Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Seal
Maricopa County Attorney’s Office
Justice for All
July 2018
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery
At the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, we are dedicated to being a partner with our community and working to keep you safe. We seek justice, whether that means taking a case to trial or offering diversion programs to offenders.
Justice isn’t one-size-fits-all. This Office takes an approach of diversion/rehabilitation for the first—or even second—time offender and substance abuser, with incarceration for violent and repetitive offenders.
Arizona has been a treatment first state since 1996, reflected by the fact that Arizona law precludes prison for the first two drug use or possession offenses. We regularly work with community treatment providers, fellow stakeholders, and law enforcement to distinguish between drug motivated crime arising from addiction and crimes associated with the drug trade.
Arizona does not overly incarcerate people solely for possessing and using legal and illegal drugs. Multiple studies since 2009 establish that 95% of inmates are violent or repeat felony offenders. Additionally, drug trafficking and sales offenses make up almost 2/3 of those in prison on drug charges.
Additionally, we have been a partner in championing the first Arizona “Angel Initiative” in the Phoenix Police Department’s Maryvale/Estrella Mountain Precinct that gives those with a substance abuse problem the chance to get help. Individuals can turn in their drugs with no fear of prosecution and receive treatment and support. This program has now been extended to other police departments.
Finally, even though we are halfway through the summer, I’d like to remind you to be vigilant about kids and pets in cars. Don’t leave them alone in a vehicle for any amount of time. If you see a child or animal in a car, seek help immediately; and watch kids around water too.
Bill Montgomery Signature

Arizona Gang Investigator’s Association Recognizes MCAO Prosecutors

MCAO AGIA Awardees
MCAO DCAs Dan Fisher, Ellen Dahl and April Sponsel and Pinal County DCA Patrick Johnson with their awards

Ten prosecutors in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Gang Bureau filed more than 2,200 gang-related criminal charges last year, ranging from aggravated assault to drive-by shootings and conspiracy, kidnapping and homicide. Gang offenses often include drugs, guns and graffiti and it is not uncommon for these cases to have uncooperative and scared victims and intimidated witnesses. The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission tells us that gang activity was reported in nearly 70 percent of state-wide jurisdictions that responded to their last “Gang Threat Assessment” survey. Gangs in Arizona range from low-level offenders to sophisticated, organized units who often commit violent crimes. The Arizona Gang Investigator’s Association (AzGIA) is a group of criminal justice and law enforcement experts who came together more than ten years ago to work towards eradicating the negative impact gangs have on our communities. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, crime analysts and investigators across the state belong to AzGIA and each year they recognize the best of the best. Several committed MCAO prosecutors were honored in early June during the 11th annual AzGIA Training Conference, co-sponsored by the MCAO, the Pima County Attorney’s Office, US Marshal’s Office, Arizona State Gang Task Force GIITEM and the Pinal County Attorney’s Office.
Deputy County Attorney Dan Fisher from the MCAO Gang Bureau was recognized as the AzGIA Gang Prosecutor of the Year. Dan is an experienced gang prosecutor who has been with the Office for six years and in the Gangs Bureau for half that time. His strong relationships with law enforcement have resulted in effective investigations and prosecutions. In addition to being assigned to the Safe Trails Task Force, which investigates and prosecutes crimes in Indian Country, this year Dan successfully prosecuted a member of the Mexican Mafia of attempted second degree murder. The dangerous defendant was sentenced to 21 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. “I am very honored to be in the company of the other award winners who are all not only at the top of their game in terms of prosecution, but also specifically within the realm of gang prosecutions,” said Dan. “I am also proud to be recognized by my peers within the Arizona Gang Investigator’s Association. The effort to combat gang influence and reduce gang violence in our community is a team effort and I am motivated to play my part.”
Two former MCAO Gang Bureau Deputy County Attorneys were also recognized by the AzGIA with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Ellen Dahl was one recipient and she has been with the MCAO for more than 15 years, prosecuting gang cases since day one. Her work has been responsible for getting some of the worst of the worst gang offenders off the street and incarcerated. “I am proud to work shoulder to shoulder with some of the most experienced detectives in our law enforcement community, said Ellen. “Gang investigations and trials provide some of the greatest challenges for prosecutors – scared victims, reluctant witnesses, and some of the most dangerous and prolific criminals. It was an honor to receive this award from AZGIA and I look forward to continuing to prosecute gang members and gang related crimes.”
Deputy County Attorney April Sponsel also received an AzGIA Lifetime Achievement Award. April has been with the MCAO for more than 15 years and spent more than half that time in the Gang Bureau. Her prosecution work has included successful verdicts against documented gang members, dangerous motorcycle gangs and the Mexican Mafia. “I am humbled by the award and thank the true heroes for recognizing me – these are the hardworking officers and detectives who deal with gang members face to face. Without them, our job would not be possible and they are the ones deserving of the recognition in the end.”
Deputy County Attorney Shannon Struble, also in the MCAO Gang Bureau, was nominated for the Gang Prosecutor of the Year. In three short years with the Office, Shannon’s work ethic and professional skills have not gone unnoticed. Not only has she completed multiple gang-related trials in the past year, she has also continued to build relationships with law enforcement by participating with gang units and completing ride-a-longs with the units.
“These awards recognize the never-ending professionalism and tireless dedication of our Gang Bureau prosecutors,” said Michael McVey, Deputy Chief of the MCAO Criminal Group. “They are devoted to the safety and well-being of our community.” 

