AZ Justice? Short time for major crime

June 15, 2015

As Americans await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on same-sex marriage, Obamacare,  Arizona’s challenge to the so-called “independent” congressional redistricting commission and other issues under consideration, Valley residents can ponder the odd sentence handed down closer to home last week by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Welty.

Vrouyr Manoukian, a cocky 24-year old who reportedly entered the courtroom smiling and waving at his family, killed his roommate Matthew McMaster, 24, in July 2013. According to this news report, McMaster died of blunt-force trauma to his head. His body was set on fire and dumped in the desert.

Manoukian was convicted of negligent homicide and abandonment of a body. While awaiting trial, he was jailed for 740 days. That time will count toward his paltry 4 ½ year sentence —- giving him roughly 2 ½ more years in prison.

Judge Welty determined  the aggravating factors in the case were the harm done to McMaster’s family, the fact that another roommate, Randall Lee Young, acted as an accomplice, and the evidence that McMaster’s body was dumped and burned beyond recognition. Young, who has an extensive criminal history, was charged with a probation-only offense.

The mitigating factors? Manoukian’s lack of criminal history, his “sniffling” display of remorse, and his acceptance of responsibility for his actions.

Welty was appointed to the bench in 2007 by Gov. Janet Napolitano.


Sheriff Arpaio makes nat’l news for speaking truth

June 8, 2015

Sunday’s edition of The Drudge Report headlined this WND report detailing an interview with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

During the interview on the “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast heard on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM, Sheriff Arpaio said Democrats are mostly interested in immigration reform because the newly legalized residents will eventually obtain voting rights and will vote for Democrats.

“That’s common sense,” said Arpaio. “I don’t think that’s something that nobody knows. You make them here legally so they can vote.”

WND reported last year Eliseo Medina, a former immigration adviser to Barack Obama, boasted in 2009 that granting citizenship to millions of illegal aliens would expand the “progressive” electorate and help ensure a “progressive” governing coalition for the long-term.

Medina is the current secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. During Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Medina and Jeff Flake’s radical leftwing pal, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, served on Obama’s National Latino Advisory Council.

During the radio interview, Arpaio urged Republican president candidates to discuss the issue of drug trafficking when talking about border security.

Arpaio, whose office deals with criminality and runs the county jails, addressed the illegal drugs flooding into the U.S. from Mexico, saying “Ninety-nine percent” of those arrested for bringing drugs into Maricopa County, Arizona are illegal aliens.”

 “Everyone talks about immigration. What about the drugs destroying our young people? Heroin is increasing. So if I were advising the (Republican) candidates, I’m sure they will be calling me even though I’m taking heat again, I’d say start talking about the drug problem coming from Mexico. Forget just the illegal immigration. Put it together. There is a combination of both problems. That’s what I would talk about.”

Sheriff Arpaio asked, “Where’s the president? How come he is not talking about the drugs coming across the border?”

This U.S. Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center Report, is five years old. The deplorable statistics have not improved in the intervening years, as drug cartels and gangs have become even more emboldened. Read  Sect.2:11  (17 of 20) under the heading “Phoenix” for a more complete snapshot of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations or DTO’s.

At the time of the report’s release, authorities estimated that there were more than 10,000 gang members in the Phoenix metropolitan area. It stated, “Much of the violent crime and property crime in Phoenix is drug-and/or gang-related.”

In addition to Phoenix, Maricopa County —- one of the nation’s largest counties —- encompasses numerous other cities.


Dog death: Double standard or equal treatment to Flake case?

June 1, 2015

Last week a 31-year-old Phoenix man who had temporary responsiblity for the care of his recently deceased brother’s dog was arrested for allowing the pet to dehydrate and ultimately die. The dog was caged outdoors and succumbed to heat related dehydration, according to a veterinarian’s post mortem examination.

