Tulsa Attorney BlogRogers County Cops and Courts Controversies Timeline

Rogers County Oklahoma controversies timeline

Key Players:

  • AG
    — Attorney General
  • CO
    — County Board
  • DA
    — District Attorney
  • PD
    — Police Department
  • PR
    — Media
  • SO
    — Sheriff’s Office
  • VO
    — Voters
PD

CPD Officer Admits Lying

Claremore police officer John Singer testifies in US v. Grant Andrew Stout (U.S. Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma Case No. 10-CR50-JHP) that some time in 2000 or 2001 he had “Lied to my supervisor, failed to disclose that I had hit another police car for fear of losing my job, and instead claimed that I had hit a deer.” Singer testified that he “put the hair from a deer in the grill in case it had been examined.”

Disclosure: Wirth Law Office represented Stout in a case referenced in the US v. Stout Case.
Read more June 2010

PD

CPD Officer Delays Release of Video

Singer swears an affidavit in a rape case in which a video recorded interview with the suspect was not immediately provided to the District Attorneys office.

Read more May 2012

DA

DA Threatens ‘War’ with Police

Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley sends a text threatening “war” if a Mayes County Deputy Sheriff does not comply with her demands, saying “(sic) Your continuous talking about me and ive had enough so it’s either going to stop or your going to have a war on your hands” and “I’m done eating s**t sandwiches.” (Source: Grand Jury Interim Report)

Read more January 2013

DA

DA Exposes CPD Officer Who Withheld Video

Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley files documents in a court case questioning Singer’s credibility as a witness based on allegations that, in August 2011, Singer had misrepresented a defendant’s statement as a confession during the video recorded interview of a rape investigation.

Read more January 2013

PD

Police Say Officer Exonerated

Claremore Police press release characterizes a court review of the Singer matter as meaning “there has been no finding that Det. Singer committed any act of dishonesty or in any way acted improperly.” The statement said the department had lifted restrictions on Singer’s involvement with new investigations.

Read more February 2013

PD

Police Officer Sues DA

John Singer files a lawsuit in federal court, saying Steidley and an assistant district attorney had fabricated perjury allegations against him. Singer alleged Steidley began questioning his credibility after Singer’s wife expressed an interest in campaigning against Steidley for the DA’s job.

Read more February 2013

PR

Newspaper Reports Criticism of DA

Claremore Daily Progress publishes an article titled “Rape Victims Mother Angry at DA” citing a parent’s frustration that a 17-year-old suspect had been offered a plea deal after the mother alleged the 17-year-old had sodomized a 12-year-old victim. The parent reportedly alleged the DA said the victim had consented to the sex act.

Read more February 2013

PR

Newspaper Reports More Criticism of DA

Claremore Daily Progress publishes an article exposing parents’ frustration after Steidely initially refused to file charges in sex crimes against 8- and 9-year-old victims, reportedly because the DA said the sex acts were “consensual.”

Read more March 2013

DA

DA Sues Newspaper

Janice Steidley and two assistant district attorneys file a libel lawsuit against the Claremore Daily Progress alleging the local newspaper repeatedly published articles containing false information about the District Attorney and her assistants. Among new articles and editorial columns cited in the libel suit was a news item about growing tension between police and the DA’s office surrounding the Singer allegations.

Read more March 2013

VO

Grand Jury Petition Drive Targets DA

Rogers County residents submit for review by Tulsa County District Court the format of a petition that would empanel a grand jury to investigate alleged misdeeds by the Rogers County District Attorney’s Office.

Read more July 2013

JD

Judges Fire DA Candidate

Judges of the Oklahoma’s Northeast Administrative District fire Special Judge Erin O’quin for undisclosed reasons. O’quin had announced plans to run against Steidley for the DA’s job. In media reports, O’quin said she had been the target of a complaint by a political opponent.

Read more August 2013

VO

Citizens Submit Grand Jury Petition

Rogers County residents file a petition containing more than 7,000 signatures calling for a grand jury to investigate alleged misdeeds by the Rogers County District Attorney’s Office.

Read more September 2013

DA

DA Releases Favorable Investigator Report

Steidley calls a press conference at which she releases a report by an Attorney General investigator that appears to corroborate her allegations that Singer had represented a defendants statement as a confession after the defendant repeatedly denied allegations.

September 2013

DA

DA Gets Grand Jury Petition Tossed

Attorneys representing Steidley and others named in the citizens petition for a grand jury persuade a Tulsa court the petition is not valid. Steidleys’ attorneys argued that signatures the petition submitted for court review in July, 2013 did not include summary statements included on signature pages circulated with the petition. Petitioners were not represented by an attorney at the hearing where the petition was tossed.

Read more October 2013

AG

Attorney General Empanels Grand Jury

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt instructs a multicounty grand jury to investigate allegations against Rogers County Officials, including witness tampering, wiretapping, fraud, threats and making false reports. Steidley and her foes alike welcomed the multi-county grand jury as a way to clear the air after months of allegations.

Read more October 2013

DA

DA Sues Grand Jury Petitioners

Steidley and the two assistants who previously sued the newspaper for libel file a lawsuit against Singer, Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton and others who had circulated a citizens petition to empanel a grand jury to investigate alleged misdeeds in the District Attorney’s office.

