LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nye County District Attorney’s Office has denied a request to prosecute a case against two Nye County Sheriff’s Department (NCSO) supervisors, officials said on Wednesday.
The case involved a dispute over a non-work-related Facebook politics page that was run by NCSO Capt. David Boruchowitz, Lt. Adam Tippetts and Sgt. Cory Fowles, according to the DA’s office. Tippetts and Fowles were accused of shutting Boruchowitz out of the page.
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly had asked the DA’s office to prosecute the officers under Nevada laws about conspiracy and computer activity.
“After carefully looking at the allegations and relevant laws, and personally reviewing the legislative history of the relevant laws, I can say with complete certainty that the allegations here are clearly not a criminal matter,” Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia said.
“The laws at issue are meant to protect against things like serious financial fraud/theft, industrial espionage, and blocking people from computer systems or networks. These laws are not meant to resolve private disputes among people running a Facebook page,” Arabia said in the release.
The sheriff’s department said Wednesday the matter has been dropped and Tippetts and Fowles have been authorized to return to work.
Arabia also took exception to the time spent on the matter:
“I’m also concerned that there were 9 pages of written text summarizing the investigation in the police report referred to us for this matter, but my office has had reports referred to us from NCSO for sexual assault cases that have only 1-2 pages of written text summarizing the investigation,” the release said.
Descriptions of the allegations were initially described to the public only as violations of three Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) — with no hint about the circumstances surrounding the allegations.
When pressed on Tuesday for a simple description of the circumstances, the sheriff’s department said only that no further information would be released that day.
The allegations included conspiracy and violations of two statutes related to computer activity, leaving a lot of room for public speculation about what actually happened:
- NRS 199.480: Conspiracy
- NRS 205.4765: Unlawful acts regarding computers (a property crime)
- NRS 205.477: Unlawful acts relating to interference with the use of computers, systems, and networks
The sheriff’s office cast its actions as “transparent” in a Facebook post earlier Wednesday.
“Although we have taken some criticism in the media for our release our office is one of transparency regarding our officers’ conduct,” the post said.
The post continued, “In this case, two supervisors were accused of crimes and an investigator determined there was probable cause to submit the case for prosecution. The standard of probable cause is the lowest level of proof required in the criminal justice system. As a precaution when probable cause is determined to exist officers are placed on administrative leave, as is customary in all agencies across the nation.”
It added, “A press release was published in the interest of transparency regarding the alleged conduct of our officers.”