Claremore Daily Progress

February 11, 2014

Attorneys get key card access to judicial quarters

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Rogers County commissioners voted Monday to unanimously  approve the issuing of key cards to members of the Rogers County Bar Association, allowing attorneys quick access to judicial quarters within the courthouse’s third and fourth floors.
The cards will prevent continuous interruption among bailiffs and/or staffers, who are currently having to “buzz” attorneys in to visit with judges, said Jennifer Kern, member of the Rogers County Bar Association. 
“The reason for doing this is that there are many, many times a day when attorneys are trying to gain access to the judges — for often times routine purposes such as providing copies of documents filed by the court clerk to secure hearing dates.” said Kern. “Staffers are being interrupted over and over again, and it’s not always the staff person who the attorney is there to see. Our goal is to minimize disruption and maximize access for routine court procedures that are needed.”
Kern said key card access does not include judicial elevators and cannot be used to circumvent security.
“We’ve been in contact with the human resources department, sheriff’s office and court system. Violations would be reported to the chief judge and district court,” she said. “There would be a duty to report someone abusing the privilege. Those who fail to report any violations would also be subject of a variety of sanctions from the district judge to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who supervises and is responsible for the conduct of attorneys licensed in the state.”
Each Rogers County Bar Association member will be allowed to designate one staff person to receive a key card with the same limitations, responsibilities and duties. 
“Tulsa County officials offer cards with a photo ID that includes a renewable colored sticker, and deputies know at a glance if the card is current and licensed,” she said. 
A photo printer for the cards would cost between $800 and $1,000. 
Undersheriff John Sappington said he believes the sheriff’s office has a printer that can be used for the key card photos, and is in the process of checking into the idea before commissioners determine if a printer needs to be purchased.
A fee charge from the Rogers County Bar Association will be included for each issued card. Fee amounts have not yet been determined.