Rogers County Officers Seek Investigation Of District Attorney Janice Steidley

Wednesday, September 4th 2013, 11:32 am
By: News On 6

Officers from 10 different law enforcement agencies in Mayes, Rogers and Craig Counties joined together today to ask the OSBI to investigate possible wrongdoing by District Attorney Janice Steidley.

These agencies say she treats cases more like a defense attorney trying to get people off than a DA trying to put away those who are guilty.

The group includes the Rogers and Craig County sheriffs, the Catoosa, Inola, Claremore, Talala, Oologah and Vinita police chiefs, the city manager and mayor of Claremore, the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service and Pryor Police Department - 11 agencies in all - saying they want an outside, objective agency to investigate how DA Janice Steidley does business.

They claim Steidley has created an adversarial relationship with law enforcement, making it tough to do their job of getting criminals prosecuted.

"There's a broken relationship," said Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown. "We do not take this issue lightly. This is a serious matter."

"In order for the system to be fixed, there has to be truth. The truth has to come out."

8/27/2013 Related Story: Sheriff Asks For Grand Jury To Investigate Rogers County DA, 2 Commissioners

Claremore police point to a 2011 drug round up where of the 70 people charged, only 13 went to prison, the rest got probation either through a plea bargain or guilty plea or were sentenced to boot camp.

Catoosa police say their issue is the DA repeatedly declines to file charges. They say they've asked why, but don't get answers.

They say victims often complain to them of how the DA's office handles their cases. For example, we were sworn a letter from an attorney of a man who says his co-worker threw boiling oil on him in front of witnesses, but five months later: no charges filed.

These officers say an OSBI investigation is their last resort. They say if agents find there is wrong-doing, let citizens decide what to do next but if no wrong doing is found, then..

"We're ready to shut up, sit down and get back to work if they're not valid complaints," said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Janice Steidley held her own news conference about 90 minutes ago at her attorney's office in Tulsa. She strongly denies all the allegations and any wrong doing.

"We have other issues with law enforcement agencies where I have to hold them accountable for actions, and I don't know if that's something new that they've had to deal with since I've taken office, but that is something they're gonna have to deal with while I'm in office," she said.

Another Rogers County group is currently gathering signatures on a petition requesting a grand jury investigation of Steidley.

The petition states Steidley has tampered with witnesses, wiretapped courthouse employees' phones and falsely reported a crime was committed by someone who criticized her decision making.