Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office awarded outstanding attorneys and staff during its Annual Luncheon held in March. Attendees also enjoyed a keynote presentation by Fred Veil, executive director of the Sharlot Hall Museum, who regaled the audience with the history of the county and some law and order tales of the early days.
County Attorney Sheila Polk expressed her appreciation to the office during the luncheon. “I wake up every morning feeling incredibly lucky to work with each and every one of you,” she said. “It is because of your hard work, dedication to public safety, and great attitudes that Yavapai County is a wonderful place to live and work.”
Administrative Professional of the Year
This award recognizes an administrative professional who demonstrates exceptional dedication toward achieving the goals of the office. Amy Christman joined the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office in June 2013 after spending 12 years with the Maricopa County Office of the Legal Advocate. She moved to Yavapai County with her husband and children for a better quality of life. She is currently assigned to the Office’s Charging Bureau where the pace is fast and the cases are plentiful. Amy is quick to help others in the office and is willing to speak up if there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Her “no nonsense” approach, her organizational skills, and her eagerness to be a team player illustrate why she is this year’s award winner.
Appellate Advocacy Award
This year’s Appellate Advocacy Award was given collectively to the office’s five paralegals—Kathy Durrer, Rhonda Grubb, Jeanie Mikels, Rachel Pearson and Alisha Showman—who all have excellent research and writing skills. A typical day might include reviewing, organizing, and disclosing thousands of pages of reports and evidence on a homicide case, researching complex legal issues and drafting pleadings, or responding to suppression motions or Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) pleadings. These paralegals are often involved in crafting an attorney’s well-reasoned oral argument, whether for a local court hearing or an appeal at the Arizona Supreme Court. Their work over the past year has been exemplary, and we are proud to recognize their work, both individually and as a team.
Excellence in Victim Advocacy Award
This award is a tribute to a prosecutor who exemplifies extraordinary talent to serving public safety and is a strong and effective voice for crime victims. Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Ethan Wolfinger has been a prosecutor in Yavapai County for 30 years. He is a caring, compassionate prosecutor who strives for justice for the victims of the crimes he prosecutes. No matter the crime, Ethan makes sure to learn about the impact on the victims and does his best to seek justice on their behalf. It is not unusual to learn that Ethan has traveled to reach out to out-of-county victims to encourage their participation in the criminal justice system or to simply assist with their recovery. Given the length of Ethan’s career and the depth of compassion, there are, no doubt, countless victims who, to this day, remember the crucial role Ethan played in helping them get through a difficult time in their lives.
This award recognizes a series of outstanding prosecutorial accomplishments in the past year, which demonstrate a prosecutor’s exceptional advocacy. Mike McGill has been a prosecutor in the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office for almost seven years, during which time he has become one of the office’s “heavy hitters.” To turn a phrase borrowed from Yogi Berra, 90% of success at trial is preparation; the other half transpires in the courtroom. Mike’s success in the courtroom comes from his preparation, his passion, his work to build rapport with victims, and his outstanding trial skills. This past year Mike has tried a number of serious felony cases that demonstrate his exceptional performance as a felony prosecutor, including several complex cases of sexual molestation of minor children.
Legal Assistant of the Year
This award, given to Rachel Pearson, recognizes a Legal Assistant who has demonstrated consistent, outstanding performance. Rachel’s expert knowledge and use of law office technology, along with her excellent customer service and analytical skills, make her a truly invaluable member of our team. Rachel has been a key member of the team that was responsible for rolling out our new case management system, Prosecutor by Karpel (“PBK”). During 2017, she has performed exceptional work by assisting users in utilizing PBK to automate outdated manual processes and providing guidance to continuously improve office tasks. Rachel has been instrumental in developing the attorney PBK user procedures and training manuals and providing office-wide training on the various software modules and functionality.
Lifetime Achievement Award
This award recognizes a public prosecutor whose career exemplifies the highest standards of integrity, dedication to public safety, and commitment to justice. Sue Eazer is a hard-charging, fair prosecutor with impeccable ethics and a profound commitment to justice. Her career as a prosecutor in Arizona spans more than 27 years. Her energy never seems to ebb as she tirelessly handles a very heavy caseload of serious felonies, providing exceptional support and service to victims of crime. She has tried more than 200 serious felony jury trials including numerous capital cases, child molestations, elder financial fraud and other homicides. As prosecutors, we never know what impression—and difference—we make in a person’s life while striving to achieve justice. Arizonans are fortunate that Sue recognized her calling and has dedicated her life to serving as a career prosecutor.
Misdemeanor Prosecutor Award
This award is designed to recognize the extraordinary achievement of an Misdemeanor Prosecutor. Larissa Parker is a prosecutor in the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office who is assigned to our busiest justice court in the Verde Valley District. She expertly manages a very large caseload and has developed a reputation for being tenacious and fair when working with both pro per and represented defendants. In 2017, she successfully prosecuted a case of animal abuse involving a Great Dane named “Demon” who had been deliberately abused and neglected by his owner out of anger toward the owner’s ex-husband. After a trial that included testimony from veterinary, law enforcement, and lay witnesses, the defendant was convicted of two counts of animal cruelty. Today, the dog has been renamed “Lightfoot,” is in good health, and lives in a loving home. Victims, whether people or animals, are in good hands with Larissa. She exemplifies everything a prosecutor should be, and treats every single case as an important case.
Rising Star of the Year
This award recognizes a rising star prosecutor with a maximum of three years prosecution experience, who has demonstrated a passion for seeking justice, an outstanding work ethic, and exceptional raw legal skill. Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Lewis Citrenbaum graduated with honors from Georgetown University School of Law in 2014 and joined our office in June of 2015 as a newly sworn prosecutor. Lewis truly cares about the people he serves, works hard to do the right thing, does so without complaint, and is tenacious in his pursuit of justice. He is a rising star with a successful career as a prosecutor in his future.
Victim Advocate of the Year
This award recognizes a Victim Advocate who has demonstrated and provided exceptional support and service on behalf of crime victims. Tammy Brough joined the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office in July 2013 as a Victim Advocate assigned to handle restitution. During the past four and one-half years, Tammy has provided exceptional service to the victims of crime in Yavapai County. Tammy has a passion for serving victims and helps to ensure that they are fully compensated for the financial loss they suffered as a result of criminal activity. She strives for excellence in this area and does not fall short. The victims in Yavapai County are lucky Tammy is on the case as she goes above and beyond to recover their financial losses.