ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
75°
Partly Cloudy
H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    75°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    86°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 72°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    88°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 72°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
EXCLUSIVE: Embattled DA answers accusations in first one-on-one interview
Close

EXCLUSIVE: Embattled DA answers accusations in first one-on-one interview

EXCLUSIVE: Embattled DA answers accusations in first one-on-one interview
Photo Credit: Russell Mills
District 12 D.A. Janice Steidley looks over court documents she says supports her case that she's trying to do things by the book, and getting push back from agencies who prefer to do things as they've been done in the past

EXCLUSIVE: Embattled DA answers accusations in first one-on-one interview

For the first time, embattled District 12 DA Janice Steidley has granted a one-on-one interview to discuss accusations leveled against her by a number of law enforcement agencies in her district.

She sat down exclusively with KRMG in her office at the Rogers County Courthouse late Tuesday morning.

[Hear the entire interview HERE]

She says the issue basically comes down to an attempt by police and deputies to do business as they've always done it, while she has insisted on following the letter of the law when it comes to filing criminal cases.

She cited case after case of "incomplete reports" on the part of investigators, and says she and her assistant district attorneys have to return those reports and request more information.

In one specific case referred to by Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown, where he claimed it took her office five months to file charges, she responded in detail.

"Chief Brown put a letter in front of the camera of how a victim had to wait five months for us to file a case, and how they felt that they gave us what they considered to be a strong case. Again, that comes to the issue of law enforcement wanting to control what the District Attorney's Office is doing."

She says the report was first reported March 23, and police investigated on March 24.

The DA's office received the report on May 29, and reviewed it on June 17, at which point they noticed something troubling about an interview with the suspect.

"The suspect voluntarily spoke to the officer, and the officer allowed the suspect's girlfriend to ask the questions in Spanish to the suspect, and then interpreted back to the officer in English what the suspect had said. Now, if you consider that a solid case, I'll argue with you all day long."

They sent the case back to the officer that same day, June 17, requesting a qualified interpreter hear the recording of the interview and translate it.

No response came from Claremore PD, she says, so they sent a second request on July 11 requesting the same information.

Chief Brown called their office on August 1, and asked how he could find an interpreter, and Steidley said they emailed him the name of the interpreter, with a phone number and email address, that day.

The report came back on August 27, and they approved charges two days later.

"Again, another misrepresentatation, a distortion of 'it took the DA's office five months to file a case.'"

Moreover, she points out, the interpreter discovered that the girlfriend was neither asking the same questions the officer had asked, nor accurately translating the answers given by the suspect.

Had they gone to court without the accurate translation, the case could have easily been thrown out.

The main incident that inflamed law officers though was when Steidley questioned Claremore Officer John Singer's credibility as a witness, and disclose her doubts to defense attorneys.

But in court documents obtained by KRMG, Singer admitted under oath in a federal court in 2010 that he had damaged a patrol car in a wreck, then lied and said he had hit a deer, going so far as to put deer hair on the grill to back up his story.

Steidley says she and her prosecutors have to disclose any information like that, or risk being disbarred.

Singer has claimed Steidley was simply trying to ruin his reputation, that she was concerned about his criticism of her conduct as a DA, and the possibility that his wife might run against her in a future election.

"Politics?" KRMG asked. "Yeah," she answered.

"Good ol' boy network?" asked our reporter. "Absolutely," Steidley said.

With a petition for a grand jury to investigate Steidley circulating in Rogers County, an OSBI investigation at the request of several agencies now ongoing, and a lawsuit filed by Singer, Steidley has her hands full, but says she continues to work on cases.

Meanwhile, KRMG has also obtained a letter from District 10 DA Rex Duncan which states clearly that Chief Stan Brown's statement in the September 4 news conference that "no Oklahoma District Attorney will pursue charges against Singer for perjury" was either completely false, or taken out of context.

Read Duncan's letter here.

