Attorney asks court to block impeachment trial

Saturday, September 18th 2004, 12:53 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Attorneys for state Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday to stay his Senate impeachment trial.

A brief in support of the stay argued that forcing Fisher to undergo an impeachment trial before criminal cases against him are disposed of would amount to violating his right against self-incrimination.

``Petitioner will be placed in the untenable position of being forced to choose between one of two constitutional rights: his right to remain silent and his right in the property interest of his employment as insurance commissioner,'' the brief said.

Oklahoma City attorneys Irven Box and D.C. Thomas filed the brief. Box has represented Fisher in two criminal cases pending in district court on charges similar to those contained in impeachment articles approved by the Oklahoma House.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Senate organized as a court of impeachment and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Joe Watt set Sept. 27 as the date for the Senate trial to begin.

In a petition asking the Supreme Court to take the case, attorneys said Fisher had been informed that the attorney general's office will ask the state's multicounty grand jury, when it reconvenes on Sept. 27, to return another indictment against Fisher.