Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Criminal Charges Go Up in Smoke in Townhomes Investigation

The state Attorney General announced yesterday (Nov 21, 2011) that criminal charges were no longer being pursued against Phoeniz Police Officers Aaron Lentz, Steven Peck and Ben Sywarungsymun in connection with the Cotton Center Townhomes investigation.  PLEA has supported all of the officers involved in not only the criminal but the internal investigatiions from the outset.  It was readily apparent from the begining that the criminal investigation was extremely flawed and weak on its face.  It was also painfully obvious that the involved officers were the victims of a flawed and abusive Grand Jury process.

In granting a motion to remand for a new Grand Jury proceeding on July 29, 2011, Superior Court Judge Judge Karen O’Conner took exception to the manner in which the case was presented to the Grand Jury when she stated:

“The State’s witness should not use legal phrases such as “probable cause” when describing her analysis or calculations. Further, the witness should not couch her numbers with phrases like ‘giving them the benefit of the doubt’. When presenting her testimony, the Grand Jurors should only be told of the facts: the numbers calculated and the basis for the numbers. In addition, the State is cautioned to present only factually accurate evidence throughout the entire Grand Jury presentation.”

CLICK HERE to read the original remand order authored by Judge O’Conner.