The Edmond Sun

State News

July 17, 2012

Perjury charge is dropped by D.A.

ENID — A felony perjury charge against Enid attorney Eric Edwards was dismissed Monday at the request of the district attorney appointed to prosecute the case.

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed a motion to dismiss Monday with Grady County District Judge Richard Van Dyck. Prater filed the motion to dismiss on the grounds the charge against Edwards lacked merit.

“I have reviewed the facts and circumstances of this case and have determined that there is no merit in the continued prosecution of this matter,” Prater wrote in his motion to dismiss. “This case should be

dismissed and warrant recalled in the best interest of justice.”

Van Dyck granted the motion and signed an order dismissing the felony perjury charge and recalling an arrest warrant in the case. The dismissal brings to an end a felony case that has been hidden from

public view since it was filed by the Major County District Attorney’s Office on May 17.

Edwards was charged with the felony in Major County, but records were removed from a state-operated court website within hours.

The Enid News & Eagle was denied access to the records and told the case was being sealed and removed from the site by order of District Judge Ray Dean Linder. No hearings, notice of sealing the case or announcements of its removal from public view were given.

The News & Eagle filed a suit June 26 to intervene in the case and have the records unsealed.

In his motion to intervene and unseal the records, News & Eagle attorney Michael Minnis argued the peremptory sealing of the felony perjury case violated the newspaper’s rights under the Oklahoma Constitution, the Oklahoma Open Records Act and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case was reassigned to Van Dyck by Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven Taylor on June 28.

Thorp recused his office from the case June 14, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt assigned Prater to the case on June 29.

Repeated calls to Prater’s office inquiring into the status of the case went unanswered, and no official correspondence concerning the felony perjury case was received by the News & Eagle until the case was dismissed Monday.

Stephen Jones, Edwards’ attorney, contacted the News & Eagle Monday and faxed a copy of the motion and order to dismiss the felony perjury charge against his client. Jones said he obtained authorization from Van Dyck to disclose the contents of the motion and order of dismissal.

A matching copy of the motion and order to dismiss also were faxed to the News & Eagle by the office of Major County Court Clerk Shauna Hoffman.

In a faxed statement, Jones said the “motion speaks for itself and needs no further elaboration.”

“It vindicates completely the actions that Judge Linder, as presiding judge, took in sealing the case,” Jones said. “The dismissal further vindicates my client against whom this meritless and oppressive action was directed.”

While the felony perjury charge against Edwards has been dismissed, the News & Eagle still is pursuing its motion to unseal the records in the case.

“The decision to dismiss the charge against Edwards does not address the News & Eagle’s concern,” said News & Eagle publisher Jeff Funk. “Our dispute is with how this entire criminal case was made secret. It was sealed without advance notice, without proper procedure.

“How can the public have faith in a justice system that keeps secrets, that hides certain cases in dark corners, especially a case involving another local attorney?”

Funk went on to question whether this case could represent a broader practice of conducting court proceedings in secret.

“How often are other criminal cases made to disappear, not following proper expungement procedures, but vanishing because one attorney makes a request of another attorney?” he asked.

The News & Eagle’s motion to unseal the records in the case has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.


Text Only
State News
  • police car.jpg Enid man injured following pursuit

    Larry Lynn Edwards was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center following the 11:32 p.m. crash on 30th Street, just north of Fox Drive, with head and internal body injuries.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas man critical after ATV crash

    Edward Alan Bourland, 37, of San Angelo, Texas, was taken from the scene of the 3 p.m. collision by Eagle Med and flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

    July 26, 2014

  • Logan County pays off jail tax early, seeks new one

    Logan County is paying off a sales tax ahead of schedule and needs a new one to be able to afford funding jail operation and maintenance, officials said.
    Citizens vote on the county sales tax which is split for redistribution by state law. The tax is collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and redistributed back to the county as specified by voters.
    In 2005, citizens passed a 10-year sales tax, scheduled to end next month, to fund the building, operation and maintenance of the county jail, which operates on a $1.3 million budget. Jail capacity is 188 without anyone in a holding cell or a temporary bunk. Thursday it was holding 130 inmates, said Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens.

    July 26, 2014

  • MS_Andy Billups.jpg Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency

    Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
    The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
    And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
    Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Goo Goo.jpg The Goo Goo Dolls: A long way from making racket

    Group in concert with Doughtry and Plain White T's Aug. 5 at the Enid Event Center

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navy Honor_1_BV.jpg ‘She’s my rock’: Family honors sailor who goes beyond service

    Kimberly Henry has a job in Navy intelligence and beyond that, has committed to hundreds of hours of volunteer work throughout her tours of duty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Quake rattles Helena area

    July 25, 2014

  • Oil-Covered Owls_2_JN.jpg Oil-covered owl dies: Oil field tank site investigated

    Jean Neal and her husband, Jim, of Fairview, have been caring for the owls, which were covered in oil, since Tuesday when they received them from Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • MS_weather graphic 1.jpg Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs

    Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
    A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
    Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo