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Pima County Attorney Laura Conover on the reelection trail

Laura conover
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jul 05, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County Attorney Laura Conover has been in office for about three and a half years and in that time has been advocating for a lot of causes.

One of those causes is eliminating the cash bail bond system at the state level.

“We’re going to continue to have cash playing a role where it just shouldn’t play a role,” Conover said.

She’s advocating for people who commit non-violent, low-level, victimless crimes to instead be put into a mental health hospital for mental illness or substance use disorder.

“We have far too many people trapped in the jail for no reason other than they can’t pay a $500 bond,” she said.

Conover said she has too many cases where violent people are arrested and put back on the streets.

“Then they’re given a cash bond by the court at their first hearing and then they pay that bond and end up back out on the streets to finish the harm that they had started,” she said.

For those types of cases, Conover said she’s argued for a really high bond.

However in both types of cases she said cash bail is a failing program. That’s why she’s advocating for a change she says is already in the process.

“That first hearing is going to leave city court and it’s going to go back where I had long argued it is supposed to be, which is superior court,” she said.

Conover said she formed the Conviction And Sentence Integrity Unit so she can review cases for a second time if someone thinks they were wrongfully sentenced or innocent.

“A whole lot more energy needed to be dedicated to making sure we were looking at appropriate cases that came in upon application and delivering for justice,” she said.

An example of that, Conover said, is Prop 207 legalizing marijuana and expunging and sealing records.

“It encourages people to move past their past mistakes, to grow, to be employed,” she said.

The County’s Conviction And Sentence Integrity Unit are also sent back death penalty cases they review.

Conover said she’s against the death penalty because it deprives victims of closure for decades and it’s expensive.

“We need to spend our precious limited resources on the cases right in front of us right now and focusing on victim crime and public safety,” she said.

WATCH FULL INTERVIEW HERE:

Full candidate interview: Laura Conover for Pima County Attorney

She said instead they ask for natural life where the person is never released.

“That is in fact a sentence of death. We have chosen the place and time eventually where they will die in prison,” she said.

When people in jail or are released, Conover said she’s an advocate of Second Chance Tucson which helps them get a job.

“We want people to thrive. We want to welcome them back home. We want to make it easy to get back on their feet,” Conover said.

It’s a program Conover said breaks criminality. She works on the Fresh Start Expo, a jobs and community resource fair which she said has a makeshift courthouse.

“That’s where I’ve partnered to bring in judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys so that people can come in and assess what’s left of their case,” she said.

Conover was ordered by the State Bar of Arizona to do a diversion program after she said the former administrator filed lawsuits against her for a case she was involved in.

She had to watch a lecture, but still recently got invited to teach ethics at the State Bar Convention in Phoenix.

“So needless to say I’m in very good standing with the State Bar and to the extent that I’m not in good standing with the prior administration, I’m ok with that,” she said.

She is hoping to continue tackling homelessness and the fentanyl epidemic. She said under her administration violent crime is down and she’s hoping voters remember that.

“The think tanks we put together to battle violent crime so successfully, I have no doubt we’re going to shift that and we already have,” she said.

Conover’s opponent is Mike Jette and you can view his candidate profile below. Republicans did not run in this race.

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Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing andrew.christiansen@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.