County Attorney Bill Montgomery agrees, “I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Gang Bureau. Every day they come to work focused on making our communities safe by combating gang violence. Behind each of these awards stands a number of other professionals who support our prosecutors in and out of court. It truly is a team effort." 

MCAO Gang Bureau attendees at this year’s AzGIA conference
MCAO Gang Bureau attendees at this year’s AzGIA conference
Front Row: DCA Shannon Struble; Bureau Chief Michael Gingold; DCA Gregory Cecilia.
Middle Row: Paralegal Roxanna Maddox; DCA Stephen Shaver; Paralegal Nicolas Cooksey; Assistant Bureau Chief Eric Basta; DCA William Babb.
Back Row: DCA Dan Fisher

MCAO Creates Crisis Response Team

The Victim Services Division has created an MCAO Advocate Crisis Response team that can be part of a community response to assist victims in the aftermath of a multiple casualty event. Victim Services from law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices are often called upon to assist the community in these events, due to the knowledge and experience that advocates have in assisting victims of crime.
The team is comprised of professional victim advocates who have completed a nationally recognized training in crisis response from the National Organization for Victims. This will enable the MCAO Victim Services Division to send a team to a specific community to assist them, when the scope of the crisis is extensive and the community is in need of additional supportive services. The team is prepared to respond to local events or be deployed to other communities, even out of state.
In these situations, the Response Team will assist victims who are affected by the crisis and those who may be at risk of experiencing trauma. The Team will offer support, information and intervention to individuals have been impacted and are directly in need of assistance. They may also provide community referrals and assist victims in completing victim compensation applications.
“By creating the Crisis Response Team, our advocates received formal training in crisis intervention to ensure that they are able to provide a coordinated community crisis response, even at a moment’s notice,” said Victim Services Division Chief, Shawn Cox. “We are prepared to provide support to help stabilize and restore a sense of balance in the lives of those who have been exposed to potentially traumatizing situations.”

MCAO Crisis Response Team
MCAO Crisis Response Team
Advocates: Joanna Zigler, Melissa Molina, Julie Williams, Shawna Michie, Krista Armenta, Michelle McCoy, Karyn Manning, Victim Services Division Chief Shawn Cox, Tim Siegel, Jill Green, Laura Lopez, Vanessa Lopez, Susie Checkett, Mayra Gomez, Debra Weirman, Ellen Larson

MCAO Staff Trained On Public Records

Each summer, the MCAO Public Records team rolls out “Public Records and Common Sense,” a 90-minute public records training and presentation for MCAO staff. The interactive training is presented a few times each summer to prosecutors and support staff who want a refresher or an introduction to public records law and how the process works in the Office. True-false quizzes, photos, videos and real-life scenarios are used to demonstrate what happens from the time a request arrives to when it leaves. The Office processes an average of 875 public records requests per year for everything from police reports to indictments to even maps and photos. The number of requests has increased from 250 just 5 years ago to almost 700 last year.
As the training points out, just because something is requested doesn’t mean it can always be released. A team of public records paralegals and attorneys in the Office determine if the material being requested is statutorily confidential or privileged, detrimental to the best interests of the state or has privacy interests. The rest is processed, redacted and approved for release, a process that can take days or weeks or months depending on the volume of the material. Employees who attend the training are frequently surprised to find out that social media posts may be a public record as well as most of the written documents retained in the Office. The question and answer portion of the training is often as lengthy as the presentation itself. “We balance privacy, confidentiality and the best interests of the state in each and every request,” reports Special Assistant Mike Mitchell, a member of the Public Records team and summer presenter. “It’s important to teach new attorneys and staff the correct way to handle a public records request and what happens after the request arrives. We work with the presumption of disclosure for public records and training new folks in a fun, interactive way hopefully makes what could be a dry topic memorable and useful.”

