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Conover starts her first day as Pima County Attorney

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 00:23:50-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Laura Conover is the first person not named Barbara LaWall to serve as Pima County Attorney since 1996.

"The agency is very lean right now," Conover said.

Turnover has been an ongoing issue for the office, her solution: recruiting prosecutors who want to work for Pima County.

"It's about having accessibility and transparency out in the community so that there's excitement to want to apply here and be here and join us."

Conover said she wants to alleviate the backlog of cases in court as a campaign pledge to reform criminal justice, but also to ease the strain caused by the pandemic.

"Outside of the court confines, can we find a way to resolve some of the lower level cases and bring peace and resolution and restitution where appropriate."

One change she said she wants to put in place as soon as possible: dropping the jail population.

"The only condition that should hold someone in the pima county jail is if they are an ongoing threat to the community," Conover said.

"But if there are conditions that can allow a person to be outside the jail and reporting responsibly to court, that's it," she added

That policy, Conover said, is driving her ambitions to transition from punishment to restoration.

"It's not going to be about income and ability to pay a low cash bond."

"I think she's about to have her eyes wide open," now former Pima County Attorney, Barbara LaWall said of her successor.

LaWall seemed to suggest the job of County Attorney would be an education from the start.

For her part, Conover said her philosophy on criminal justice is not exclusively idealistic.

"It's really the opposite of 'pie in the sky,' it's digging into the data and what shows us what is working and not working."

Conover said she hopes court cases can resume by the spring.