The man told officers he had given the female pug food and water when he came home during his lunch break. When he returned later that day the dog was dead. He was arrested on a charge of animal cruelty and subsequently posted bond. His initial court appearance is set for Thursday, June 4.

He is not related to any politicians. 

Will he be treated in a similar manner to U.S. Senator Jeff Flake’s son Austin, and daughter-in-law Logan, who were solely responsible for the agonizing heat related deaths of nearly two dozen family pets entrusted to their care at Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert? The pets were crammed into a small room overnight without food, water or air-conditioning. As the horrific situation unfolded, numerous lies were told to the pet owners.

The now closed facility, advertised as “cage free,” was owned by Logan Flake’s vacationing mother and step-father. That appalling incident took place just a year ago this month. Both couples were indicted by a Maricopa County Grand Jury. Defendants Austin and Logan Flake were each charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, Logan Flake‘s parents were also charged.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who saw his future political ambitions evaporating before his eyes, diddled and dawdled over this problematic case, finally dismissing all 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty against Austin and Logan. To express their gratitude, they’re now suing the taxpayers of Maricopa County seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted and their sterling characters were besmirched by the investigation. 

Will the Phoenix man caring for his brother’s pet get the same kid glove treatment if his case is forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney?


It’s time to stand with Sheriff Joe

May 28, 2015

When it comes to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, facts are incidental to AZ Republic reporters

The Periódico de la República de Arizona (Arizona Republic)  contrives any opportunity in its attempt to topple career law enforcement professional Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The usual cued-up team goes into overdrive on command. There are the contemptible editorials passing themselves off as news reports, partnered with the actual editorials that are coordinated with the vicious rants from columnists, accompanied by the constant onslaught of derisive cartoons. Editorial writer Linda Valdez, leftist extraordinaire, jumps in with what were previously and correctly called “Quick Hits.” The recipients of her barrage need Kevlar protection.

The coordinated effort among the newspaper’s few remaining staffers doesn’t miss a trick in attempting to skew the sheriff. The República is stridently pro-amnesty, open borders and supports in-state tuition for foreign nationals. Multi-page sob stories bolstering illegals are its stock in trade.

Recently the daily weighed in with yet another article mocking Sheriff Arpaio. Though brief, the intent was to slam him for asking his supporters for financial help. The smug reporters once again were unable to get their facts straight, even misspelling the name of his longtime campaign spokesman.

Sheriff Arpaio writes of incurring legal bills, and often having to personally pay for attorneys to represent him in these cases. “I do not have the personal wealth or the wherewithal to keep up with the costly demands of paying for attorneys to defend me.” He affirms his intent “to keep fighting for what I know is right. I took an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution and I will keep that oath until my last breath.” 

Arpaio has become the eye of the storm for addressing the crisis of illegal immigration. For his efforts, he has paid dearly as the ACLU, advocacy groups representing illegals and left-leaning federal judges have gone after him. His legal costs continue to escalate. He has also committed to running for another term, writing, “It’s going to take a lot of resources to combat the attacks and false allegations against me and my deputies. We anticipate the hardest campaign in Maricopa County history to remove me due to my unyielding stance on upholding the Rule of Law.”

He needs our support now more than ever.  His legal defense fund can be accessed here. His 2016 reelection fund is here. Give what you can.  We need this good man to continue to serve the citizens of Maricopa County.


Grand Jury reinstates charges in dog deaths: Flakes excluded

May 7, 2015

Did prosecutor present sculpted facts to new Grand Jury omitting the actual responsible parties?

Hear that prolonged “phew” resonating across the Valley? That’s Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery breathing a deep sigh of relief after a County Grand Jury reinstated animal cruelty charges against the owners of Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert in connection with the agonizing heat related suffocation deaths of nearly two dozen dogs that occurred during the searing summer heat of June 2014.

