Judge Throws Out Rogers County Grand Jury Petition

Tuesday, October 15th 2013, 5:41 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa County judge dismissed a petition calling for a grand jury investigation into a Green Country District Attorney and two county commissioners Tuesday.

Judge Jefferson Sellers threw it out, saying there was a problem with how the signatures were gathered.

The hearing lasted nearly three hours and left some Rogers County residents in tears. It was standing room only, as dozens of Rogers County residents waited anxiously, before learning the petition against District Attorney Janice Steidley, some of her assistants and two county commissioners was thrown out.

"We think the judge did his job and did it correctly, and we're extremely pleased that this ordeal is over at this point in time," said Steidley's attorney, Joel Wohlgemuth.

10/2/2013 Related Story: Petition Seeking Rogers County Grand Jury Filed

He filed a motion to dismiss the petition, saying the signatures were not gathered legally. Wohlgemuth said it all came down to the summary at the top of the signing sheet. He said the summary was not approved by a judge and it was misleading, because citizens didn't sign the actual petition containing all the specific allegations.

Joel Wohlgemuth, Steidley's Attorney: "The petition approved by the court was not the petition that was presented to the electors of Rogers County," Wohlgemuth said.

Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton said, "No one was misled in any way shape or form. People knew and were very willing to come to us to sign the petition."

The petition got nearly 8,000 signatures, almost twice the signatures needed.

Bill Jones said he helped initiate the petition, after his daughters' case was mishandled.

"How do they figure that is justice for my girls? They can't fight for their selves [sic], I have to and this was a slap in the face. Literally a slap. I haven't gave up on the fight," Jones said.

Walton said the whole experience has been a learning lesson.

"Our efforts will continue to see that these almost 8,000 people who were willing to sign this petition, that Rogers County government is looked into," Walton said.

The judge said there are still a few options. The attorney general can still impanel the grand jury, or the citizens can collect signatures again.

Read The 13-Page Petition