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APAAC Award Winners

 

 

 

 

2014 Felony Prosecutor of the Year
(small jurisdiction) Award Recipient
Ammon Barker
Deputy Coconino County Attorney

Ammon Barker arrived in Coconino County less than four years ago with dreams of trying the most violent offenders.  For three years, he worked tirelessly to develop the skills to do just that. During the last year, Ammon made his dream into reality, trying four major felony cases, including a first degree murder, two machete attack cases and a domestic violence murder, and prevailing in every one of them. But, beyond his outstanding trial performance, Ammon always stands ready to help his colleagues in a pinch.  All the while, he remains unflappable, yet affable, even under the great pressure of major felony trial work.

   

 

 

 

2014 Felony Prosecutor of the Year
(large jurisdiction) Award Recipients
Mike Denney
Deputy Maricopa County Attorney

Jason Kalish
Deputy Maricopa County Attorney

On August 10, 1991, the largest mass murder in Arizona history occurred in the community of Waddell when 9 people were killed execution style at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple.  Six monks, a nun, and two temple assistants were shot in the back of the head with a small caliber rifle. Eventually that rifle linked 17-year-old Jonathan Doody and 16-year-old Alex Garcia to the murders.  Garcia, who later committed another murder at an Arizona campground, entered into a plea agreement in order to avoid facing the death penalty.  He agreed to testify against Doody as a condition of his plea agreement.

Doody was convicted after trial and sentenced to multiple life sentences (the death penalty was not sought).  His convictions were affirmed by the appellate courts in Arizona.  However, nearly 20 years later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Doody’s convictions on federal habeas relief finding that his confession to investigators in 1991 was not voluntary.  The prospect of getting ready for a new trial after so many years was daunting.  Evidence had been stored away or misplaced, witnesses had died, and importantly nobody knew whether Alex Garcia would be willing to testify again.  Ultimately, Garcia agreed to testify.

After several years of preparation, retrial began in August 2013.  Prosecution was handled by the team of Jason Kalish and Mike Denney.  They had methodically prepared and organized the evidence, and they presented a compelling case to the jury.  Nonetheless, the jury could not reach a verdict, and a mistrial was declared in October 2013.  Determined to see justice done, Jason and Mike dug in and sharpened up the case for presentation yet again.  A new jury was empanelled, and the third trial for Doody began in late 2013.  Finally, in January 2014, the jury convicted Jonathan Doody of 9 counts of first degree murder and other crimes associated with the 1991 robbery of the Buddhist temple.  In March 2014, Doody was sentenced to a minimum of 249 years in prison.  The level of perseverance and professional commitment displayed by Jason Kalish and Mike Denney in the preparation and presentation of the Doody case made certain that the horrible crimes by Doody did not go unpunished.

   

 

 

  2014 Misdemeanor Prosecutor of the Year Award Recipient
Daniel Terrell
Senior Deputy La Paz County Attorney

What do you do with a quarter-century of legal experience, a no-nonsense attitude, enthusiasm, and creativity conveniently packaged in one individual?  In La Paz we assign that attorney the biggest caseload.  Senior Deputy Daniel J. Terrell handles misdemeanors — all of them.  Dan also handles the office’s conflict program, the diversion program, and veterans’ issues.  Currently, Dan is working to establish La Paz County’s first veterans’ court.  His own military experience gives him concern and insight into veterans’ issues.  Dan notifies officers county-wide of court orders on repetitive misdemeanor DV offenders.  Dan has good rapport with officers, many of whom have his cell number and use him as the first point-of-contact for legal questions arising during investigations.  In his Army days, Dan Terrell was willing to throw himself on a bomb for the good of his unit.  Now he throws himself into protecting our community.  La Paz is lucky to have him.

   

 

 

  2014 Juvenile Prosecutor of the Year
Award Recipient
Sarah Wolfe
Deputy Navajo County Attorney

After just two years as a prosecutor, Sarah Wolfe has shown that she wants to make a difference. Not only does Sarah handle the 400 plus juvenile cases filed each year in Navajo County, she is working to improve the Juvenile Justice system. She brought in the Juvenile Department of Corrections to educate our Juvenile Judge and Probation Officers on the treatment programs offered by JDOC and worked with Juvenile Probation to revise their policies and procedures to ensure that juvenile referrals are timely filed. She does all this while also handling cases from a Justice Court and also handling some felony cases.
   

 

 

 

2014 Appeals Prosecutor of the Year
Award Recipient
William Mills
Principal Assistant Prosecuting City Attorney


William Mills has served as our appellate prosecutor extraordinaire for the Tucson City Prosecutors Office (CPO) since 2002.  Of his 36 years as an Arizona Prosecuting Attorney (9 with the Pima County Attorney’s Office), 27 have been with the CPO. 

He handles oral arguments of all the appeals and special actions heard at the Superior Court, Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court levels.  He is also responsible for the processing, reviewing, editing, and, at many times, the actual writing of the appellate work of the office.  In his oral appellate arguments, he exhibits a willingness to thoughtfully address the issues put forward by the appellate bench, instead of attempting to deflect the hard questions, as some appellate attorneys do.  He has earned a great reputation with the bench at all these levels and has a tremendous appellate success rate of 87 percent over 12 years.

