Charges against Austin and Logan Flake to be Dismissed: Indictments Obtained by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office under False Pretenses

PHOENIX, Ariz. (DECEMBER 22, 2014) – all of the charges against Austin and Logan Flake, including 21 felony charges, will be dismissed, according to statements made by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The Flakes previously filed Motions to Remand and Dismiss the charges on the grounds that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office misled the grand jury into issuing them.

The Flakes’ attorney, Dennis Wilenchik, stated: “Our clients, Austin and Logan Flake, wish to express their continuing sympathy for owners of the dogs that passed away at the Green Acre dog facility in June, but also their sincere gratitude at the ultimate courage and integrity of our justice system, and our County Attorney, who took the time to reconsider and review the matter, in light of our Motion to Remand, and the unassailable facts laid out in it.”

“The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was ethically obligated to dismiss these charges,” said Mr. Wilenchik. “Prosecutors have a special responsibility to dismiss charges that are not supported by probable cause, and not to bring them again. There was never any probable cause for these charges, and nothing will ever change that,” Mr. Wilenchik said. “This case never should have been brought in the first place, and we expect that after any further review the County Attorney will not find additional evidence to support bringing charges again. What Mr. Montgomery did was the right thing to do, and he did what the law and his ethical duties required of him.”

“I have said since day one that this was a tragic accident, and that the Flakes never intended to harm these animals,” Mr. Wilenchik said. “The Sheriff’s own investigator had determined that the air conditioning accidentally went down in the middle of the night, and the electrical records that they had clearly showed that. But instead of telling this to the grand jury, a detective from the Sheriff’s Office falsely testified that they had determined that the air conditioner was working fine, and that the records did not show the unit shutting down,” Mr. Wilenchik added.

“The consequences to my clients have been severe,” Mr. Wilenchik concluded. “This is not the way that law enforcement is supposed to work.”

Responding to the Sheriff’s statements that “charges will be re-filed”[1] in the “Green Acres” investigation, attorneys for Austin and Logan Flake say that the Sheriff’s statements are part of a pattern.

Attorneys Dennis Wilenchik and Jack Wilenchik compared the case to the Sheriff’s 1998 investigation of Wayne Bates, a mailman whom the Sheriff accused of animal cruelty for using pepper-spray on an aggressive dog. In his ”tell all” book,[2] former MCSO Deputy Chief Brian Sands writes that Arpaio ordered that Bates be arrested, even though it was determined that no crime was committed. Arpaio also alerted the media and incited public “outrage” toward Bates, according to Sands. The county attorney at the time, Rick Romley, dropped the case, because there was no evidence that Bates intended to hurt the animal unnecessarily. According to Sands:

“[Arpaio] enacted a campaign to establish more evidence and refile the case. It had been dropped because of the inability to establish intent. It was difficult, in this instance, to prove otherwise. Arpaio obsessively demanded, ‘When are you going to solve this and make a case?’”

Sands says that Arpaio had the idea to do costly additional testing to prove that the mailman had used his pepper spray, even though the mailman had already admitted to using it. The costly testing was done, according to Sands, and it “pleased the animal rights advocates,” but the case “went no further.” Bates later sued the county for wrongful arrest and received a $15,000 settlement.

Sands also claims that Arpaio never had any genuine interest in pets or much knowledge about them—and that Arpaio confessed to Sands that “the aggressive animal rights image he [Arpaio] developed was a political goldmine.” “His reputation [on animal rights] had brought a number of Democrats into his Republican base,” Sands writes. “I heard people say they were against Arpaio but because he defended animals he had their vote. There was a steady stream of animal rights affiliates who visited Arpaio’s office.”

Sands claims that Arpaio never even owned a dog, and that one day, Sands suggested to Arpaio that “it would be good public relations for him [Arpaio] to adopt” a dog. Sands claims that Arpaio then told Sands “flatly” to “shut up.”

[1] The statements were made in a pre-taped Youtube video posted online.

[2] All quotes taken from “Arpaio De Facto Lawman: Second Edition” by Brian Sands, Chapter Two, available at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PX9T5UO/ref=docs-os-doi_0.

12-22-14 Press Release – Charges against Austin and Logan Flake to be Dismissed

12-24-14 Press Release re Arpaio’s Statements

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