Todd Hughes, 32, and MaLeisa Hughes, 45, owners of the kennel each face 21 Class 6 felony counts and 7 Class 1 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Both also face one Class 2 felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

The couple was vacationing in Florida when the deaths occurred last June. They are the expendable mother and stepfather of Logan Flake —- wife of Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin —- who were actually in charge of the facility when the dogs were crammed into a small laundry room overnight without air-conditioning, food or water.

Charging the Flakes is what gave Montgomery heartburn. So just before Christmas 2014, when he thought few were paying attention, Montgomery dismissed all felony and misdemeanor charges against Jeff Flake’s son and daughter-in-law. A single fraud charge remained against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes.

It was clear from the June 20 onset, when the dead and dying dogs were found, Bill Montgomery was loath to touch this case. He dillied and dallied, even after Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s extensive three-month examination of facts which included veterinarian performed necropsies. The sheriff’s office recommended numerous felony charges of animal neglect and cruelty in connection with the horrific abuse of the pets. The dogs suffered excruciating pain before dying. When the Flakes found them the next morning, they neglected to even call a veterinarian to aid the not yet dead pets, which they callously hosed down in a vain attempt to cool them. The dead dogs were carted off to a shed where they were stacked like cordwood.

As we noted last September in the post, “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place,” the politically ambitious Montgomery, who endorsed Jeff Flake in his senate race, has career aspirations that are rumored to include the state’s second senate seat, when McCain finally moves on. Obviously how he chose to handle this widely scrutinized case could have had devastating consequences for his ambitions.

This is the latest news release announcing the reinstatement of charges against the Hugheses.  Notice the tempered wording of this May 6 announcement as Montgomery refers to the dead pets as “beloved animals.”  Previously at a Sept. 10, 2014  press conference Montgomery exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners as he provided insight as to his bent. “This isn’t to cheapen or minimize the loss of the pets to the families,” Montgomery said. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.”

Without the weight of an indictment, Austin and Logan Flake have moved on. Now that Montgomery has dropped all felony charges against them, they’re suing Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their sterling characters were ruined by this investigation. 

Maricopa County taxpayers should prepare to dig deep for this legal escapade by two marginal Flakes. Since the lawsuit against the county specifically names Sheriff Arpaio, the daily fish wrap will serve as lead cheerleader as these lightweights attempt to get rich on our backs and the carcasses of the dogs they allowed to suffer and die.

This post, “Bill Montgomery sets Flakes loose on county taxpayers” includes additional background.


Bill Montgomery sets Flakes loose on county taxpayers

February 21, 2015

Imagine you’re Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Com’on, you can do it.  You’re full of political vim and aspiration and like a good establishment soldier dutifully await a greater opportunity. The U.S. Senate sounds good. But dang! That old goat McCain is making noises about running again. He’ll be 79 in August and a six-year term would place him at a gnarly 85. Not only will the youthful glow also be off Montgomery’s rose, but playing well with that Flake family is not bringing the hoped for returns.

Rather than repeat the gruesome facts of the case involving Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin and daughter-in-law Logan along with her parents Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, and its potential to derail Montgomery‘s ambition, read Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time.

Now that Montgomery has dropped all felony charges against Austin and Logan they’re suing Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their characters were ruined by this investigation. 

“The Sheriff has a long history of bringing cases for publicity.  This case to him had everything.  It had publicity, it had a politician’s son, it had pets and the one thing it didn’t have was probable cause,” claimed lawyer Jack Wilenchik. His law partner father Dennis Wilenchik, previously represented Arpaio and cozily lists the “Maricopa County Attorney” as a client.

The Wilenchik’s, publicity seekers extraordinaire, were singing a different tune —- “Vamos Jose!” (Let’s Go, Joe!) —- with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in happier times, as they interviewed him about the “latest county news” on their podcast radio show.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a champion of animals, who has had an Animal Crimes Investigations Unit as part of his office for over a decade forwarded twenty-one charges of animal neglect and cruelty to Montgomery, recommending numerous felony charges of animal neglect and cruelty in connection with horrific abuse resulting in the deaths of nearly two dozen family pets.

