Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Seal
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Justice for All
May 2018
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is working hard to help the community stay safe with a number of programs we offer.
Just last month, on April 16, we held our Annual Mega Shred-A-Thon along with our partners, International Paper and CBS 5. With about 2240 cars arriving at the International Paper facility, Maricopa County residents brought in 220 tons—that’s 440,000 pounds—of paper to be destroyed. That’s an amazing number.
This annual tradition is held around tax day to give residents the opportunity to safely discard no longer needed documents containing sensitive personal information. In the past, Arizona held the sad distinction of being number one in identity theft in the nation. Thanks to events such as this, we have dropped to number 10.
Our Cinco de Mayo “Save Lives Don’t DUI” campaign is in full swing to help you with a discount incentive to get a sober ride to the party and back to home. The code CincoPhx gives new Lyft users $5 off 4 rides through May 5. CincoPhx18 gives existing users a 20% discount off of 2 rides.
This month we also kick off our “Don’t Leave Me Behind” campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving children and pets in a hot car. This year we partner with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Arizona Humane Society in a united effort that runs from May through August. You’ll see digital billboards on the highways, social media posts and targeted web ads to help spread the word to everyone. Children and pets count on us to keep them safe from harm.
Stay tuned for where you’ll find our summer programs for kids coming up in the next issue.
Bill Montgomery Signature

New Partnerships Give Greater Voice to
Awareness Campaign - Don’t Leave Me Behind

Don't Leave Me Behind sign

It does not matter if it’s your first Arizona Summer or you’re a Valley Native, triple-digit temperatures always feel worse than we either imagined or remembered. As the mercury rises, we start our summer traditions of testing the limits of our air conditioners and searching out the tiniest sliver of shade to park. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is also kicking off a summer tradition of making sure drivers know kids and pets cannot be left in parked cars.

This summer the Office is excited to partner with Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Humane Society and Penguin Air & Plumbing for the “Don’t Leave Me Behind!” vehicular heatstroke awareness campaign. The campaign officially starts on May 8 and will run until August 31, giving the campaign a full four months to raise awareness and keep the number of incidents of children and pets left in hot cars to zero.
“Deaths associated with hot cars are a completely preventable tragedy for both our children and our pets,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “My personal challenge to every one of us in Maricopa County is to ensure no child or pet is lost to vehicular heatstroke this year.”
Vehicular heatstroke is listed as the number one cause of deaths in non-collision vehicle fatalities for children 14 and younger, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is important to know that the risk of vehicular heatstroke can occur in air temperatures of 80 degrees or less and even as low as 57 degrees. Interior temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels even with the windows slightly rolled down. Young children are especially at risk because they can fall asleep during a car ride, making it easier for a driver not to notice them when the vehicle is parked, and for infants who are less capable of regulating their body temperature.
“We lead busy lives, especially as parents of young children,” says Todd Nickoles, manager of Phoenix Children’s Center for Family Health and Safety. “We want parents and caregivers to know how much of a ‘hot zone’ that their vehicle can be, and never to leave a child alone in a car, truck or van.”
The webpage is filled with information, tips and videos to help spread the message and educate our Community about this issue. The site also reminds residents that leaving a child or pet in a vehicle is potentially fatal and, in some circumstances, a criminal offense.
“Last year, the passing of House Bill 2494, which aims to end hot car deaths, gives good Samaritans and AHS’ animal cruelty investigators an additional tool to save a life when necessary,” said Arizona Humane Society President and CEO, Dr. Steven Hansen. “It is our hope that through education and awareness we can work together to prevent these tragedies before it reaches that point.”
You are encouraged to help the campaign achieve its goal of zero incidents of children and pets left in hot cars this summer by using the hashtag #DontLeaveMeBehind and help to spread awareness.

