Our growing appeals unit is really humming along. Amy Ruskin, who has been lending her expertise for years, is now joined by new Chief Myles Braccio. Myles comes to us after a decade of homicide and capital work at the Attorney General’s Office, and he has hit the ground running. Literally. When not running back and forth to court to lend his appellate advice during trials in progress, he has been working up a new way to seek restitution payments for victims.
Speaking of trials in progress, Superior Court is back in full swing with in-person jury trials. First up were some of the most serious cases that have been awaiting justice throughout the pandemic. I want to thank in particular our Domestic Violence, Special Victims, and Major Crimes Units for showing Pima County juries they haven’t missed a step since trials were suddenly postponed in the pandemic. Attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, and detectives have been working tirelessly in pursuit of justice for victims and their families. A special thanks as well to the Victim Advocates and court-house dogs who make these trials possible.
At this week’s expungement clinic, we were starting to pack up and go home for the night, near 7pm, when a sweet old man came in to fill out the form to clear away an arrest for a joint in his pocket from the ‘90s. The smile on his face as he left was priceless, although the words from another younger man linger with us even today: “thank you for what you’re doing for the community… and for the economy.” How sobering for me to realize that what is a philosophical goal for me – that is, to help people move past an old conviction and contribute to society – is so terribly real for so many. For that young man, by clearing away his conviction, he can be employed, or better employed, or more consistently employed. And then his kids are consistently well-nourished every morning before school. The ripple effects from our efforts are starting to spread far and wide. Here’s to a healthier, stronger, safer Pima County.
To be continued,