After seven years as head of the criminal division of the Pima County Attorney's Office, David Berkman is stepping down.

Berkman's last day as chief criminal deputy county attorney will be July 29. After that, he will work three days a week prosecuting people accused of misdemeanors in Green Valley and Sahuarita.

Although he's not quite ready to retire, Berkman, 63, said he feels it is the "right time" to leave the position.

As he looks back, Berkman said, he knows he is leaving an office filled with ethical, professional and competent attorneys and it would make him happy to know he played some part in that. Berkman "distinguished" himself because he did exactly that, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said.

She is in the process of selecting Berkman's replacement.

"I'm always looking for someone with new and fresh ideas, but I also want to make sure I bring in someone with some of the same qualities as David," LaWall said.

Over the years she came to rely on Berkman's "careful, thoughtful decision-making," LaWall said.

Berkman is replacing Clint Stinson, who retired as the sole prosecutor in the Green Valley office, LaWall said.

Berkman graduated from the UA College of Law in 1974 and later joined the office as a prosecutor. He tried more than 100 felony jury cases, including murder. He then transferred to the civil unit, where he defended the county in civil lawsuits.

Berkman worked at a private law firm for about six years before returning to the office in 2000.

He worked in the civil division's tort litigation unit until his promotion in January 2004.

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or