Week 14, April 9, 2021


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This week was long. We met with three different sets of parents; some meetings included grandparents...

This week was long. We met with three different sets of parents; some meetings included grandparents and uncles, each of whom had lost a child. I took these meetings in private practice as a legal victim representative, but I never had three in one week. This job has many facets, and some who work in certain units within this Office are involved in meetings like this almost every day. It is crucial and exhausting work. Part of transparency and accountability is meeting with members of our community who are suffering a loss. Sometimes we can deliver good news about the hard work we do in their name, and sometimes it requires the courage to tell the truth, face to face, even when the truth is disappointing.


  • Mental illness and substance use disorders can and often occur together. Struggling to battle illness, a person’s only option can sometimes be to self-medicate. The criminal justice system can become a terrifying merry-go-round with dozens of law enforcement contacts, cycles in and out of jail, and homelessness.

The Consolidated Misdemeanor Problem Solving (CMPS or “Compass”) Court is the Office’s first step toward addressing this particular population. The Court had its first two graduates this week, each of whom had been succeeding and staying out of the system for 18 months. The graduation was an impressive site. It’s also an example of good, collaborative government, because the Court can set aside jurisdiction and resolve both City and County matters as the participant earns it.

As Judge Susan Shetter said to graduates (pictured, center, with graduate Eduardo Gamez, right, and Vanessa Helms, director of specialty court programs, left):

“Your success is our success. We are here to do everything we can to celebrate your success and provide support for continued success.”

  • April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. On Thursday we had a joint press conference with TPD, the Child Advocacy Center, and Tucson Fire. I was impressed with how constructive the advice was.
  • Gun locks are as easy to use as a bike lock.
  • www.CACSOAZ.org has resources that are especially important to parents as kids rely on virtual play and schooling.
  • Pool Safety is Adult Supervision, AND, a good pool barricade, AND, swimming and CPR classes.

To be continued,

Laura Conover

Laura Conover

Pima County Attorney