A Look “Inside the Criminal Mind”

Dr. Samenow Speaking

On April 19 and 20, Dr. Stanton Samenow, a leading expert on the criminal personality and author of Inside the Criminal Mind, came to Phoenix to speak to a gathering of criminal justice professionals. This event, co-sponsored by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) and the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council (APAAC), had attendees including prosecutors, probation officers and members of law enforcement.
Dr. Samenow’s presentation focused on why people commit crimes. What might influence one person to commit a crime when another person in a similar situation does not.
Many causes are often ascribed to the reasons for criminal behavior such as poverty, an abusive upbringing or being “spoiled.” According to Dr. Samenow, behavior is a product of thinking and by quickly labeling a criminal, you may excuse the behavior and hide the underlying reasons for the criminal activity. 

Book: Inside the Criminal Mind by Dr. Samenow
Many criminals simply fail to consider that other people will be affected or injured by their crime. They may have a sense of uniqueness, that they are “better than everyone” and that others are pawns in their pursuit to get what they want.
Often, a criminal will blame their victim—“they made me angry,” “she asked for it”— or diminish the seriousness of their actions saying “no one was hurt.”
According to Samenow’s research, a criminal may also be influenced by fear. These characteristics are not a reflection of low self-esteem, but rather inflated ego.
  • He or she may have fear of external deterrence, or consequences: He or she may think they might get caught, “just not this time.”
  • Fear of conscience: a fragmented capacity for remorse.
  • Fear of being put down: Having a fragile ego, he or she will take things personally.
  • Fear of not being in control: often leads to anger.

In his interviews with a number of criminals over the years, Samenow found that, despite their crimes, all of them believe they are a good guy.

So, what can be done to help this mindset and prevent a criminal from reoffending?

County Attorney Bill Montgomery has long been an advocate for working with offenders to address many of the underlying issues that influence a person’s likelihood of reoffending, such as substance abuse or errors in thinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals understand these errors that have led them into trouble before and how to deal with them.
Arizona is a treatment-first state for substance abuse and offenders are regularly offered diversion and substance abuse treatment for their first and even second offense of drug use or drug possession.

For offenders who do not successfully complete treatment, probation is often the tool used to provide programs and services to address criminal behaviors. Following efforts at probation, repeat offenders then face the likelihood of prison.

Once an offender has been sentenced, Montgomery advocates for working with inmates from the time of incarceration throughout their sentence to deal with issues long before the inmate would be released and begin a reentry program.
According to Dr. Samenow, it is not an easy task to change the criminal mind, but it is a worthwhile endeavor to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.

MCAO Creates New Bureau Focused on Offering Help to Defendants to Prevent Future Crime

Sometimes the motivation for a criminal act is not the desire to enter a life of crime, but rather a circumstance caused by another underlying issue. Those in the throes of drug addiction might cheat, lie and steal to afford their habit, and if not for their addition these same people would otherwise be law abiding members of our communities. Deciding how to pursue justice in these types of cases is something prosecutors at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office often face. While holding the offender fully accountable through prosecution may be the answer in a case where a victim was maliciously harmed, in other cases diversion programs may deliver a better chance at achieving justice for everyone involved.
“Diversion programs offer our prosecutors another option to help seek justice and reduce crime, said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Our success is not achieved through simply tracking wins or losses, which we do not do, but rather we measure success by seeking justice for the victims and our community and by holding offenders accountable. Programs like diversion allow eligible offenders a chance to learn the skills necessary to stop the cycle that may cause them to reoffend in the future.”
Diversion programs can offer education, treatment or both to help the offender focus on the issues that may have led to their criminal actions and prevent them from committing another offense in the future. As part of the Office’s focus on prosecution led diversion, in April the Office implemented the Diversion Programs Bureau.
The Bureau is tasked with administering and monitoring the Office’s different diversion programs. Currently qualifying offenders have the ability to participate in five different diversion programs and an additional set of juvenile diversion programs provided in conjunction with the juvenile probation department. These programs offer offenders who are facing criminal charges the ability to defer the charging or formal prosecution process and enter into a diversion program. Offenders who choose to go through diversion can, upon successful completion of the program, have their charges dismissed or not filed at all.
Currently, the Office offers diversion programs in the following categories: drug diversion, child abuse/excessive punishment diversion, Felony Pretrial Intervention, misdemeanor diversion, bad check writing diversion and juvenile diversion. The new bureau will be able to assess program outcomes, engage in continuous program improvement and evaluate the need for future diversion program types.