On Oct. 15, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted both couples. At the time, Montgomery solemnly stated, “Today’s indictment is the result of a thorough review of the extensive investigation into this incident and a decision to seek charges based on objective facts. We now look forward to the next step in seeing that justice is served in this case,” he said. But God knows he wanted the hot potato to go away.

If these marginal Flakes are successful in their outrageous lawsuit, Maricopa County taxpayers will be the ones paying out millions, and that includes the families who lost their beloved pets to the Flake’s obscene neglect.

It was clear from the June 20 onset, when the dead and dying family pets were found, Bill Montgomery was loath to touch this case.  He finally dropped it Dec. 22, 2014.

Background on this case can be read in these links:

Dec. 24, 2014:  Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time

Dec. 13, 2014: Flake kin beg for cash to aid in dead dog defense

Nov. 14, 2014: Austin, Logan Flake plead not guilty in dog deaths

Oct. 16, 2014: Indicted! Austin & Logan Flake, Todd & MaLeisa Hughes

Oct. 13, 2014: Bill Montgomery: Focus of daily’s sarcastic jab remains inert

Sept. 29, 2014: Still awaiting Montgomery’s Flake decision

Sept. 19, 2014: Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place

July 17, 2014: 21 dead dogs inconsequential as Flake connection gets cover-up

June 27, 2014: AZ Republic uses dead dogs to bash Arpaio, give pass to Flake & Update


Bill Montgomery slams victims of Flake’s deadly negligence

January 15, 2015

Nearly two dozen dead dogs — and now their owners —- kicked to the curb by ambitious Maricopa County Attorney

In an obviously benevolent mood just days before Christmas, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery dismissed charges of animal cruelty against the caretakers at Green Acre Boarding Facility. It was in the unrelenting swelter of late June when twenty-three dogs suffered horrific, heat-related suffocation deaths at the kennel. The dogs were crammed in a small laundry room overnight without air conditioning, food or water.

Montgomery’s December media release was awash with legal double talk as he struggled to defend the indefensible.

Fast forward to last week when Montgomery, the suddenly publicity-shy county attorney cancelled his scheduled meeting with representatives of the larger group of pet owners and their attorney, John Schill —- reportedly due to media hype surrounding the meeting. Montgomery’s office has yet to release a statement on the abrupt cancellation. The owners were expecting to meet with him to discuss his decision to dismiss the animal cruelty charges against the owners and caretakers of the boarding facility.

But don’t mistake his reticence. It was merely the calm before the storm that he exhibited in a press conference in which he snarled at the families who lost their beloved dogs.

“This is just an effort to further their civil suit and identify deep pockets. I’m not going to contribute to that kind of hysteria,” Montgomery huffed. “They’re parading children in front of cameras with framed pictures of their pets, I don’t see that in gruesome criminal cases.” He added, “If my goal was to pander to a particular group of people, or pander to a particular group of victims, it would be very easy to sit back and let a court tell us what to do,” said Montgomery. 

He was no doubt referring to the October 15, 2014 indictment handed down by a Maricopa County Grand Jury.

Keep in mind these were not just run-of-the-mill defendants. Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, were each originally charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals —- now all dropped. Only a single count of fraud remains against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, Logan Flake‘s parents. The Hughes were vacationing and left the incompetent Flake’s in charge of their home-based pet boarding business.

The politically ambitious Bill Montgomery is cunning but still exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners as he provided insight as to his bent during a Sept. 10 press conference. “This isn’t to cheapen or minimize the loss of the pets to the families,” Montgomery said at the time. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.”

In September we prophetically posted “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place.”  We were right then.

We were correct again when, for the first time since the June 2007 launch of Seeing Red AZ we were moved to use the term, “what a load of horse pucky,” in “Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time.” In that post we pointed out the negative impact bringing this case to trial would have on Montgomery’s lofty political aspirations. He will deflect and obfuscate, but don’t expect integrity.


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