Government dismisses charges against sheriff
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed a motion to dismiss the pending indictment in United States v. Larry C. Deen and Clifton and Clinton Blakey, a former sheriff and used car dealers. The defendants were indicted for criminal conspiracy and federal program theft. United States District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote will rule on the motion.
The trial date was set for August 15, 2016. On June 16, 2016, as the Government was preparing for the trial, a key Government witness died unexpectedly. The Government reassessed the remaining admissible evidence in the case and made a determination that there was sufficient proof to proceed to trial. However, on August 4, 2016, a second key Government witness retracted previous statements made during the course of the investigation. In light of the witness developments, the Government believes that its ability to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt has been seriously jeopardized.
United States Attorney Stephanie Finley stated: “I have authorized the prosecutors in this case to seek dismissal of the pending charges based on evidentiary developments in this case. The untimely death of a significant government witness and the change of testimony by a second witness has called into question our ability to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. I am mindful of our obligation to continually assess the evidence in our possession in light of our burden of proof, and to ensure that the interests of justice are met.”