The Tulsa County sheriff's attorney is appealing to the Oklahoma Supreme Court to stop a grand jury investigation into Sheriff Stanley Glanz and the sheriff’s office.
The group We the People Oklahoma launched the petition drive after the April shooting death of Eric Harris by Reserve Deputy Bob Bates.
The Tulsa County Election Board verified 6,647 signatures on the petition for a grand jury investigation of the sheriff, but Sheriff Stanley Glanz challenged the petition process.
Glanz and his attorneys argued that the group did not use the actual petition approved by the judge when collecting signatures from registered voters.
During a six-hour hearing Tuesday, the sheriff's attorneys argued the petition needed to be attached to the signature forms - otherwise the group was misleading the public.
The attorney for We The People Oklahoma argued that is not required by state statute and said the sheriff's attorneys were being, "nit-picky."
Judge Rebecca Nightingale decided the statute does not require petition and signatures need to be attached and dismissing the petition for that reason would be to put form over substance and set a date for it to be impaneled.
Now Glanz's attorney wants the high court to make a decision before the grand jury convenes.
Spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office, Terry Simonson released a statement regarding the appeal saying:
"Appeals are a normal part of litigation when one party believes the Judge either misinterpreted the law or misapplied the law to the facts in a case and the party wants a second opinion. A higher opinion on whether or not the law was correctly applied. In this case. the Sheriff has always believed that the laws governing the grand jury proceedings are clear, unambiguous, and state what is strictly required of those who seek it. He does not believed the laws support what has been done was correctly applied and has therefore appealed."
Simonson also said:
"The appeals process in the Oklahoma judiciary exists for a purpose. If one of the parties to a lawsuit believes that the outcome would have been different if the Judge had applied the law to the facts differently, then there is the right to appeal
The Sheriff is a strict constructionist when it comes to how all laws in Oklahoma are followed. He was elected Sheriff 7 times to both follow and enforce the laws in Oklahoma not to interpret the laws.
He believes the same should hold true for cases in court. In this case, he believes that the laws that applied to this case should be strictly applied to the facts. When done so, he believes the Petitioner has not followed Oklahoma law and the Petition should be dismissed.
He has the same rights as every citizen in Oklahoma to defend the position he believes in and the right to appeal based upon that conviction. That’s what he did today."
The attorneys representing the family of shooting victim Eric Harris also released a statement, saying:
"We have learned that Sheriff Glanz is seeking a writ of prohibition from the Oklahoma Supreme Court in yet another effort to halt the grand jury process from going forward.
Under Oklahoma law, writs of prohibition are disfavored.
A writ of prohibition is an extraordinary remedy, only to be issued in cases of manifest necessity. What is truly "extraordinary" here is Sheriff Glanz's continuing and aggressive effort to avoid scrutiny and accountability.
When Sheriff Glanz was first informed of the possibility of a grand jury investigation, on May 20, he was quoted as saying "We welcome any inquiry, we have no problems with that." Since then, he has done everything in his power to thwart and stall the inquiry. What is he hiding? Sheriff Glanz is desperately clinging to power and losing more of the public's confidence with each passing day."