violence Unit

Noelle Jensen, Bureau Chief

This unit handles felonies and misdemeanors concerning family violence. Using a team approach, the attorneys, professional staff, and victim advocates who work in the Domestic Violence unit focus on early intervention for those defendants willing to engage fully in counseling programs to prevent future violence, but are also specially trained to address the unique concerns of victims of domestic violence and recognize those situations most likely to result in tragic or even fatal outcomes. Domestic Violence attorneys engage in early and meaningful contact with victims and work hand-in-hand with community partners to address the issue of domestic violence at its root, as well as connect victims with resources that will allow them to escape the cycle of family violence for themselves and future generations.

Felony Operations Bureau

Michelle Chamblee, Bureau Chief

This bureau is responsible for reviewing most felony-level property, narcotics, weapons, and assault cases with Law Enforcement to determine whether charges are appropriate and supported by a substantial likelihood of conviction. Operations prosecutors negotiate with defense counsel through early plea disposition until or unless the accused rejects the plea, at which point the case is sent to a trial team. All early-resolution court coverage is handled by prosecutors in the Operations Bureau, who handle a high volume of cases and need strong analytical skills and the ability to balance quick decision-making with a dedication to fairness.

Fraud Unit

Nicholas Spare, Supervising Attorney

This unit investigates, prosecutes, and helps prevent various types of fraud, including wage theft, financial crimes, insurance & banking, environmental and housing, and even government and Medical fraud cases. PCAO will review your complaints (which you can submit by using the Consumer Fraud Complaint Form) in collaboration with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to help protect your finances. The Fraud Unit is also available to help educate your organization or neighborhood association on how to avoid being a victim of fraud. Email fraud@pcao.pima.gov to arrange a presentation.

Juvenile Unit

Dale Cardy, Bureau Chief

This unit prosecutes minors accused of criminal offenses. The offenses handled by the Juvenile Unit range from misdemeanor charges to serious felonies, including homicide, sex offenses, aggravated assaults, and possession of illegal drugs. The juvenile justice system is more geared towards rehabilitation and support of the juvenile accused, so less serious cases may be referred to a number of diversion programs, including Community Justice Boards. Juvenile prosecutors also work closely with the community by participating in numerous committees and with local schools by attending monthly meetings of the School Multi-Agency Response Team (S.M.A.R.T.).

Major Crimes Bureau

Mark Hotchkiss, Bureau Chief

This bureau prosecutes crimes of violence ranging from robbery and aggravated assault to home invasion and murder. The attorneys in MCB must have attention to detail, curiosity about topics ranging from homemade weaponry to wound patterning and the flexibility and compassion to work with victims of trauma. MCB also works closely with law enforcement agencies, particularly the Tucson Police Department’s Gun Crime Intelligence Unit, to identify the guns that are being used in crime in Pima County and the individuals or groups of individuals that are using them. PCAO is dedicated to holding accountable those who have committed violent offenses.

Misdemeanor Unit

Rachael Fornof, Supervising Attorney

This unit prosecutes all misdemeanor offenses committed in unincorporated Pima County and cited into Pima County Justice Court. These offenses range from criminal traffic offenses, like reckless and aggressive driving, to property crimes, game and fish offenses, domestic violence, and driving under the influence. Our office works hard to differentiate between people whose conduct and history merit an opportunity to have their cases dismissed upon completion of appropriate counseling and community service, and those whose crimes need the heightened attention and supervision offered in one of Justice Court’s Specialty Court programs. Though misdemeanor offenses carry lower penalties than felony offenses, the members of this unit remain mindful of the impact that these crimes can have on the community at-large and that a misdemeanor conviction can have on the person charged.

Special Victims Bureau

Tracy Miller, Bureau Chief

This bureau prosecutes sexual and physical abuse against adults and children, including sexual assaults, molestation of and sexual conduct with minors, and animal cruelty. These are among the most emotionally challenging crimes the County Attorney’s Office prosecutes, but members of this team find their work extremely rewarding. Special Victims attorneys meet with victims frequently in order to build rapport and trust. They often spend hours getting to know children, often coloring with them or playing games, and set up courtroom visits for adults and children to reduce the fear associated with an unfamiliar system. The members of SVB become experts at reviewing medical records, analyzing computer evidence in Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) cases, and distinguishing between families that need intervention and support and people who pose a serious threat to our community. Regardless of the severity of the crime, SVB works to empower victims, hold those who harm and traumatize the most vulnerable members of our community appropriately accountable, and do so in a just and equitable manner.

Vehicular Crimes Unit

Bruce Chalk, Bureau Chief

This unit prosecutes felony offenses committed using a motor vehicle, including homicide, aggravated assault, aggravated DUI, endangerment, child abuse, felony fleeing, leaving the scene of a collision, and criminal damage. Vehicular Unit attorneys become experts in toxicology, collision analysis, and search-and-seizure issues unique to this context.

Department Contact Info:

Dan South, Chief Criminal Deputy​

If you are a reporter looking to gather general information for a story, on deadline or for background, email media@pcao.pima.gov or call Joe Watson, 520-310-4720.