The battle over a grand jury investigation into Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz and the sheriff's office moved to Oklahoma City Tuesday. The sheriff's legal team argued before a representative of the State Supreme Court Tuesday to try to stop the grand jury investigation.
At the hearing held by a State Supreme Court referee, the sheriff's attorney continued to argue against the way a petition was distributed to support the investigation, saying that the signatures were gathered was a "corruption of process."
But Marq Lewis and attorney Laurie Phillips with the group pushing for the investigation said the statue says signatures should be "upon" the petition, not "attached."
The organization "We The People Oklahoma" collected more than 6,000 signatures for a grand jury to be called. Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale denied an earlier motion to dismiss the petition, stating it was important to "provide people an opportunity to address grievances."
The sheriff's team argues that although it is not afraid to appear before a "properly called" grand jury, it believes the We The People group did not follow laws governing grand jury proceedings while collecting the signatures.
"That's all they would've had to have done is said, 'This is an attachment to the petition. It's enclosed. Please read it before you sign it so you're fully aware of what you're signing.' How hard would that have been," said the sheriff's attorney, Terry Simonson.
The We The People organization argues Glanz is making an "aggressive effort" to avoid scrutiny.
Now that each side has presented arguments, the nine justices can take their time making a decision, but the grand jury is scheduled to be impaneled next week.
On Monday, Tulsa County Commissioners upheld a decision for public funds to be used to pay the sheriff's legal fees. Despite opposition from some members of the community, Assistant District Attorney Doug Wilson successfully argued that school district, city, county and state representatives are to be provided legal representation if they face legal action for their work in office - so long as it isn't criminal.
Those opposing the sheriff said they don't think county leaders should be able to use public money when a grievance from the people has been filed against them. Should Glanz face criminal charges, the county could stop paying his attorneys.