Death row inmates ask that Lile be removed from cases

Saturday, February 26th 2005, 3:34 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Thirty death row inmates filed motions earlier this month asking that Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Steve Lile not participate in the their cases, court records showed Friday.

Lile removed himself from considering any cases pending before the appellate court. An order regarding his disqualification from cases was filed Thursday by the Court of Criminal Appeals about the time a critical audit of Lile was released by the state auditor and inspector.

The inmates asking for Lile's disqualification are being represented by the state Office of Indigent Defense. One inmate is being represented by the federal public defender's office.

Most of the applications for Lile to disqualify were filed Feb. 15 with the Court of Criminal Appeals, said Vicki Werneke, chief of the section that handles post-conviction relief cases for the indigent defense system.

The inmates' documents regarding the disqualification requested that some information be filed under seal, meaning it is not open to the public.

Werneke could not discuss it, she said.

Friday, the Court of Criminal Appeals issued a two-page order that dismissed the death row inmates request, saying it was moot since an order already is on file stating that Lile is not going to participate in any cases before the court, effective Feb. 22, until he provides further notice.

The attorney general office has been investigating allegations against Lile that former secretary Dawn Lukasik was a ``ghost employee,'' of using court funds to pay for furnishings and other items for her, and of intervening in her sons criminal cases.

Lile hasn't commented on the investigation.