City, DA exchange court motions over police detective’s credibility
Salesha Wilken Staff Reporter
The legal dispute between the District Attorney’s Office and the City of Claremore over a police investigator’s credibility has escalated into each side accusing the other of misleading the judge hearing the matter.
District Attorney Janice Steidley touched off the exchange in a March 5 motion asking District Judge Dynda R. Post to reverse her Feb. 22 ruling allowing the city and Detective John Singer to intervene in a case in which the DA questioned Singer’s investigative integrity.
“The District Attorney’s motion contains misstatements of material facts and misrepresents substantive information,” City Attorney Matt Ballard said in a March 13 court response. “These misrepresentations, whether made incompetently or intentionally, are significantly troubling and bear further inquiry from this court.”
The DA’s motion said “newly discovered information” showed that Singer’s credibility as a prosecution witness had been disclosed “in previous cases and in other courts since 2001. Singer and the city intentionally withheld that information from District Attorney Steidley and this court.”
The motion specifically referred to a 2010 federal court hearing in which the DA said Singer admitted covering up an accident several years earlier when his car struck another police cruiser. The motion said the city had an obligation to tell DA Steidley about the federal case when she asked the police chief for background on any issues with Singer’s previous conduct but the chief didn’t disclose it.
DA Steidley contends Singer violated the so-called Giglio credibility rule in that case and in investigating a 2011 juvenile rape case.
She claims she had a duty to inform the defendant’s lawyer and police officials that the rape case was based partially on Singer’s statements in arrest and search warrant affidavits that were not backed up by his video tape interview with the accused.
Singer strongly denies the DA’s accusation of impropriety, and filed an action against her in federal court.
City Attorney Ballard’s latest motion claims the district attorney’s motion to overturn Judge Post’s Feb. 22 decision misstates the circumstances of Singer’s investigation of the 2011 rape case.
Ballard characterized as “misstatements” DA Steidley’s assertion her office did not receive a copy of the accused’s video interview until shortly before the initial hearing.
Ballard said court ordered documents show Singer turned the tape over to the DA’s office 15 days prior to the hearing and that it was reviewed by an assistant district attorney 12 days in advance of the hearing.
Ballard continued: “The information leads to one of only two possible conclusions: Either the district attorney made a determination that investigator Singer’s investigation was accurate at the time charges were filed or the district attorney committed a grave ethical violation by proceeding with charges it had determined were unwarranted.”