District Attorney Janice Steidley said Wednesday that she will seek a second term, vowing to continue achieving positive changes in the criminal justice system.
“When I took office in 2011, I promised to put the citizens and the community first,” Steidley said. “We’ve kept that commitment.”
The District Attorney has proven her toughness by challenging the status quo and refusing to accept short cuts or improper procedures in investigating crimes. Protecting and standing up for victims of crimes are first and foremost, but it must be done the right way.
“Doing a job right is not always popular, but it’s the only way to protect citizens and serve justice.” Steidley said. “I will continue to do the right thing for you, no matter the political costs. I appreciate the confidence you have placed in me.”
Steidley has focused on making the District Attorney’s office more efficient. She is especially proud of the team she has assembled in the three counties she serves.
The attorneys bring over 156 years of legal experience to serve the people of Rogers, Mayes and Craig Counties. Steidley implemented a case responsibility system where each case is assigned to one attorney to handle from beginning to end. The DA’s office has handled over 4,000 felony cases since Steidley took office.
The District Attorney’s office investigators have over 75 years experience to help the people and law enforcement officers of the district.
When Steidley first took office in 2011, she immediately saw the need to better assist law enforcement’s difficult task of conducting thorough and timely investigations of sex crimes. She hired Gary Stansill as a District Attorney Investigator. Stansill has over 39 years experience and is widely recognized as a valued expert in sexual assault investigations. Stansill has assisted and/or investigated numerous sexual assaults and death cases within the district.
Tommy Dunlap, who has over 20 years of law enforcement experience and is a District Attorney Investigator, was honored as Investigator of the Year for 2013 for implementing a multiple agency drug bust last year which resulted in 2.5 lbs of crystal methamphetamine being taken off the streets.
Mike Shaver, who has over 16 years of law enforcement experience, has recently joined the District Attorney’s Office. He brings extensive experience in drug investigations and investigations in overall crimes.
While being tough on crime, Steidley believes in smart prosecution.
Prison overcrowding and early release of certain drug and non-violent offenders from Department of Corrections means that some criminal behavior cannot be dealt with in prison.
Steidley recognized that alternative courts such as Drug and Veterans Courts are needed for some offenders and their addictions which cause criminal misconduct. Alternative courts provide offenders the education and treatment they need to address their addictions and mental health issues while still holding offenders accountable.
Steidley takes seriously a prosecutor’s responsibility to see that justice is done. Prosecutors have a legal and ethical duty to bring facts to light, including witnesses and evidence which can establish the innocence of the accused.
This legal and ethical duty has caused controversy between some members of law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office.
“The controversies with a few members of law enforcement are unfortunate,” said Steidley. “Prosecutors are a check and balance to law enforcement and we take our legal obligations very seriously. We do what we are legally and ethically bound to do and endure the consequences, no matter how unpopular it may be with a few members of law enforcement.”
As District Attorney Steidley is dedicated to the pursuit of truth, justice, protection of the innocent, and prevention through the vigorous and professional prosecution of those who violate the law.
Her experience as a prosecutor, drug court coordinator, attorney in private practice, college teacher, mother of three, and school volunteer have served us well.
Steidley is a cum laude graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where she met her husband, Larry, during her first year.
They returned to his home town of Claremore, where she joined the District Attorney’s office in 1999, handling Rogers County misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile cases.
In April 2003, she and Larry formed the Steidley Law Firm in Claremore, where she handled criminal defense, deprived and delinquent juvenile cases, and guardian ad litem appointments to domestic and guardianship cases. She has always had a special place in her heart for those who need an advocate for justice.
She has been Drug Court Coordinator for Mayes and Craig counties. The court works to rehabilitate certain offenders through intense treatment and supervision.
She also served as a part-time adjunct professor at both Rogers State University and Northeastern State University, teaching courses in Torts and Litigation, Criminal Law II and Criminal Evidence.
The Steidley family includes children Nathan, 14; Matthew, 10; and Emily, 7. They reside in Verdigris and the children attend Verdigris Schools.
She looks forward to working hard for the people of Rogers, Mayes and Craig Counties for another four years.