maricopa county attorney’s oFFice
novemBer 2011 newsletter
Our job is
to put the
bad guys where
they belong: away
From the Desk oF Bill montgomery
This November issue of The Maricopa County Attorney’s
Office Newsletter signals the start of our second year in office.
in this issue:
In this month’s newsletter, we tell you
Our impact on fighting crime in Maricopa County is reflected about a great “grass roots” activist.
in the latest crime statistics from the FBI: From 2009 to 2010
violent crime in Arizona dropped by 9.5%. Property crimes We expand on last month’s Bureau
dropped by 4.6% over the same period. We are outpacing Spotlight with an in-depth look at the
corresponding national rates. Vehicular Crimes Bureau.
These statistics also underscore the success of Arizona’s tough A special recognition to a community
sentencing laws, which have allowed us to protect the people we member who witnessed a crime and
serve from those who pose the greatest danger to the community. stood up for the rights of her neighbor.
81% of the current inmates in the Arizona Department of
Corrections are repeat offenders, while 70% are violent offenders. Our regular listing of “Upcoming
Together, they represent 94.2% of DOC inmates. Events” features a Shred-A-Thon and
our yearly involvement in National
At the MCAO’s recent annual meeting I was pleased to be Adoption Day and the Veteran’s Day
able to celebrate these achievements and recognize some of Parade.
those MCAO employees who have helped make these crime
reductions possible and our communities safer. Thanks to There’s also brief recaps of the MCAO
the efforts of everyone who works in the MCAO, I have been Annual Meeting, Friday Night Football
able to make good on the pledge I made when I ran for this Patrol, Drug Take-Back Day, and an
office, namely, to hold criminals accountable, honor and respect article on our involvement with a
the rights of crime victims and protect and strengthen the Habitat for Humanity project.
And, as always, we have a round-up
Until next time,
of some of our recent news releases,
letting you know more about the
successful prosecution of just a few of
Bill Montgomery, Maricopa County Attorney the more than 30,000 felony criminal
cases our office handles each year.
she is what the term “grass roots” is all aBout
Public service comes in all sizes and shapes. Most of us might think of
elected officials or law enforcement when the term public service comes
up. But there are also those public servants among us who provide help
to fellow residents in their neighborhood or on the street where you live.
Winn Greene and her husband Frank have lived and worked in the
Sunnyslope area of Phoenix for more than 50 years. Together they
operate a successful “mom and pop” store called Antique Outpost.
Winn has been an active member of the Sunnyslope Village Alliance
since it was organized in 1989, joining at an important time. Sunnyslope
had been facing problems with gang activity and absentee landlords
letting their property go, causing property values to radically drop.
Over the next few years Winn served as Treasurer and Vice-President
of Operations and then in 1993 she became President of the Alliance. In
this role she spearheaded an effort to unite what were then a number
of smaller neighborhood organizations. In 2009, she was selected to
participate with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon as part of the All-America
City delegation, to nominate Phoenix for an All-American City Award,
an award Phoenix ultimately won.
“In an effort to pull Sunnyslope up by the bootstraps, the City of Phoenix
bought some then empty lots at Central and Dunlap,” said Winn.
“The Sunnyslope Village Alliance worked with the city to push for
improvements. A shopping center, homes and an apartment complex
helped improve the entire area.” The area was transformed.
Winn’s words of encouragement for others: Get involved. “It doesn’t
matter at what level, but you have to get involved. Learn who your It doesn’t matter
community leaders are from precinct committee persons all the way up at what level, but
to city council members and mayor. Also, learn to call on city services. you have to get
If you don’t use the services available then they will be cut. You have to
be a bit of a squeaky wheel,” advises Winn. involved.
“From time to time we’d like you to meet some of the people who make – Winn Greene
a difference in communities all over Maricopa County,” said County
Attorney Bill Montgomery. “The people of Sunnyslope have been well
served by Winn Greene. She represents the true spirit of community
Although Winn remains fiercely committed to the continued
revitalization of the Sunnyslope area, she is realistic. “I won’t be able to
do this much longer. I have beat back cancer twice and I hope that it’s
gone for good. But now it’s time for others to begin to step up. I will
always help any way I can as long as I can.”
a closer look at the work oF the vehicular crimes Bureau
By aaron harDer, Bureau Chief
The Vehicular Crimes Bureau (VCB) prosecutes crimes involving vehicular
homicide, motor vehicle collisions and incidents in which drivers are found
to be driving recklessly or driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal
drugs or prescription medication (DUI). The 13 attorneys (including a
bureau chief) in the VCB have a specialized knowledge of drivers impaired
by alcohol or drugs and collision reconstruction. They receive multiple hours
of training in drug recognition and blood alcohol levels.
Arizona has enacted some of the toughest DUI laws in the country and the
attorneys in the VCB keep up with these changes by meeting regularly with
law enforcement and criminalists to prepare for their cases. Additionally,
VCB attorneys are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When they are called to respond to accidents, they walk
through the scene and assist with any legal advice requested by law enforcement.
Last year, the VCB prosecuted more than 2,600 cases. Three of these cases are highlighted here.
