Claremore Daily Progress

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State/Nation

October 18, 2013

Statewide Grand Jury to investigate DA, others

Attorney General acts to restore faith in criminal justice system

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

The conflict triggered other law officer and crime victim complaints against DA Steidley. Police departments from throughout Rogers County attended the announcement of the vote petition effort for a grand jury investigation of her conduct. The campaign was led by Sheriff Scott Walton.

Attorney General Pruitt had no involvement in the petition controversy but after the court dismissed the petition, he received a letter from district judges in Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties urging him to convene a grand jury. Steidley serves as district attorney for the three counties.

Pruitt said the judges wrote that a grand jury “is the best hope of resolving the issues and establishing some normalcy to the operation of county government and the criminal justice system in Rogers County.”

The statewide or multicounty grand jury, which has been in session since September of 2012,  has authority to investigate allegations of criminal activity and official misconduct by public officials. The 12 jurors were chosen from the geographic quadrants of the state to represent Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Proceedings are closed to the public.

DA Steidley issued a news release Friday afternoon asking Judge McBride of Mayes County to convene a local grand jury even though he was one of the judges who urged the attorney general to put the matter before the statewide grand jury.

“We decided to request this grand jury to shine light on all the parties involved and let the truth come out,” Steidley’s statement said. “We want a grand jury investigation that is lawful and looking into real issues, not one that is supported by baseless accusations and slander in an attempt to forward political motivations and agendas.”

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