Valley prosecutors must start including prison time in all plea offers for gun crimes
Sep 1, 2022, 11:13 AM
PHOENIX – With gun violence on the rise, Maricopa County prosecutors will have to include prison time in plea offers for cases involving firearms under a new policy.
“We’re partnering with the Phoenix Police Department to crack down on gun crimes, and so we are going to be unveiling a policy that if a gun is used in the commission of a crime or if somebody is an unlawful possessor of a gun, they are going to go to prison,” Rachel Mitchell, the interim head of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday morning.
The policy change goes into effect Friday. Any deviations will require approval from a supervisor.
— MaricopaCounty Atty. (@marcoattorney) September 1, 2022
Valley law enforcement agencies submitted 16 homicide cases to prosecutors from Aug. 19 to Aug. 29, with 15 of the incidents involving guns and five involving domestic violence, according to MCAO.
“That’s just completely unacceptable,” said Mitchell, who was appointed as Maricopa County attorney in April and is the Republican nominee against Democrat Julie Gunnigle in the November general election.
Mitchell, a 30-year veteran of MCAO, said she’s seen similar policy changes serve as an effective crime deterrent.
“People need to know that we are serious about this, and we’re going to be asking for them to be high bond, to stay in jail so that they’re not out committing more violent offenses, and that will cut down on it,” she said. “And then we are going to be asking for prison.”
“The word will get around. I’m confident of that.”