HOLBROOK—Local chiropractor Kenly Ries has been indicted anew with three new felony DUI-related crimes in the Navajo County Superior Court.
It is not even one year into his three-year term of felony probation which began on August 1, 2019 when he was sentenced for a domestic violence misdemeanor charge committed against the mother of his four children. On June 2 prosecutors filed with the court a grand jury indictment charging Ries with two counts of aggravated DUI with a child under the age of 15 years in the vehicle, Class 6 Felonies, and one count of child abuse, a Class 4 Felony.
He is not listed as an inmate of the county jail. Ries is presumed by law to be innocent.
Ries’ plea agreement for the October 31, 2018 attempted aggravated assault on his children’s mother was heavy on rehabilitation and light on punishment. He was adjudged guilty of domestic violence disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, for breaking a door at his family’s home, and he was sentenced. By contrast, although he pleaded guilty to the Class 5 felony of domestic violence attempted aggravated assault (choking the victim), the judge did not accept Ries’ plea and the court did not enter a judgment of guilt against him. The deal looked like the product of skillful lawyering on the part of Ries’ retained counsel, Ron Wood of Show Low, by avoiding a felony conviction, Ries not only avoided prison, but was able to keep his license to practice as a chiropractor and thus maintain his business and support his children. The last entry from that board about Ries was in December, 2019 and there is no action listed.
But as part of the deal in the criminal case, Ries was required for three years to remain a law-abiding citizen and, among other terms, to consume no alcohol.
Now, Ries not only faces prison for the aggravated DUIs and child abuse allegations, (up to 3.75 years for the latter) he is subject to having the 2019 domestic violence Class 5 Felony entered of record which carries a prison term of up to 2.5 years; add to that 6 months in a county jail if the state successfully moves to revoke any misdemeanor probation. Finally, if he is convicted of any felony, it’s likely that the Arizona Board of Chiropractic Examiners will revoke his professional license—the very thing he adroitly avoided last time around.
As of now, Ries has not been convicted of any felony and the strength of the state’s case is not known. DUI charges are sometimes more scientifically complex than murder cases--especially with a reading from a blood draw or breath test—and a lot can go wrong for the state in such cases. The state can be willing to be persuaded in light of deficiencies in a first-offense case to lower or amend charges, but in this case the sentiment of “fool me twice...” could cause a big problem for the defense.
The Independent attended Ries’ sentencing in August of last year. Ries appeared sincerely contrite, the victim spoke of her hopes for his rehabilitation, defense counsel was eloquently optimistic, the judge and the prosecutor both wished Ries well.
The consolidated hearing on both the old case and the new charges is set for August 12.