Claremore Daily Progress

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October 15, 2013

PETITION DISMISSED: Judge Sellers rules signature collection form unauthorized

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

“DA Steidley’s Tulsa lawyers generated a technicality that was successful,” said Walton. “But we will not be deterred. Our judges and the Attorney General have the ability to impanel a grand jury today, but we will give them time to take action on their own, before we pursue another petition.”
Singer said the sponsors “talked with people that had successfully” circulated grand jury petitions before, and thought they had done it the right way.
“There was no expert for us to call, no attorney for us to find,” said Singer.
Judge Sellers said it was apparent the citizens of Rogers County want a grand jury and that he would consider his authority to summon one absent of a valid petition.  He also encouraged the petitioners to appeal his ruling and further noted the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office has authority to impanel a grand jury.
“The will of this community is to have a grand jury impaneled,” Singer said. “There has been no support for (attorney) Wohlgemuth’s claim there has been some sham upon this county. There is only evidence this community wants an investigation into these actions.”
George Burnett of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office attended Tuesday’s hearing before Judge Sellers, but said at one point, “We do not have a dog in this fight.” He said that while the petition signatures were thrown out, the courts can impanel a grand jury by administrative act.
“If this court believes the petitioners and the people of Rogers County want a grand jury, then we would encourage the court to allow this process to happen that citizens have a right to regress their government,” said Burnett.
Burnett agreed with Judge Sellers that the state attorney general can also impanel a grand jury.
“These are options we would explore based on the court’s ruling today,” said Megan Tilley of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office afterwards.

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