Innovator of synthetic drug public nuisance law honored
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk announced that Deputy County Attorney Scott Blake was awarded the Arizona Outstanding Felony Prosecutor Award at the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council Summer Conference.
In addition, Deputy County Attorney Tanaaz Wheeler was awarded the Arizona Outstanding Juvenile Prosecutor Award and Deputy County Attorney Rachel Heintz was awarded the Arizona Prosecutor Rising Star Award.
This past year, Scott Blake demonstrated his ingenuity and resourcefulness in a way that has made Yavapai County a safer place. When confronted with the ever-changing molecular structures of "spice" and "bath salts," that manufacturers to skate around Arizona's laws prohibiting dangerous synthetic drugs, Scott devised a unique approach using the public nuisance abatement statute. Thanks to Scott's creative and enterprising way of thinking, the Yavapai County Attorney's Office was able to obtain Temporary Restraining Orders, Preliminary Injunctions, and in December 2012, Permanent Injunctions against the sellers of "spice" and "bath salts" in Yavapai County.
Scott worked hard to interview and obtain affidavits from over one hundred community members elucidating for the court the incredible harm caused by the synthetic drugs.
In commenting Blake's excellent work over the past year, Polk stated, "As you can see, Scott's outside-the-box approach was absolutely crucial in containing the incipient epidemic in Yavapai County of spice and bath salts. I firmly believe that Scott's creativity as a prosecutor made Yavapai County a state-wide and national leader in addressing the dangers of synthetic drugs, and that one can draw a straight line from Scott's ingenuity to Arizona's recent enactment of tough new controls on synthetic drugs. Scott's resourcefulness and leadership resulted in enormous benefit to the public health and safety not only in Yavapai County but all of Arizona, and is exactly the kind of outstanding effort that made him the Outstanding Felony Prosecutor of the Year."
Tanaaz Wheeler ably handles a heavy caseload consisting of approximately half of all of the juvenile delinquency cases filed in Yavapai County. In addition, Tanaaz reviews and makes charging decisions on approximately half of the juvenile referrals submitted by law enforcement agencies for review, handles juvenile appeals in the Arizona Court of Appeals, and prosecutes misdemeanors in the Seligman Justice Court.
In February of 2012, Rachel Heintz joined the Yavapai County Attorney's Office as an entry level prosecutor. Assigned to prosecute misdemeanor criminal offenses in three justice courts, Rachel rose to the assignment with zeal and initiative. Within less than a year, Rachel was moved to a felony position where she continues to excel