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.

 

1
Text Only
State News
  • GooGooDolls.jpg Coming in August: The Goo Goo Dolls

    Enid Event Center books yet another big-name music attraction.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War the theme at Heritage Center Family Saturday

    The event will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday and is free with admission to the museum.

    April 16, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

  • History_Tour_5_BH.jpg History tours begin May 17

    Downtown Enid will be the scene of Chisholm Trail Coalition Walking Tours

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • brisket2.jpg Food Network show visits Guthrie for ’89er Days

    Guthrie’s annual ’89er Days Celebration provides a variety of activities for people to enjoy including a carnival, rodeo, parade and lots of food vendors.
    This year, visitors at the 84th annual event, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, will notice an added bonus when a film crew from the new television series “Carnival Eats” will be in town filming for its inaugural episode.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCSP-Family and Treasurer-04-15-2014.jpg Treasurer Miller awards ‘Tax Day Baby’ with college savings plan

    April 15 is commonly known as the day many will spend in line at the post office or finishing final preparations for tax returns. This year, one Oklahoma family spent April 15, tax day, welcoming their new son, born at 2:07 a.m. and was recognized as the first Tax Day Baby at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. 
    As the first Tax Day Baby, State Treasurer Ken Miller, R-Edmond, awarded, Quan Ta, with an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan worth $1,529. Miller, who serves as board chairman for the OCSP, reminds parents and grandparents that any contribution made to an OCSP account by April 15 qualified for a 2013 Oklahoma income tax deduction.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidate filing period ends

    From the U.S. Congress to the Oklahoma House, several incumbents are hoping to hold onto their jobs in the 2014 elections.

    April 15, 2014

  • SPICER.jpg 5 suspects face charges in Edmond home assault

    A resident was silent while he was kicked repeatedly in his ribs and head during last week’s assault in an Edmond home, court records show.
    Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said five individuals arrested in recent days appear to be the extent of the suspects in the incident. Monroe said the victim, 64, is back at home after he was transported to a metro hospital.
    The five suspects according to the Edmond Police Department and Oklahoma County records are:

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos