Click here to read the grand jury petition.
A judge Friday afternoon approved circulation of a grand jury petition seeking criminal charges and/or ouster proceedings against the District Attorney, three assistants and two county commissioners.
District Judge Richard G. Van Dyck of Chickasa signed the order after all judges in the 12th Judicial District (Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties) disqualified themselves and asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice to assign an outside judge to handle all matters related to the grand jury petition.
The six originators of the petition, headed by Sheriff Scott Walton and Claremore Police Investigator John Singer, have set a meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gazebo Park on Will Rogers Blvd. in Claremore to pass out petitions to be circulated by registered Rogers County voters and to answer questions about the effort.
Under state law, they have 45 days from Friday, Aug. 29, to gather 4,487 valid signatures of registered county voters, Election Board Secretary Julie Dermody said. (That target number may change because it is based on a complex formula with multiple variables).
She suggests that organizers shoot for an added 500 signatures because most petitions circulated in the past have contained invalid signatures representing 5-8 percent of the total number collected.
Targets of the grand jury petition have generally indicated they welcome an investigation because they have been the target of often anonymous allegations for months and they believe a thorough and impartial investigation where witnesses must appear and testify under oath will clear them.
Judge Van Dyck’s order makes no finding or comment on the validity of the allegations. Under state law, his only job at this stage of the proceeding is that the allegations are sufficient that a grand jury :inquiry may lead to information which, if true, would warrant a true bill of indictment or action for removal.
Grand juries, once convened, are not limited to the subjects of the petition which created them but can inquire into essentially any other area that meets the standards for a grand jury proceeding.