Report: Appeals court judge under investigation

Saturday, January 8th 2005, 3:08 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ An Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals judge is being investigated for alleged improper actions, according to a newspaper report.

State Attorney General Drew Edmondson's office has ``received a request to look at a matter from the court,'' AG spokesman Charlie Price said Friday, but he didn't say whether it was a judge or why.

The Oklahoman reports that Steve Lile, 57, an appeals judge for six years, is the target of the investigation.

Lile declined when asked for comment by The Associated Press.

Presiding Criminal Appeals Court Judge Charles Chapel told The Oklahoman that ``the court has referred certain unconfirmed allegations'' for investigation.

Lile allegedly allowed a secretary to be a ``ghost'' employee, bought her furniture using court funds and intervened in her son's criminal case, The Oklahoman reported. Lile has reimbursed the state for the purchase, the newspaper reported.

The secretary, no longer a court employee, was paid about $10,250 in salary while on the state payroll part of last year, records show. How long she worked at the office wasn't immediately available.

The term ``ghost employee'' arose during the state Health Department scandal and refers to a state employee who is on the payroll, but does little or no work.

Lile is one of five judges on the court. Judges there are the equivalent to state Supreme Court justices who handle civil matters.

His duties include deciding whether death penalty cases are upheld.

The Tulsa native is a University of Oklahoma School of Law graduate and served as an investigator and prosecutor before becoming a district judge.