Audit Finds Problems At DA Office

Wednesday, May 2nd 2007, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

Unbelievable and unconscionable, that is how the state auditor is describing the actions of former Muskogee County District Attorney John David Luton. An audit released Wednesday says that Luton's office deleted thousands of files and failed to pay thousands of dollars in victim restitution money. Current Muskogee County DA Larry Moore knew there were problems when he took over in January, but the News On 6’s Chris Wright reports the results of an audit released Wednesday surprised even him.

"Well of course there were some things on there I was not aware of as far as the number of files that have been deleted," said Moore.

Nearly 8,700 files to be exact. The audit says the files were deleted from a computer in December, one week before Luton left office. The report also says the files were erased using a file shredding program, meaning there is no way to know exactly what was deleted. In addition to the files, the state found that nearly $90,000 in restitution money was not paid to defendants. Moore says correcting this error is a top priority.

"To makes sure that victims get their money, the restitution money, and not be victimized twice, once by the criminal and once by the system," said Moore.

Moore says he and his staff have been working long hours to fix Luton's mistakes. In January, hundreds of untagged guns were discovered in the DA's safe. The serial numbers have since been documented, and Moore's staff is working to figure out which cases they are tied to, and then there are the unfinished case files.

The DA's office says it has made some significant progress in the past few months. In January, thousands of case files were in complete disarray, but now most of them are organized.

Moore says the past four months have been a learning experience, but vows this won't happen again in Muskogee County.

"I've already discussed this with my staff, to make sure nothing like this ever happens underneath my watch," said Moore.

Moore has already paid $30,000 of the $90,000 owed to defendants. He also plans on turning over the audit's findings to the OSBI. If the OSBI determines Luton did anything illegal, he says he will then contact the attorney general's office, and charges could be filed.

To view a copy of the audit report, click here.

Watch the video: DA Office In Trouble With Auditors

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1/3/2007 - Muskogee County DA Job Transition Not Smooth