Oklahoma grand jury is optimistic Julie Mitchell homicide will be solved

by Nolan Clay Modified: August 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm •  Published: August 24, 2012

Grand jury's role

in investigations

The 13th multicounty grand jury was empaneled in February 2011 and returned 25 indictments in all against 31 defendants, according to its report.

Six of those indictments were issued this week. The criminal charges will become public later.

Grand jurors reported witnesses appeared before them 336 times and 1,895 subpoenas were issued.

Grand jurors also reported assisting 113 local and state law enforcement agencies. Grand jurors reported they “made a significant difference in many investigations.”

The grand jury is advised by assistants of Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

The grand jury made a series of recommendations about the operations of drug courts in Oklahoma.

Those recommendations came out of its investigation of problems with the drug court program for Pittsburg and McIntosh counties. That investigation resulted in criminal charges against the former drug court coordinator, a judge and a prosecutor.

The first charge, against the former drug court coordinator, accused her of embezzling more than $27,950 from the program.

Drug court recommendations

• Grand jurors called for drug court programs to immediately stop charging “flat fees” for participation in the programs until such a fee is authorized by the Legislature.

• Grand jurors also recommend drug court programs stop directly collecting any fees, such as for drug tests. Grand jurors said participants should be required to pay court clerks instead.

• Grand jurors also called on the state auditor to do annual financial and performance audits of drug court programs.

• Grand jurors recommended drug court administrators not hire past or present participants to help run the programs. Grand jurors reported they were shocked to find the drug court program for Pittsburg and McIntosh counties used past and current participants to collect fees.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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