#JusticeinPimaCounty: Week 88
In community meetings I often talk about the quiet work that goes on behind the scenes at the Pima County Attorney’s Office.
The redaction unit comes up quite frequently as I describe the noble work of protecting victim and witness identities from hours and hours of body worn camera footage.
Today I want to take a moment to explain the concept of Issuing or charging a case.
Nearly every criminal prosecution file starts with an issuing appointment after arrest, which is the critical legal analysis for determining whether we will seek criminal charges (an indictment.)
The Issuers therefore are the attorneys at the very foundation of our criminal unit and let me show you what a triumphant day of activity looks like: 13 appointments with detectives, eight declinations of an arrest falling short of the evidence needed, 120 emails read, 52 more emails sent, all while preparing 45 “cover-me” memos for the next day’s morning court hearings.
The group made up of Maribel Goodman, Matthew Ashton, Brad Terrace, Mark Diebolt, Kristi Mehes, Liz Farkas (not pictured), Lew Brandes, Hayley Weigold, Brian Heddell, and Julia Kaiserman have so far this year evaluated 7,096 felony complaints and issued charges on 3,877.
The simple math says that’s 710 complaints reviewed by each one of them to this point in 2022 – nearly 90 each month. That prodigious volume of reviews led to each issuing attorney on average filing action on 387 cases – 48 every month.
And there’s more: Neil Poston leads a team effort in Misdemeanors, where each Deputy County Attorney also pitches in, that has issued 6,512 cases presented this year while issuing charges on 6,080 of those.
With Neil filing the majority of “long form complaints” – a written statement of the facts that allege a misdemeanor offense – that breaks down to more than 800 complaints reviewed each and every month at the misdemeanor level.
In an office of about 350 employees who do the people’s work to keep our community safe and ensure justice, these issuing attorneys are the engine that keeps things moving.
I am humbled and honored to work with each of these quiet heroes.