Judge vindicates them on officer’s credibility; dumps his evidence manufacturing claim
By JOHN M. WYLIE II, Editor
The presiding federal judge in Tulsa has thrown out all but one issue in Claremore Police Officer John Singer’s lawsuit against Rogers County District Attorney Janice Steidley.
In a 31-page order, U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory Frizzell threw out Singer’s allegations of libel, slander and defamation against Steidley and her then-First Assistant DA, Bryce Lair.
The case centers on affidavits Singer filed with a judge in Rogers County District Court seeking search and arrest warrants in a rape investigation.
Steidley’s office later reviewed the case and determined that certain sworn statements Singer made in the affidavits could not be substantiated by the interview with the defendant on which they were based. The interview had been taped.
Her office determined that the situation required a so-called Giglio notification to attorneys in other cases where Singer was to testify. Judge Frizzell noted in his ruling that under the Supreme Court Giglio decision, prosecutors must disclose during pretrial discovery evidence which in the eyes of a neutral and objective observer, could alter the outcome of the proceedings.
The court ruled that the statement in question made by Singer in the two affidavits “was not accurate” and that Steidley and Lair “cannot be said to have made a false statement when they opined that the Giglio information had to be disclosed.”
Judge Frizzell also noted that Singer was subject to another Giglio disclosure in federal court involving his “dishonesty and cover-up concerning an accident involving a police vehicle should be disclosed to criminal defense attorneys.” Singer hit another police car but instead told his supervisor he had hit a deer and “to promote his story, Singer placed deer hair in the grill of his vehicle.”
He also ruled that evidence presented to the court does “not support Singer’s claim that [Steidley and Lair] ‘manufactured’ any evidence.”
Under those circumstances, the judge said, there was no basis to let the libel, slander or defamation claims move forward.
The only remaining claim involves a highly technical legal issue surrounding disputed facts still yet at issue.