Duncan's letter goes on to say that the OSBI has not been fully cooperative with the investigation into Singer, and even assigned an investigator who knew Singer when he specifically requested on who had no connection to Singer.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Multiple brands of hummus sold at Walmart and other stores have been recalled because of potential contamination. An announcement from the Knoxville, Tennessee, based company House of Thaller says it is recalling packages of Hummus with Pine Nut Topping “because an ingredient supplier notified us that their ingredient has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.” The announcement has been posted on the FDA website since June 19 as a public service.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, fever and muscle aches.  The affected products were sent to multiple grocery stories, such as Target, Kroger, Walmart, Fred Meyer and others, from April 18, 2017 to June 13, 2017. Products include Fresh Foods Market’s Artisan Hummus - Pine Nuts; Lantana brand White Bean Hummus with Pine Nut & Herb Topping; and Marketside Classic Hummus with Pine Nuts. Each product comes in clear, round plastic 10-ounce cups.  No illnesses have been reported in relation to the recall. Customers who have the products listed should not eat them and contact the House of Thaller Customer Service Center Monday through Friday at 855-215-5142. The full list of products, including photos of the affected products and expiration dates and lot codes for each, are at the FDA website.
  • A domestic argument ends in death for a woman.   Tulsa police called for homicide investigators when they arrived at a house near 8000 East 2 Street at 1:22 a.m. Thursday. 25-year old Jose Gomezbaca called police at 11:27 p.m. Wednesday to report that his wife was missing. She was located by police at another residence and returned to her home where she was shot. Officers had been to the same residence around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to investigate an argument between a man and a woman. This time the female was found deceased inside a vehicle. She had several gunshot wounds. We’re told Jose Gomezbaca had been armed with a shotgun and a handgun. He fled in a 2004 gray Dodge Ram pickup, bearing Oklahoma tag number 146 QAO. The 26-year old victim's name has not been released.
  • It’s common knowledge that when arrested for a crime, you have the right to speak to an attorney before answering questions from police. But as of November 1st, DUI suspects will not be allowed to contact an attorney before taking a breath test for alcohol, and could be charged with an additional crime if they refuse to take the test. Attorney Bruce Edge of Tulsa and other defense lawyers who handle DUI cases have filed a lawsuit to block that law from taking effect. Even as the legislature was considering Senate Bill 643 in March, Edge told KRMG he had serious concerns with the way it was written. In a statement sent to KRMG, he argued that it would: Make it a Crime to exercise your Constitutional Rights Punish drivers for even requesting a hearing Consider a person guilty until proven innocent Result in a person losing their Driver’s License even if they were found not guilty in court Result in a person losing their Driver’s License even if the court case were dismissed Result in DPS having to fire almost all of the attorneys within its agency “They’re going to shift the burden of proof in the administrative hearing to where the license holder has to prove their innocence,” Edge said. “I know it’s probably hard to believe what I’m telling you, but it’s in this (Senate) Bill 643.”  He went on to describe the scenario a defendant would face. “This implied consent will say ‘you do not have the right to speak to an attorney. If you refuse, you’ll lose your license. If you take the test and it’s over the limit, you’ll lose your license. Will you take the test?’ I think a lot of people might stand back and say ‘wait a minute, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don’t know what this is talking about, this doesn’t make sense.’ You’d be put down as a refusal, and you would be facing a separate criminal charge - not administrative, criminal charge - under this bill. I don’t think that passes constitutional muster.”  The governor signed the bill, but that same day issued an executive order which seems to contradict part of the new law. Her order would require the Department of Public Safety to allow an administrative hearing if it planned to confiscate a person's license.
  • The report does not say why the deputy was pursuing the driver and the crash is still under investigation. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says an 18-year-old man was killed when the pickup truck he was driving crashed while he was leading a law officer on a police pursuit.    An OHP report says Shane Russell of Grove died in the crash shortly before 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.    The report says Russell was driving the truck on a Delaware County road near Jay and being pursued by a county deputy when the truck went off the roadway and overturned.  A passenger was treated and released at a hospital for head and other injuries.   
  • A plane from a detachment of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing has crashed. Officials say a pilot ejected from an F-16 fighter jet that caught fire and crashed during takeoff from Ellington Airport in Houston while on a training flight.   Authorities say the pilot was treated for minor injuries following the crash around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. The cause of the fiery accident is under investigation. The pilot's name wasn't immediately released.   A statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command says the plane was from a detachment of the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 138th Fighter Wing. The jet was assigned to Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base, which includes the Texas Air National Guard's 147th Reconnaissance Wing.   A city statement says Ellington Airport, part of the Houston Airport System, was evacuated for several hours Wednesday amid the initial investigation.