Claremore Daily Progress

Oologah/Talala

October 3, 2013

DA asks court to unseal grand jury petition names

Motion also seeks removal of judge from case

CLAREMORE —

District Attorney Janice Steidley filed a motion Thursday requesting Grady County Judge Richard Van Dyck vacate his order sealing signatures on a citizens petition calling for a grand jury investigation of her office.

She also requested Van Dyck recuse himself from further proceedings involving the petition and the possible convening of a grand jury. She was joined in the motion by Assistant District Attorneys David Iski and Bryce Lair.
Van Dyck sealed the signatures Wednesday at the request of the sponsors or the petition drive. They claimed some of the signers feared retaliation because the targets of the petition were public officials.
DA Steidley claimed the judge acted without notifying her office about the “extraordinary sealing motion” in advance even though it was submitted by one of the petition sponsors, Claremore Police Detective John Singer, prior to the judge’s ruling.
She said the timing shows “a collaboration between Mr. Singer [Claremore Police Detective John Singer] and Judge Van Dyck before the motion to seal was filed.”
The Claremore Daily Progress received a copy of the filed motion approximately one hour prior to Van Dyck issuing the order sealing the petition signatures. It was also on file at the county clerk’s office. 
In addition to questioning the legality of the sealing procedure, DA Stiedley took issue with the judge’s reasoning for issuing his order.
She said the “purported justification for sealing the completed petitions was baseless,” and “the assertion that, without the sealing order, the signatories to the petition would be subject to ‘retaliation’ is both false and speculative.”
Van Dyck did not comment or rule on the district attorney’s motion to unseal the records and recuse himself from the case.
In a related development, The Daily Progress obtained through an open records request a video showing DA Steidley and Jenny Bentley, Rogers County Human Resources Director, entering the county courthouse after hours Wednesday.

Text Only
Oologah/Talala
  • Winter March 2014 Winter’s last gasp?

    A powerful winter storm brought sleet and snow to Rogers County Sunday, leaving roads in hazardous condition and all schools were closed on Monday.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oologah splits in 4A sub-regional playoffs

    The Oologah Mustangs had a split in the Class 4A sub-regional basketball playoffs Thursday night at Bill Allen Field House.
    The No. 16 Oologah boys beat Tulsa Webster 67-61.  The Lady Mustangs, however, fell 48-44 against the No. 16 Berryhill Maidens.

    March 2, 2014

  • One injured in rollover crash near Oologah

    A pickup truck driver suffered minor injuries Monday morning after losing control of the vehicle near Highway 169 south of Oologah, according to Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

    February 24, 2014

  • Oologah’s DeSpain scores 40 in road win over Hilldale

    Hilldale’s Hillary Calvert did anything she wanted Friday night against Oologah, on her way to a game-high 21 points, five steals and five rebounds, leading the Lady Hornets past the Lady Mustangs 61-27 at the Hilldale Event Center.

    February 2, 2014

  • Burn ban issued in Rogers County

    A burn ban was issued Monday for Rogers County by county commisioners due to high winds and drought conditions.

    January 27, 2014

  • Election-artweb.jpg Northwest Fire District, Catoosa and Tulsa voters go to the polls today

    Voters in parts of Rogers County go to the polls today to decide school bonds and a bond to expand the Northwest Fire District. For results of the election click here Election Results 2013.

    November 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • 20131111_7625web.jpg Honoring Those Who Served

    Rogers County residents saluted area veterans Monday during the annual Claremore Veterans Day Parade.

    November 12, 2013 8 Photos

  • Poachers strike Oologah

    Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Game Warden Lt. Brek Henry is searching for answers after five whitetail bucks were found decapitated this weekend near Oologah Lake.

    November 12, 2013

  • Toys4Totsweb.jpg Toys for Tots kicks off campaign

    The holidays are a a time for celebration, but many Rogers County and Claremore children are less fortunate. The joy of a gift can bring happiness into a difficult situation for these children.

    November 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • Fees set for agencies joining E911 dispatch

    The E911 Trust Authority voted Thursday to set fees for agencies looking to join the countywide dispatch center.

    November 7, 2013