Former Tulsa police officer's bid for new trial is contested
BY ROBERT BOCZKIEWICZ World Correspondent
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
8/08/12 at 4:16 AM
Grand jury investigates
police corruption: Read all of the stories, view a timeline and read key documents.Original Print Headline: Prosecutors fight new-trial bid of former Tulsa police officer
DENVER - Prosecutors contend that Jeff Henderson, a former Tulsa police officer who was convicted in connection with a police corruption investigation, is not entitled to a new trial.
"Henderson's convictions should be affirmed in all regards," prosecutors write in 65 pages of arguments submitted late Monday to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
An attorney for Henderson submitted arguments in May to the Denver-based court, seeking a new trial.
Henderson was convicted in August 2011 in federal court in Tulsa of six counts of perjury and two counts of violating the civil rights of residents he investigated as suspected drug dealers. He is serving a three-year, eight-month sentence in a federal prison.
Prosecutors alleged that Henderson falsely obtained warrants to search property of suspects by lying in affidavits he submitted to a Tulsa judge.
Henderson contends that he was improperly convicted. He says the judge who conducted his trial made serious errors regarding evidence and cites juror irregularities.
Prosecutors, led by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke of Little Rock, dispute Henderson's arguments.
Duke argues against Henderson's contention that the trial judge, Bruce Black, improperly allowed the testimony of an FBI agent. The testimony was contrary to Henderson's account of where he was at a critical point in his investigation of drug suspects.
Duke disputes Henderson's contention that Black should have declared a mistrial when one witness testified that she and Henderson had engaged in a sexual relationship.
Duke contends that Black did not err in denying Henderson's request for a new trial and his request that the judge conduct an inquiry, both issues stemming from alleged juror irregularities.
Duke was brought to Tulsa to oversee the corruption cases, a common practice in situations in which local prosecutors have working relationships with law enforcement officers who are the targets of an investigation. Black was brought in from New Mexico to preside over the trials.
The investigation resulted in charges against six current or former Tulsa police officers and a federal agent. Three officers and one agent were convicted or pleaded guilty. Three officers were acquitted.
Retired Tulsa Police Cpl. Harold Wells, who was convicted of four crimes stemming from the investigation, also has an appeal pending. He is serving a 10-year sentence.
At least 44 people have been freed from prison or had their sentences modified because of civil-rights violations or potential problems with their cases because of how officers and agents handled the cases.
Jeff Henderson: The former police officer was convicted last August in federal court in Tulsa of six counts of perjury and two counts of violating the civil rights of residents he investigated as suspected drug dealers. He is serving a three-year, eight-month sentence in a federal prison