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September 1, 2013

Grand jury petition shows chasm between law officers, DA

Complaints range from corruption to lying to mishandling sex cases

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

The broadest claim asks a grand jury to decide whether Steidley “should be removed from office … for oppression and corruption in office and willful maladministration.” It suggests that Steidley has caused crime victims and witnesses to be “unnecessarily subpoenaed to court” and allows long delays in the prosecution of sex crimes and other crimes.
Petitioners also make specific complaints against Steidley, including that she once lied to U.S. Justice Department investigators asking about the termination of a former employee. They claim she and Lair eavesdropped on employee workspaces at the courthouse in 2011. In a separate incident, they claim Steidley sent text messages to a sheriff’s deputy in May 2012 that threatened a “war” over criticisms the deputy had leveled at her.
Also in 2012, the petition claims Steidley got involved when a state game warden, Brek Henry, cited her brother, Ray Smith, and husband, attorney Larry Steidley, for illegal possession of a deer.
The petition suggests that Steidley tried to influence a witness in the investigation, a local taxidermist. It also accuses her of making bogus accusations against Henry.
The case against Smith and Steidley was resolved early this year by a district attorney in a neighboring district. The duo received a year’s probation and agreed to pay a fine under a deferred prosecution agreement. 
Another petition complaint says Steidley applied for a Justice Department grant under false pretense by using “fraudulent data” in her application. Yet another claims that she and Iski breached a state records management law by ordering someone to destroy emails related to an open records request.
The petition also delves into the public dispute between Steidley and Singer, the police detective against whom she made so-called Giglio accusations earlier this year. The term refers to a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring prosecutors to disclose information that could help defendants refute the credibility of witnesses. Such disclosures often involve police misconduct and can scar an officer’s reputation.

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