   

 

 

  2014 Rising Star Prosecutor of the Year
Award Recipient
Jordyn Raimondo
Deputy Maricopa County Attorney

Jordyn Raimondo began her career with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in November 2011.  Jordyn quickly excelled in the Pretrial Division and moved on to try felonies in the Community Based Prosecution Division.  There she again distinguished herself by completing six jury trials, and she was one of a handful of prosecutors who tried dangerous complex cases.  Given this skill, Jordyn transferred to the Gang Bureau where she currently prosecutes some of the County’s most dangerous gang members.  Jordyn has proven that she can skillfully handle a wide variety of cases involving complex issues.  When you first meet Jordyn, you soon realize that she stands out from the others and is wise beyond her years.  She exemplifies the dedication, hard work, and zealous nature necessary to successfully prosecute violent criminals.  Jordyn’s distinguished professional commitment and dedication to bringing criminals to justice makes her deserving of this year’s Rising Star Prosecutor Award.
   

 

 

  2014 David R. White Award Recipient
Deborah Lee
Deputy Pima County Attorney


Deborah Lee has been a prosecutor with the Pima County Attorney’s Office since 2012. She is currently assigned to the Special Victims Unit where she prosecutes sexual offenses committed against adults and children.  She works with victims on a daily basis, spending countless hours gaining their trust and helping prepare them to testify in court.  During the last year, Deborah prosecuted several serious and noteworthy cases, all of which involved her total dedication to the pursuit of justice for victims.  Deborah is also active in the prosecution and investigation of human trafficking.  She is recognized statewide as an expert in the area and is sought after to speak on human trafficking issues. 
   

 


 

   2014 Lifetime Achievement
in Prosecution

Award Recipient
David Berkman
Deputy Pima County Attorney


David Berkman joined the Pima County Attorney’s Office in 1974.  He has prosecuted hundreds of cases and was the head of both the Major Offenders Program and the Narcotics Unit when he left in 1983 to pursue a career in civil practice.  He returned to PCAO in May 2000 as a civil litigator and was later appointed Chief Criminal Deputy.  David Berkman distinguished himself, working tirelessly to advance the principles of criminal justice by representing the public’s interest with integrity, fairness, and professionalism. Some of his most important work has been with young prosecutors, ensuring they received extensive prosecutorial training – professional and ethical.  His highest priority is instilling an understanding of the importance of ethics, integrity, and professionalism in a prosecutor.

 

 

   
    2014 Lifetime Achievement
in Prosecution

Award Recipient
Jeff Paupore
Deputy Yavapai County Attorney


Deputy County Attorney Jeff Paupore graduated in 1982 from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Jeff joined the prosecution community in January of 1997 when he was elected as the Dickinson County Prosecuting Attorney, a position he held until 2001 when he and his family moved to Arizona. Jeff was hired as a prosecutor in the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office in March of 2001 where he has excelled in all areas of practice. Jeff’s history of APAAC award nominations reflects his unswerving excellence. He was nominated in 2004 and 2006 for the Outstanding Felony Prosecutor of the Year, and in 2011 for the David R. White Victim in Excellence Award. The various responsibilities that Jeff has shouldered over his years with the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office reflect his leadership skills, his reliability, his initiative, and his commitment to public safety.

   

 

 

   

2014 Legal Assistants of the Year
Arcelia Lizarraga
Paralegal
La Paz County Attorney’s Office

Linda Conley
Paralegal
La Paz County Attorney’s Office

Teamwork is the key.  At 11 years, Arcy Lizarraga has been with the County Attorney’s Office longer than any other employee.  With innate sensitivity to people’s feelings, Arcy has become the lead legal assistant and now manages legal staff under the direct supervision of the County Attorney.  She makes assignments, provides training, and resolves complaints.  Her quiet professionalism elicits the cooperation of all.

Linda Conley is the investigative assistant, shouldering the duties of the prior full-time ex-law enforcement investigator while doing routine clerical duties.  With nearly 10 years in law enforcement as a secretary and evidence technician, Linda knows what is important in a prosecution.  Linda is our law enforcement liaison, crime scene photographer, and student of technology. 

With their different strengths, Linda and Arcy keep our office running with a cheerful efficiency that helps everyone to stay focused and do their best work.

   

 

 

   

Support Staff Person of the Year
Samantha Romo
Administrative Assistant

Victim’s Advocate Office
Greenlee County Attorney’s Office

Samantha “Sami” Romo is one of the brightest young stars in prosecution.   Her title doesn’t begin to describe all she does for our office.  She is our ambassador and has a best friend everywhere.  Her effervescent smile and easygoing manner make every interaction with her pleasant.   In one case, the defendant went through five defense attorneys who never passed along discovery.  Sami patiently made sure each had what they needed.  The victim was ambivalent and difficult, but Sami was cheerful and helpful, and never lost her patience or her smile.  In another difficult case, she went out of her way to make the case fun while volunteering to take on the hardest tasks.  Sami doesn’t complain - she accomplishes.  If there ever was a super-hero legal assistant, Sami would wear the cape!