In December 2010, defendant Georgia Baker was driving westbound on the S.R. 101 in a stolen SUV. As Department of
Public Safety officers began to initiate a traffic stop, the defendant pulled away and a pursuit began. The defendant was
driving recklessly, reaching speeds of 90 to 100 miles per hour weaving in and out of traffic and making very aggressive
Other DPS officers began placing “stop sticks” along 7th Street in an effort to disable Baker’s vehicle. As she approached
this area, Baker swerved to avoid the stop sticks. The pursuing DPS vehicle then struck one of the officers who later died
from his injuries. Baker then attempted to hide in a condominium complex, but was apprehended.
Prosecutor Aaron Harder secured a guilty verdict and the defendant was sentenced on counts of First Degree Murder,
Unlawful Flight from a Pursuing Law Enforcement Vehicle and Theft of Means of Transportation. She was sentenced to
Natural Life in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
In February 2010, defendant Berry Williams went into a Circle K and stole several 30-packs of beer worth about $95.
He then hopped into the passenger seat of a vehicle and forced the driver to go to 55th Ave., where he climbed into the
driver’s seat. A Phoenix Police Department patrol unit saw the defendant stopped in the middle of the roadway and
stopped behind the defendant. As officers approached the car, Williams drove off. Officers followed, but Williams failed
to stop. A speed camera photo taken on the I-10 of Williams shows him traveling at 112 miles per hour. Williams exited
I-10 and ran several red lights, eventually striking the car of a victim. The victim died as a result of injuries received
during the collision. Williams’ pre-impact speed was approximately 64 miles per hour with an impact speed of 47 miles
per hour. The police then determined that Williams had an alcohol concentration of .121% and had cocaine in his system.
The jury found the defendant guilty of Felony First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Unlawful Flight from
Pursuing Law Enforcement Vehicle, Endangerment, and Shoplifting. Prosecutor Charity Collins is seeking a lengthy
prison sentence when Williams is sentenced later this month.
Also in February 2010, repeat offender Jack Mizer was spotted swerving his truck in a bike lane. He was eventually
stopped by police where officers noticed multiple signs of alcohol impairment. Police also found an opened and half-
full bottle of whiskey in the truck. Mizer’s blood alcohol content was a staggering .293. In August, just 17 days after
he posted bond, two witnesses watched Mizer be escorted out of a restaurant’s bar and stagger to a truck. The pair
followed him home and called 9-1-1. Officers found Mizer passed out behind the wheel with the keys still in the ignition.
His blood alcohol content was found to be .278. Mizer has not had a valid license since the late 1980’s and the Arizona
Department of Motor Vehicles has revoked the his driving privileges many times since then.
Prosecutor Lou Caputo offered no plea based on the facts of the defendant’s two cases, which included his consistently
very high blood alcohol content, his criminal history and his record of endangering the community. The defendant
eventually pled guilty. Mizer was sentenced to 10 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections for each case to run
special recognition For an outstanDing witness
Christine Pond’s bravery helped make her neighborhood
safer and also was instrumental in helping Maricopa County
prosecutors secure a 10-year sentence for a shooting death that
occurred across the street from her house. Defendant Robert
Curtis was convicted of second degree murder in the shooting
of his girlfriend’s former boyfriend. Pond was inside her home
when she heard a loud noise and called 9-1-1. Although Pond
did not know it at the time, that noise was the sound of Curtis
firing a shot at the stomach of the victim. Pond went to her front
door in time to see the defendant and victim arguing. Despite the danger, Pond stayed at her front door
just sixty feet away describing what she saw to the 9-1-1 operator. Just moments after Pond told the
operator, “he’s got a gun, he’s going to do it again,” two shots rang out.
Pond made her own notes the night of the murder while her memory was fresh, participated in
numerous interviews, and served as an excellent witness. At trial, her testimony and the recording of
her 9-1-1 call were the evidence most significant to the jury.
At a recent Division Chiefs’ meeting Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery presented Christine
Pond with a special Witness Commendation. “It is an honor to recognize someone who showed great
courage to stay at her front door and report to police what she saw via the 9-1-1 call,” said County
Attorney Bill Montgomery. “During the defendant’s hour-long standoff with police, Christine and her
two small children were put on the floor of her car and driven to safety. With the presentation of this
certificate we thank Christine Pond and recognize her courage and contribution to our community.”
upcoming events calenDar
mcao shreD-a-thon w/ veterans Day paraDe maricopa county
12 news & international FriDay, novemBer 11 th national aDoption Day
paper 11:00 a.m.
saturDay, novemBer 19th
monDay, novemBer 7th Parade route runs northbound 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m.
5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on 7th St. from the Phoenix 3131 W. Durango Ave., Phoenix
International Paper Parking Lot VA, turning westbound on
301 S. 30th St. (just south of Camelback Rd. and the north to
Washington St.), Phoenix Bethany Home Rd.
the 2011 mcao annual meeting
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is full of talented and dedicated individuals,
working hard every day. Every year the office recognizes just a few of these people.
