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Confusion uncovered in the Pima County Criminal Justice System

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – 13 News Investigates discovered a breakdown in the domestic violence procedure that could be placing some victims’ safety at hazard.

The flaw uncovered has the notice of significant players in the process and now changes are staying created.

13 News Investigates has been diving deep into a strangulation scenario for months now peeling back the layers of Gracie McDonough’s situation, which is even now going by way of the system.

Her ex-boyfriend and the father of her youngster Angel Carmona Rodriquez recently pleaded guilty to strangling her.

But even though he confessed to the crime the decide experienced produced him with no bond hours soon after his arrest.

Men and females accused of felony and misdemeanor crimes line up to sit in front of a magistrate judge for their first court physical appearance.

It’s now done remotely and by legislation in 24 hrs of an arrest.

The judge’s selection on whether or not to launch or keep them is largely created in a matter of minutes.

Presiding decide Tony Riojas points out judges want to listen to the views of the victims. And if a target suggests they fear for their protection if the defendant is produced, Riojas reported, it’s a “big factor” into his decision.

As was the case all through this December preliminary physical appearance when a victim called in about a male accused of 3 counts of domestic violence. The victim reported the defendant broke down the front door, chased them into their son’s room and pushed them against a wall.

The decide decided to set bond instead than release on his have recognizance.

But in Gracie McDonough’s situation, her mother, Sharon, stated she did not get the possibility to chat to the judge.

Deputies arrested Angel Carmona Rodriguez eight days after the strangulation incident and hours later on, the decide launched him below the supervision of Pretrial Companies.

Sharon McDonough explained they had no plan an first visual appeal had been scheduled.

“She would have presented the concept expressing he desires to be in jail for me to experience harmless. So that chance was taken away,” she reported.

Riojas explained that would have been essential data since the Pretrial Service report to the preliminary visual appeal decide displays that Gracie McDonough said she didn’t item to his release.

A stage designed to the choose through Rodriguez’s preliminary physical appearance.

Assertion built for the duration of preliminary physical appearance reads, “The sufferer does not object to his release from custody.”

Sharon McDonough insists it isn’t true and that her daughter under no circumstances reported that.

Pretrial Products and services won’t confirm they spoke to Gracie McDonough, citing it’s privileged info.

Rodriguez’s defense legal professional, Clayton Kamm, also observed that in the report and thought McDonough said that.

But if Kamm’s place of work is relying on information and facts from Pretrial Companies, can he absolutely have confidence in that? Kamm mentioned he is not sure.

Kamm and Riojas say hearing instantly from victims is critically essential in the procedure to ensure the legal rights of not only suspects, but victims. The constitution requires that these victims are contacted by the courtroom, Kamm claimed.

So who must have contacted McDonough about Rogriguez’s arrest to give her the chance to appear ahead of the decide?

There looks to be confusion in Pima County.

The Sheriff’s Section informed 13 News Investigates that “Pre Trial Products and services is liable for offering the sufferer with the info.”

The Pretrial Companies director responded, “The County Legal professional is dependable for sufferer notification.”

The County Attorney’s Place of work explained that is not appropriate since, “the investigating regulation enforcement company is liable.”

In Rodriguez’s situation, the investigating legislation enforcement company is the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

So 13 News Investigates went back to the office to examine the confusion.

Sergeant Derek Welch supervises the domestic violence device. He reported the duty to update the sufferer in a legal situation lies with Pretrial Services.

In accordance to state regulation, “the law enforcement agency shall notify the sufferer of the arrest and time, put and day of the preliminary physical appearance.”

Even so, Welch insisted that is finished by Pretrial Products and services prior to the initial overall look.

“I consider the piece that is becoming misconstrued is the reality that we have to know the correct date and time of the original overall look to make that notification to the victim,” Welch explained.

Although he’s now declaring right here that the department waits for that info to notify victims about an preliminary look, 13 News Investigates informed him that McDonough reported she never ever gained a get in touch with about the first look and in no way obtained a chance to chat to the choose.

Welch yet again insisted which is not the department’s duty.

“As much as pretrial providers notification, I’m not positive if they tried to make contact with Gracie or not. They won’t launch their information to me on that regard,” he mentioned.

So what about Tucson Police?

13 News Investigates posed the identical query to the company: Who’s liable for notifying the target of an arrest?

TPD responded it’s the legislation enforcement company.

Welch informed 13 News Investigates he’s now reviewing the method inside of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

“I can see that there’s a issue and there will possible be some plan alterations,” he claimed.

Sheriff Chris Nanos, following looking at the Arizona statute, said he is applying new strategies and coverage variations.

“I want to thank you for alerting me to a dilemma that is been existent. Did we miss this a person? Yes, we did. Will we deal with it? Certainly, we will,” Nanos stated to 13 News.