Former TPS athletic director Stephanie Spring waives grand jury right
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 4:12 PM
Former Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Director Stephanie Spring on Tuesday waived her right to have the criminal case against her presented to a federal grand jury, a waiver that normally precedes a guilty plea.
Spring was charged Jan. 31 in Tulsa federal court in an “information” bearing the signature of Assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Zemp Behenna.
The charge alleges that, at some point in 2011, Spring took an unspecified amount of money exceeding $5,000 for the rental of “certain school facilities” that should have been deposited into the school district’s general fund. Instead, the charge alleges, Spring deposited the money into her own personal account.
On Tuesday, Spring signed a form waiving her right to have the case presented to a federal grand jury, which could opt to indict her.
Although Spring’s attorney Allen Smallwood and Behenna did not opt to comment in the aftermath of Tuesday’s brief hearing when asked if Spring is planning to plead guilty, cases charged through this method normally result in guilty pleas and not trials.
Spring did enter a not guilty plea during her arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Paul Cleary on Tuesday. However, federal magistrates are not permitted to take guilty pleas in felony cases unless the defendant signs a special form waiving the right to have such a hearing before a district judge.
Smallwood said he would expect Spring’s initial hearing before U.S. District Judge John Dowdell to take place in late March or early April.
The prosecution did not ask that Spring be held in custody while the case is pending and she will await further developments while on bond.
Stephanie Spring makes her way into the Page Belcher Federal Building on Tuesday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Former Athletic Director Stephanie Spring