Claremore Daily Progress

Crime/Courts

May 21, 2014

DA criticized by Grand Jury, no charges

Investigation reveals ‘alarming lack of respect, civility and overall professionalism’

CLAREMORE —

 “The citizens of Rogers County deserve better from their public and elected officials,” concluded the Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury in a partial report released Tuesday.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt released the report, detailing several allegations against District Attorney Janice Steidley and her staff, but returned no indictments.
Citing claims of insufficient evidence,  the jurors found no probable cause for criminal charges for nine allegations, leaving one claim for further investigation.
The 74-page report stemmed from the 2013 citizen’s petition to impanel a grand jury in Rogers County. More than 7,000 registered voters supported the petition, requesting the investigation.
The jurors determined the issues should be remedied by the voters of Rogers County.
“Fundamentally, this allegation goes to whether the duties of district attorney are being effectively carried out by the current office holder. That judgment is best left to the people of Rogers County,” the report states. 
DA Steidley is seeking re-election and faces two challengers — Matt Ballard and Erin Oquin — in the June 24th Republican primary. Democrat Robert Post is running unopposed and will face the winner of the Republican primary.
The jurors issued numerous statements concerning Steidley’s performance including “...District Attorney A [Steidley] has refused, since taking office, to assume the mantle of principled leadership.”   
Records show the investigation revealed an “alarming lack of respect, civility, and overall professionalism” in the relationship between the district attorney and law enforcement agencies within Rogers County.
“The amount of dysfunction in Rogers County between law enforcement and the district attorney is harmful to the ability of citizens to have confidence in the administration of the criminal justice system,” the report said.   
The jurors encouraged Steidley to “rise above the political fray and demonstrate statesmanship.” 
“The perception there has been a dysfunction among law enforcement and my office needs to be put to bed,” Steidley said in a Wednesday afternoon press conference.  “…We need to put this behind us.”

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Crime/Courts