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Malena Acosta

Chief Prosecutor

Pascua Yaqui Tribe


Malena graduated from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law and began working at the Pima County Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor. She spent over 18 years prosecuting cases from minor misdemeanor offenses to homicides. She became a Supervisor and eventually was appointed Operations Bureau Chief in 2017. In that position she oversaw charging attorneys, felony and drug diversion programs and was legal advisor to three Grand Juries. Besides supervisory responsibilities, she also carried a regular trial caseload of major crimes cases.

During her time with Pima County, Malena conducted training for prosecutors and local law enforcement officers, including new detectives. She also coordinated the local Arson and Explosives task force and trained statewide arson investigators from police and fire departments.

Currently Chief Prosecutor for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Malena manages four other attorneys, three lay advocates and staff. The Prosecutor’s Office provides non-prosecution programming, such as Diversion and Healing to Wellness Court, as alternatives to incarceration. The tribal attorneys not only participate in the SAUSA program with the US Attorney’s Office, they are also sworn Special Deputy County Attorneys with the Pima County Attorney. Malena has been Chief Prosecutor since May 2021.

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