Maricopa County making policy changes for gun violence cases

September 1, 2022 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — In an effort to reduce gun violence, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is making some policy changes to hold criminals more accountable.

Beginning Friday, prosecutors in the state’s largest county will have to offer plea deals to defendants that include a prison sentence if their crime involved the use of a firearm.

The firearm had to be actively used to facilitate a crime and the policy won’t apply to defendants who were simply in possession of a gun when the crime was committed.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said her office received submittals for 16 homicide cases within a 10-day period last month and 15 of those cases involved a gun.

“Keeping families and businesses safe is a priority for my office and this begins by holding dangerous offenders accountable,” Mitchell said in a statement Thursday. “The revision to our plea policies recognizes that these crimes will not be tolerated in Maricopa County.”