Legal Assistant Spotlight
Michele Turenne is a Legal Assistant in the Pima County Attorney’s Office. She has been with PCAO since September 2007. Currently, Michele is assigned to the Property Crimes Unit and has the distinct reputation of being known as PCAO’s resident paralegal fraud expert. The attorneys with whom Michele works recognize her as the go to person regarding fraud cases. Michele is an excellent paralegal, an independent thinker, and always takes a proactive approach to her cases. She is thorough and detailed as she works up cases and prepares them for trial. She always provides concise yet precise evaluations of cases and/or trial issues. Her observations and input have consistently proved valuable for prosecutors as they present cases to the court and jury. Her ability to find strengths and weaknesses in cases have been instrumental in obtaining convictions for the Office.
Michele is an asset to the Office. Her attorneys say that she is the glue that holds everything together. Michele is dedicated to ensuring that the Office functions smoothly as she provides excellent service to the residents of Pima County. Her dedication is apparent in her work as she ensures that victims’ property is returned to them when cases are completed. Michele always goes the extra mile to make sure that justice is served.
While Christina Moan is assigned to two attorneys in the Criminal Division, Fraud & Special Prosecution’s Section, she is always available to assist other AAGs and legal assistants.Christina takes great pride in assisting her attorneys with their cases. She requires minimal supervision and prioritizes and plans her work activities in a timely fashion. She is able to organize extensive discovery material and summarizes it, including creating a “Who’s Who” list which helps prosecutors assigned to the cases. She does not simply scan and redact the materials given to her. She reviews, understands, asks appropriate questions and discusses any potential issues or problems that she sees regarding the case with the prosecutor. Christina ensures that her duties are completed before her assigned attorney’s cases are scheduled for Grand Jury. Many of the cases are very voluminous and paper-intensive which requires long hours being spent redacting investigative reports and other documents for disclosure purposes. According to AAG Maura Quigley, “Christina is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and she does absolutely everything with a big smile and a great attitude. Christina was one of the first people I met on my first day at the AGO and I quickly learned that she is one of the most knowledgeable people in the office regarding just about everything. Whether an issue concerns a correct procedure to follow in court, who to contact at various outside agencies regarding pressing issues, or office policies in general, Christina is a resource that I began to rely upon very quickly.” Christina has distinguished herself as the "go-to" paralegal in the Fraud Section. She trains all new paralegals in scanning/redacting discovery, completing Rule 15.1 Disclosure Statements, saving documents into the document management system, grand jury processes and others pleadings and protocols that prove useful to assist paralegals to complete their assignments.
The La Paz County Attorney’s Office is nominating Kimberly Alvarez for the legal assistant spotlight. She has been with the La Paz County Attorney’s Office for only a short time but she has learned the “ins and outs” of the County Attorney’s office like no one before her.
Kimberly handles misdemeanor cases in two separate Justice Courts. She handles Veterans Court cases. She runs criminal history checks for felony cases. She maintains a very large caseload and does so with such ease, confidence and dedication. She always has a smile on her face and is willing to jump in and help with whatever is needed of her. She is a true team player and we are lucky to have her on our staff. She is a true professional.
Christy is a Legal Assistant with the Phoenix City Prosecutor’s Office, where she consistently delivers excellent work. Much of her concentration continues to lie in redacting victim identifying information from documents, audio recordings, and video recordings. Her expertise in technological challenges and solutions is definitely where she excels the most. She has learned two completely different programs to redact audio and video, how to convert videos and put them in a format that works for our computer system, which is a complicated and time consuming task. Additionally, she is responsible for ensuing all current and new Legal Assistants are trained on these critical job duties. Due to Christy's knowledge about the redaction process, she often assists other agencies as they look into obtaining and using redaction equipment and offers her written procedures to them. Christy is an integral member of the Prosecutor’s Office and is well deserving of the spotlight.
Melissa has been with the Coconino County Attorney’s Office for nearly five years and has consistently performed at a high level. However, her skills were truly put to the test this last year when she was tasked with overseeing the probation revocation court, supervising four new assistants, overseeing a jail call volunteer program, and working 6 homicide cases, including two complicated gang murder trials. The gang murder trials alone produced over 6500 pages of documentation, 125 media discs, and hundreds of trial exhibits. This last year, Melissa consistently worked through the weekends churning out high-level work product—organizing trial binders, preparing power point exhibits, and hounding gang witnesses to appear for trial. Many outside the office have seen Melissa’s good work and her assistance has been sought after by defense attorneys and expert witnesses alike. Melissa never entertains these offers, however, because her dedication to advancing prosecutorial work is unwavering.
Sonya is the Division’s newest Legal Secretary at the Tucson City Prosecutor's Office. Her current assignment is two-fold, as both secretary to the Division Head, Baird Greene, and as assistant to the clerical administrator of JustWare, the Division’s new electronic case management system. Sonya’s commitment to helping the Division embrace the future, update procedures, and increase effectiveness is visible on a daily basis. In just under a year, Sonya has converted the current correspondence and a significant portion of the archived correspondence to electronic only. She regularly assists staff in adapting to JustWare and is now reviewing support staff workflow with the goal of streamlining processes and realigning staff to enhance the effectiveness of the electronic case management system. Sonya demonstrates a fresh perspective and eagerness, applying both herself and the latest technology to her tasks. We are pleased to have her on our team.
Diane Dowd is a veteran Legal Services Specialist II with the Mesa City Prosecutor’s Office. She began working in the office nearly 30 years ago and has diligently and successfully performed each and every duty in the office. Diane is dependable, devoted and innovative, being instrumental in helping to design and implement many of the processes currently being used in the office, including the in-custody desk and long form desk. She is well-loved by everyone in the office as well as the court, which recently relayed that Diane starts every court session with “a big smile and an amazing attitude.” Diane’s work is thorough and accurate, and she treats every fellow employee with respect and professionalism. Her great attitude and continuous devotion to the Mesa City Prosecutor’s Office makes her an ideal choice for the APAAC Legal Assistant Spotlight!
Rachel Bustamante has been with the Santa Cruz County Attorney’s Office for five years. She began her career as receptionist where she quickly gained respect and appreciation from her fellow colleagues. She began to learn the legal field, and in a short time was promoted to office assistant. Her diligence, intelligence, and hard work ethic became apparent to her supervisors, and she was then promoted to legal assistant. Rachel is currently responsible for the narcotics caseload, one of the busiest caseloads in the office. She has proven to be a vital member of our legal assistant team. We are honored to shine this month’s spotlight on Rachel for a well-deserved recognition.