MCAO recognized in 2018 DNA Hit of the Year Awards

DNA Helix

DNA can be used to identify offenders with incredible precision when such evidence exists. When used to its full potential, DNA evidence can help solve cold cases and identify criminals associated with serious and violent crimes. The international DNA Hit of the Year is a global recognition program, sponsored by Gordon Thomas Honeywell, designed to recognize the value of this kind of DNA database technology to solve and prevent crime. Through the evaluation of DNA database hit cases, the DNA Hit of the Year is intended to bring recognition to the databases so crime victims receive the justice they deserve. The award also recognizes the extraordinary dedication and hard work of DNA scientists, criminal investigators and prosecutors who use DNA databases to bring justice to crime victims. This year’s nominees included more than 60 submissions from around the world; including from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Cold Case Bureau. The MCAO nomination of the Brian Patrick Miller case, was recognized as a Top Ten finalist and was included in the Annual Awards presentation in May in London. MCAO’s nomination will also be featured multiple times during the next year at several related international forensic and police conferences. The Brian Patrick Miller case involved a string of gruesome murders along the Arizona Canal in northwest Phoenix in the early 1990s. In early 2015, Miller’s DNA was found to match to the DNA profile developed from the victims using forensic genealogy. To read more about the DNA Hit of the Year, including case summaries of the Top Ten finalists and this year’s winner, visit:

Citizens Academy “Teachers Edition”

Citizens Academy “Teachers Edition”

Last month, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office hosted a Citizens Academy just for those in the field of education.
Though we hold a Citizens Academy session most months of the year, they are typically not held in the summer. By holding this class after the end of the school year, teachers were able to attend.
Participants were given a first-hand look at how the County Attorney’s Office operates and an overview of the criminal justice system in the County, first-hand information they can share with their students and colleagues.
The class toured the Superior Court and saw a drug court hearing and a criminal trial in person. They toured the 4th Avenue Jail to see the intake process from booking to Initial Appearance Court. MCAO’s Forensic Exhibits team gave a presentation on what kind of trial exhibits they create and the amazing skill and technology they use to prepare them.
A Deputy County Attorney from MCAO’s Juvenile Division was on hand to teach the group about the juvenile justice system—what is unique from the adult system—and trends in juvenile crime such as gun violations, gangs and bullying.
County Attorney Bill Montgomery ended the day with a question and answer session, giving the class an opportunity to talk with him directly about the issues kids face and how we can all work together to educate and support them to avoid becoming a victim of crime and to make positive choices in their own lives, maybe even pursuing a career in criminal justice.

For more information about the MCAO Citizens Academy and to apply visit:

Citizens Academy “Teachers Edition” - County Attorney Bill Montgomery speaking to the class
Citizens Academy “Teachers Edition” - Class Photo with County Attorney Bill Montgomery

MCAO Safe Kids Summer Events

MCAO Volunteers at Safe Kids Summer Events
MCAO Community Affairs staff and volunteers are out around the Valley this summer teaching kids how to avoid bullying and how to stay safe at school, at home and online.

Community Calendar

Upcoming Events Calendar

Safe Kids Summer

Saturday, July 7
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
City of Buckeye Aquatics Center

207 North 9th Street
Buckeye, AZ  85326

Safe Kids Summer

Saturday, July 7
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Christown Spectrum Mall

West Bethany Home Road & 19th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85015

A Community Coffee

Saturday, July 21
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

5715 North 19th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85015

Safe Kids Summer

Saturday, August 4
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Christown Spectrum Mall

West Bethany Home Road & 19th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85015

Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 17
Maryvale High School
6:00 p.m.
 – 8:00 p.m.
3415 North 59th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85033

Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 24
McClintock High School
6:00 p.m.
 – 8:00 p.m.
1830 East Del Rio Drive
Tempe, AZ 85282


Friday Night Football Patrol

Friday, August 31st
Valley Vista High School
6:00 p.m.
 – 8:00 p.m.
15550 North Parkview Place
Surprise, AZ 85374

Cases of Community Interest

Mugshot Holly Davis

Holly Davis Sentenced to 25 Years for Senseless Murder of University Student Yue Jiang

Holly Davis was sentenced to a mandatory 25 years in the Department of Corrections for second degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Yue Jiang.

“This sentence is the maximum penalty for second degree murder and reflects the senseless nature of the acts of the defendant and the degree of harm that was inflicted upon the Jiang family and all victims in this incident,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This Office joins the family in their sincere wish that no other family in the future will suffer a loss like this again.” 

» View Full Story «

Mugshot Marlow Chiquito

Marlow Chiquito Sentenced for Second Degree Murder and Kidnapping in the Death of His Mother

Marlow Chiquito was sentenced to the Department of Corrections for 25 years flat for second degree murder and 10.5 years for kidnapping in connection to the murder of Maggie Chiquito.

“This sentencing is the result of the defendant’s decisions and underscores our unyielding determination to hold accountable those who senselessly take the life of another,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. 

» View Full Story «

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