MCAO SAKI TEAM Assists in the Investigation of
Unsubmitted Sex Assault Kits

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) is leading the way to ensure all sex assault kits are tested. MCAO documented that there were over 4,500 sexual assault kits (SAKs) in Maricopa County across 19 different law enforcement agencies that had not been tested. Since November 2015, the Office has been awarded several million dollars in grants from the District Attorney’s Office of New York and the Bureau of Justice Assistance to continue sex assault kit testing and fund a SAKI investigatory team. The funding helps hold offenders accountable for their crimes and prevents offenders from causing additional harm to the community. The MCAO is using this funding to not only continue analyzing untested sexual assault evidence kits but also to help fund several positions which now form the newly created SAKI Team and provide additional training and support.
With years of diverse law enforcement and criminal justice experience behind them, the MCAO SAKI team includes a site director, a crime analyst, two detectives, a site coordinator, a victim advocate and a prosecutor. MCAO is the first SAKI site to have a crime analyst as part of the team and together these experts are performing in-depth research on suspects and victims in order to connect disparate cases and offenses, identify patterns and ultimately offenders. The team also acts as a go-to resource for agencies and assists with their SAKI-related investigations, working on cold case sex assault investigations, DNA analysis and Y-STR forensic testing. Over the past few years, increasing attention has been paid to the proper collection of physical evidence from victims to document and reconstruct the crime, identify the offender and aid in prosecution. The SAKI team works closely with law enforcement and community partners to identify offenders in these cases that in some instances are decades old. The work being accomplished by the team will ultimately lead to successful prosecutions and justice for victims. The innovative use of MCAO staff who form the SAKI team is allowing the Office to expand the reach of testing and provide a much-needed service to victims and the community.

Get a Safe Ride this Cinco de Mayo

MCAO and Lyft are again offering discount codes to get a sober ride for your Cinco de Mayo festivities. The “Save Lives Don’t DUI” offer is available through May 5.

Lyft will offer the following discounts:

  • New users can download the code: CINCOPHX for $5 off 4 rides 
  • Existing users, use code CINCOPHX18 for 20% off 2 rides

 “Just like St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo lands on Saturday this year, so we expect to see many more revelers enjoying the holiday,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “I urge you to make the right choice and arrange to have a sober driver. The offer we are providing with our partners—along with many other options—means there is no excuse to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking.”

The “Save Lives Don’t DUI” campaign is a valuable community program that continues to grow in popularity. For the St. Patrick’s Day campaign, 13,912 County residents downloaded the code. Last year, over 1,800 people downloaded the code for Cinco de Mayo.

MCAO Lyft Cinco De Mayo Save Lives Dont DUI Campaign 2018

Five Charged After Police Stop 4,600 Fake Oxycodone Pills Containing Fentanyl from Hitting the Streets

Oxycodone Pills

In two recent cases, local law enforcement worked to stop the sale of narcotic pills that potentially could have killed any unsuspecting street drug user. At the end of February and again at the end of March, multiple defendants were charged in incidents involving the sale of fake oxycodone pills containing deadly amounts of fentanyl. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office issued a warning after charging the cases to put the Community on notice about the danger these pills posed and tried to raise awareness about the increasing use of fentanyl in the manufacturing of illegal drugs.
“If law enforcement had not been vigilant in stopping these crimes and preventing the public safety threat these pills posed to our community, lives very well may have been lost,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “In the absence of the Legislature addressing the specific threat of fentanyl trafficking, my Office will use all available tools to protect the public from this deadly threat.”
On February 27, 2018 officers stopped a car they believed had been involved in a drug sale. Investigators found approximately 4,000 fake oxycodone pills inside the vehicle that were later determined to contain fentanyl. Three men were taken into custody by officers in connection to the case, 37-year-old Rigoberto Herrera, 30-year-old Leonides Martinez-Escobar, and 32-year-old Santos Valdez-Lopez. Each of the defendants has been charged with possession of Narcotic Drugs for Sale, a Class 2 Felony.
On March 28, 2018 officers learned of a planned drug sale of 1,000 fentanyl pills marked to look like oxycodone. Investigators were able to arrest a man and woman in connection to the sale and recovered more than 600 fake oxycodone pills later determined to contain fentanyl. Prosecutors charged 29-year-old Edgar Camargo and 35-year-old Agueda Johnston with the Sale or Transportation of Narcotic Drugs, a Class 2 Felony.
Link to press conference:

MCAO Victims’ Rights Awards


Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and the MCAO Victim Services Division recognized several individuals during the 2018 MCAO Victims’ Rights Awards Ceremony last month. This year’s theme, Expand the Circle – Reach All Victims, emphasizes the importance of inclusion in victim services, recognizes how this important work ensures every victim has access to services and support and how organizations work with communities to reach all victims. MCAO employees submitted nominations to honor the great work done by members of the Office and members of the community who excelled in their service to victims in five categories. Winners of the 2018 MCAO Victims’ Right Awards are: 

  • MCAO Detective Robert Furneaux won the Leadership Award
  • Scottsdale Police Department Detectives Andrew Parrott, Brooke Scritchfield, Tara Ford, Advocate Kelly Wills and MCAO Detective Joe Plummer won the Collaboration Award
  • Victims Denise Corral and Melina Gibbons won the Resilience Award
  • MCAO Victims Services Division Chief Shawn Cox won the Innovation Award
  • MCAO Victim Services Restitution Specialist Denise Lian won the Summit Award 

“MCAO is proud to work with members of the community and law enforcement to achieve our shared mission to expand the circle and reach all victims,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “It is important to reiterate our commitment to respect and apply victims’ rights and the important work being done to address their needs. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, we would like to express our appreciation to those who have gone above and beyond to serve crime victims in the pursuit of justice.”
To learn more about your rights as a crime victim and for more information on the MCAO Victim Services Division, visit or call (602) 506-8522.

Expand the Circle – Reach All Victims

State leaders recently gathered to honor and recognize those who advocate on behalf of crime victims during Arizona’s 36th annual observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. On April 9th the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was a proud partner of a statewide award event at the El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium in Phoenix where victim advocates and crime victims were honored for their work supporting this year’s theme, “Expand the Circle- Reach All Victims.”
County Attorney Bill Montgomery honored Arizona Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay at the event with the Justice for All award. “Greg McKay has spent his life pursuing justice for the victims of crime and continues to serve as a champion for one of the most vulnerable populations as Director of the Department of Child Safety,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The work Director McKay has accomplished alone as an investigator could have earned him this award; however, his continuing dedication demonstrated in his work to positively change and restructure child welfare in Arizona along with his leadership at DCS make him incredibly deserving of the Justice for All Award.”
The event also featured keynote speaker Meg Garvin who serves as the Executive Director of the National Crime Victim Law Institute and is a passionate victims’ rights advocate. She applauded the work that Arizona has achieved in the area of victims’ rights, adding that as she speaks across the nation on victims’ rights she always uses Arizona as an example of a State that is leading the way.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Arizona Department of Child Safety Director Greg McKay

Community Calendar

Upcoming Events Calendar

Cinco de Mayo - Phoenix Festival

Sunday, May 6
12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Downtown Phoenix

200 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Arizona Mills 2018 Family Summer Safety Event

Saturday, June 2
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Arizona Mills Mall (between Sea Life and LEGOLAND Discovery Center)

5000 South Arizona Mills Circle
Tempe, AZ 85282

Cases of Community Interest

Mugshot Alvin Smith

Alvin Smith Sentenced to 191 Years for Sex Trafficking and Child Prostitution

Alvin Rex Smith was sentenced to 191 years in the Department of Corrections for three counts of Sex Trafficking, nine counts of Child Prostitution, four counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor and three counts of Using Minors in Drug Offenses.

“This sentence is a clear demonstration of our continuing commitment to hold defendants fully accountable for victimizing children for a defendant’s perverse financial gain through sex trafficking,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Prosecutors and law enforcement will continue to be relentless in making Arizona the most unwelcome place for child sex traffickers to operate. This case is also yet one more example of the nefarious environment that was created by” 

» View Full Story «

Powered by CivicSend - A product of CivicPlus