Among those receiving special recognition during this year’s Annual Meeting were:
Darlene Dragonetti – Support Employee of the Year
Legal Support Specialist Darlene Dragonetti works in the Trial
Division. She is always the first to volunteer to assist others and carries
a heavy workload day in and day out. Darlene’s work ethic and compe-
tence in addition to her cheery disposition make her a valuable member
of the Trial Division team.
Molly Pasquarette – Paralegal of the Year
Molly Pasquarette’s work in the Pretrial Division has helped streamline processes
and improve the Discovery Request Form. Molly’s assistance to 24 attorneys working in
19 different courts keeps her on her toes and makes good use of her exceptional organiza-
Lisa Andrus – Prosecutor of the Year
Lisa Andrus is a veteran prosecutor who works on some of the office’s most difficult
cases in the Sex Crimes Bureau. Her continual willingness to work on complex litigation
while sometimes exacting a personal toll demonstrates her ongoing compassion and com-
mitment to victims of sexual predators.
Drug take-Back Day a Big success
On Saturday, October 29th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the MCAO
partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
for a Drug Take-Back Day. The event was held at Target in
Paradise Valley. Target contributed to the success of the
event by providing the venue and donating small Halloween
holiday items for kids. Sworn Police Officers were at the site
to accept the drugs from nearly 100 people. All who partici-
pated helped prevent pill abuse and theft by dropping off
the potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted
prescription drugs. Eight moving boxes donated by U-Haul
were filled with bags of loose pills, prescription bottles full
of pain killers, antibiotics, diabetic medication, and over the
counter drugs, totaling 125 pounds. Most of the medicine
recovered came from families who had lost a loved one who
had been on prescriptions. Several individuals said they
didn’t know what to do with the medication as they heard it
wasn’t good to flush down the toilet. With the success of this
drop off, plans for future drug turn in events are already in the works.
FriDay night FootBall patrol was a Big success
The 2011 “Friday Night Football Patrol” season ended on Friday, October 28th, and ten Valley high
schools caught the fever!
Over 3,000 students signed a pledge to stay off drugs and alcohol and not succumb to peer pressure.
At each of the special Friday night games, every student in attendance who signed the pledge was
automatically entered into a drawing for a free Apple iPad. The ten iPads were donated by Southwest
Gas, and 104.7 KISS-FM promoted the 2011 events.
“I want to thank all the students who took time to sign the pledge,” said Maricopa County Attorney
Bill Montgomery. “I also want to give a big thank you to our partners Southwest Gas and 104.7 KISS-
FM for making this year’s Friday Night Football Patrol such a huge success.”
“I appreciate the 120 Maricopa County Attorney’s Office volunteers who gave their time over 10 Friday
nights to help coordinate the Football Patrol this season,” Montgomery continued. “The success of the
program is due in no small part to their hard work.”
We believe this proactive effort will help reduce
the incidence of teen substance abuse.
Our message is simple: you use, you lose
– County Attorney Bill Montgomery, in the August 22nd news release
haBitat For humanity
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, along with
Deputy County Attorneys Sandra Janzen and Peter Spaw
participated in a wall signing ceremony as construction began
on a new “Habitat for Humanity” home in Phoenix on October
20th. The property was donated by the Maricopa County
Attorney’s Office following the RICO seizure of the land. This
site has sadly been the place of many police drug investiga-
tions. Once the new home is finished, it will belong to the
Alvarado family. This is a ‘Habitat for Humanity Central Ari-
zona’ project with some of the labor being supplied by the City
of Phoenix YouthBuild Program.
Graffiti Tagger “Shaggy” Faces Criminal Damage Charges
A Maricopa County Grand Jury has charged Daniel Alexander Lopez with one class 6 felony count of
Aggravated Criminal Damage and one class 5 felony count of Criminal Damage for allegedly committing
multiple acts of graffiti that defaced property and structures throughout the Phoenix metro area over a three
year period. He is believed to be one of the most prolific graffiti vandals currently in Maricopa County.
“Graffiti is not a harmless form of creative expression. It’s a destructive crime that victimizes entire
communities by creating blight and encouraging additional criminal activity,” said Maricopa County Attorney
Bill Montgomery. “In conjunction with the diligent efforts of Phoenix Police and the Phoenix Graffiti Busters
program, my office will continue to aggressively pursue graffiti vandals and hold them accountable for their
destructive actions,” he added. http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/newsroom/2011-10-12-Graffiti-
Former Sheriff’s Detention Officer Sentenced to Jail, Probation for Inmate Assaults, Unauthorized
Access to Criminal History
Judge William Brotherton sentenced Kevin Gerster to serve one year in jail followed by two years of supervised
probation for assaulting two inmates and illegally accessing and sharing criminal history information while
serving as a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Detention Officer. Gerster was charged in three separate cases for these
crimes and pled guilty with no agreements to two class 6 designated felonies for the two assaults, and one class
1 misdemeanor for the unauthorized criminal history access.
“This defendant violated the trust we place in our uniformed law enforcement officers, the overwhelming
majority of whom perform their duties with honesty, integrity and professionalism,” remarked Maricopa
County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This sentence underscores the commitment of my office to hold sworn
officers accountable when they have violated the law,” he added. http://www.maricopacountyattorney.org/