Claremore Daily Progress

Government

May 21, 2014

Multicounty grand jury will not remove DA

Investigation reveals “alarming lack of respect, civility and overall professionalism”

CLAREMORE — The Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury will not remove District Attorney Janice Steidley from office citing insufficient evidence and no probable cause.

The 74- page report issued Tuesday stemmed from the 2013 citizen’s petition to impanel a grand jury in Rogers County. 

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,” documents show.   

The jurors encouraged Steidley to “rise above the political fray and demonstrate statesmanship.” 

More than 7,000 registered voters supported the petition requesting the investigation.

A jury comprised of citizens from across the state conducted an independent review of the allegations ranging from witness tampering to wiretapping.

Several items in the report related to cases involving child crime victims.

Addressing these issues, the jury foreman wrote, “there is sufficient evidence to suggest improvement in the conduct of the district attorney’s victim services, especially as they relate to child victims.” 

The report continued by noting the broken relationship between the DA and law enforcement, when considered alongside the concerns raised by crime victims, “reflects a pattern of grave malfunction within the criminal justice system in Rogers County.”

“It is unfortunate that this dysfunction was allowed to persist and expand in degree so acutely that the citizens of Rogers County felt compelled to circulate and sign a petition demanding action. We are hopeful that this Interim Report will restore some sense of professionalism and credibility to the criminal justice system in Rogers County. The citizens of Rogers County deserve better from their public and elected officials,” records show. 

The multicounty grand jury will reconvene their investigation into Rogers County on June 24.

 

 

Read the Grand Jury's Report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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