Read more October 2013

AG

Grand Jury Declines to Indict DA

A multicounty grand jury released a 74 page interim report that cited insufficient evidence to bring charges against Steidley or others in the DA’s office, but which was otherwise cited an “appearance of impropriety,” indications that were “consistent with a theme of allegations that District Attorney [Steidley] used undue influence and threatening tactics.” The grand jury report in come instances lashed out at accused and accusers, citing “an overarching theme by both sides of systemic institutionalized bullying, and a profound lack of courtesy and professionalism in dealings between District Attorney [Steidley] and certain law enforcement agents in Rogers and Mayes County.”

Read More May 2014

DA

DA Target of Mailbox Bomb

On the same day the grand jury’s interim report said she “doesn’t treat crime victims with care,” postal workers began investigation of an explosion in Steidley’s rural mailbox caused by small bomb.

Read more May 2014

VO

Rogers County Voters Oust DA

Voters oust Steidley in the Republican primary race for Rogers County District Attorney preferring Claremore City Attorney Matthew Ballard in a 61 percent landslide on a split ticket in which Steidely received less than 14 percent of the vote. O’quinn finished a distant second with 25 percent of the vote.

Read More June, 2014

CO

Commissioners Complain About Sheriff Spy Cam

Rogers County Commissioners say Sheriff Scott Walton abused his power when he planted a camera on the private property of a county commissioner while investigating possible misuse of county construction equipment.

Read more June 2014

SO

Deputy Sues Sheriff

Former Rogers County deputy Brain Kindle files a lawsuit against the Rogers County Sheriff, sheriffs officers and county commissioners alleging they conspired to force his resignation after Kindle refused to go along with a phony affidavit that falsely stated a suspect had consented to a search of her home.

Read more July 2014

PR

County Clerk Sues Newspaper

Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson files a libel lawsuit against the Claremore Daily Progress, alleging the newspaper falsely alleged in August 2013 that records were withheld. The clerk had previously filed a harassment charge against the newspaper’s reporter after reportedly refusing to print records that were otherwise stored on the clerk’s computer. The libel lawsuit also alleges the Daily Progress in 2012 misrepresented her administration of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

Read more July 2014

AG

Grand Jury Recesses

Multicounty grand jury recesses, saying it needs to hear testimony from additional witnesses before deciding the outcome of one remaining matter involving allegations among Rogers County officials.

Read more July 2014

SO

Sheriffs Officers Arrest Deputy Who Sued

Former Rogers County Deputy Brain Kindle arrested after several witnesses reported he had appeared ready to jump from a highway overpass.

Read more July 2014

AG

Grand Jury Returns Criticisms, No Indictments

In its final report, the multicounty grand jury called for standardized statewide guidelines for prosecutors’ release evidence that calls into question police credibility. Although the grand jury cited an appearance of political motivation behind the DA’s release of such information, the grand jury found insufficient evidence to bring charges against any of those named in a citizens’ petition seeking investigation of the DA’s office. The panel reached no conclusion on allegations Rogers County commissioners had improperly avoided putting contracts out for bid.

Read More August 2014

AG

AG Disqualifies DA as County Board Attorney

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt stepped into the Rogers County controversies again, this time replacing Janice Steidley’s office as legal counsel for the Rogers County Board of Commissioners after an assistant DA reportedly advised the board to meet in a closed session to legal matters without an attorney’s presence in the closed meeting.

Read More October 2014

DA

DA Files Claim Against City

DA Janice Steidley, Assitant DA David Iske and county commissioner Kirt Thacker filed tort claims seeking $175,000 from the city of Claremore for the city employees role in the grand jury petition drive. City Manager Jim Thomas rebuffed the claim, citing historic recognition of the “right of individuals to speak out against public policy issues without fear or intimidation.”

Read more October 2014

CO

Former County Commissioner Charged

Former Rogers County Commissioner Kirth Thacker arrested on two counts of embezzlement. The charges allege he used county equipment to build a pond on private land he leased and deployed a county road crew without county authorization to repair the driveway of a tribal non-profit association.

Read more April 2015

AG

Appeals Court Okay’s AG Takeover

Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appels overturned Rogers County District Judge Dwayne Steidley’s order barring the Attorney General from taking over prosecution of cases filed by the Rogers County District Attorney. The landmark decision defined the Attorney General’s power under current Oklahoma law to take charge of local criminal prosecutions.

Read more April 2015

CO

More Charges Against County Commissioners

Bid-splitting allegations cited since the beginning of the Rogers County controversies were spelled out in grand jury indictments against a former Rogers County Commissioner and a current county commissioner.

Read More July 2015

AG

Court Dismisses Libel Lawsuit

A Washington County judge dismissed one of several lawsuits Janice Steidley filed against critics who petitioned for a grand jury investigation and against owners and staff at the Claremore newspaper. His decision cited the 2014 Oklahoma Citizens Participation Act, which provides a fast track defense when libel lawsuits challenge constitutionally protected advocacy. Two other courts had declined to dismiss similar lawsuits against some of the same defendants on similar OCPA grounds, setting the stage for an appellate review of the 2014 law.

Read more February 2016

DA

Auditors Say DA Records Were Deleted

State auditors discovered that financial records had been deleted from a hard drive before District Attorney Janice Steidley left office on Dec. 31, 2015. Although the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council provides backup services for any DA’s office in the state, the 12th District had not kept backups locally or in the statewide system, and had not printed hard copies of the records before reimaging the hard drive. The state auditor cited felony laws as criteria for non-compliance, and referred the report to the Attorney General.

Read more June 2016

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