A Conviction Integrity Unit that has seen dozens of exonerations across the nation is now in effect in Pima County.Established locally on Oct. 1 under Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, the unit is designed to prevent wrongful convictions from occurring, and also to reinvestigate cases that present with meaningful claims of innocence. In similar programs run across the country, a unit in Dallas has seen 33 exonerations, one in Santa Clara County, Calif. has seen five, and a unit in Manhattan has vacated three convictions.Units also exist in Baltimore, Chicago, and Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Rick Unklesbay, deputy county attorney, will head the program. Unklesbay said the mission of the program is to “seek justice in every case that is prosecuted.”“We started it because for years, decades really, we’ve looked at cases when someone has asked but the cases would just be randomly assigned around the office. We decided to establish the unit so these inquiries can be handled in a central unit,” he said.
Marana residents need look no further than their own backyard for this year’s fall festivities and fun. Coming back with delicious food, pumpkin picking, a corn maze and more is the Annual Marana Pumpkin Patch and Farm Festival.This is the fourth year in a row that town of Marana councilmember Jon Post has hosted the event. The festival, which will run from Oct. 4 to Nov. 2, has enough fun, food and activities for the entire family. Admission is $10 per person, Monday-Thursday, and $12 per person, Friday-Sunday. Children who are less than 30 inches can get in for free.Returning from last year is the corn maze, straw slide, train and peddle cart rides, kid’s zone, petting zoo and the jumping pillows, which serves as a trampoline for children. Not included in the admission are a zip line ride, pony ride and pumpkin cannon shooting. Also included is a variety of food such as pizza, nachos, cheeseburgers, pork sandwiches and more. Nightly food specials will also be available for families. Weekends, which include Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, will offer breakfast at 9 a.m. Later on into the evening, families can enjoy a spaghetti meal on Monday nights or a steak dinner on Friday nights. Food is not free.Initially, Post wanted to put together a fall festival because he thought it would be a “fun thing for families to be able to come to”. The first year had a good turnout and over the next few years, the festival attracted more families far and wide throughout Tucson.“Sounded like something really fun to do. I thought I could do a good job so I tried it,” said Post. “It’s been a very popular event. The event gives people the fall festival feeling. The feeling of going to a farm that is fun and where a family can enjoy spending time together.”