Claremore Daily Progress

October 12, 2013

DA files motion to dismiss Grand Jury

Salesha Wilken
Staff Writer


District Attorney Janice Steidley claims the verified signatures of 6,994 registered voters should be disqualified, dismissing the grand jury investigation, even though those signatures have all ready be certified valid by the Rogers County Election Board.
A motion to dismiss the Rogers County Grand Jury Petition has been filed within hours of the judicial reassignment to Tulsa County Judge Jefferson D. Sellers.
Tulsa attorney Joel Wohlgemuth filed the motion late Friday afternoon, claiming the signature page circulated in the petition was not approved by the court and therefore unauthorized. 
The motion further claims the “unauthorized” signature page did not contain all, or complete information as stated in the authorize grand jury petition, previously approved by Grady County Judge Richard Van Dyck.
The attorney makes no mention of how the authorized grand jury petition was used in the signature gathering process.
A complete copy of the grand jury petition was attached to the signature pages during circulation, according to Steve Cox, grand jury petitioner.
All signatures were obtained in folders, which were bound containing both documents.
A copy of the grand jury petition was made available to every person who signed this petition, Cox said. 
“Almost 8,000 people in Rogers County requested and want a grand jury to convene,” Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said. “It is concerning to me and it should be to any Rogers County citizen the individuals named in this petition keep fighting to prevent this from happening, but no information has been provided on how they are funding their efforts.”
The motion filed on behalf of District Attorney Janice Steidley and her assistants David Iski and Bryce Lair, goes beyond challenging the validity of the signature collection.
Wohlgemuth claims Steidley, Iski and Lair, the Movants, “do not, in any way whatsoever, oppose or challenge any legitimate investigation — grand jury or otherwise —that comports with the law.”
“If there is nothing to hide, then let’s get on with it,” Walton said. “If there is nothing to hide, why continue to waste resources and the court’s time to prevent it.”
Since the grand jury signatures have been submitted for certification, Wohlgemuth has filed several motions in the proceeding each challenging the legality or authority of the either the petition, petitioners or court.
Wohlgemuth claims “the case in not about the propriety of grand juries, or whether or not investigations are justified,” and states the document circulated by the “Sponsors” is “truly a sham.”
The attorney claims the petitioners filed the documents with the intent of harming the officials named therein by subjecting them to criminal investigation and public harassment calling it an attempted “lynching” without due process.
Wohlgemuth’s document further attacks the petition, petitioners and Claremore Police Detective John Singer individually.
A hearing in the case is scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday in District 3 Court Room on the fourth floor of the Rogers County Courthouse. 
Judge Sellers should decide on Wohlgemuth’s motion and if the grand jury should be convened at that time.