Claremore officer subject of previous Giglio disclosure
BY RHETT MORGAN World Staff Writer
Friday, March 01, 2013
3/01/13 at 11:16 AM
A Claremore police officer who recently sued a district attorney for allegedly disseminating Giglio material and other falsehoods about him was the subject of a previous Giglio disclosure by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Oklahoma, documents show.
Giglio, which refers to a 1972 Supreme Court case, is routinely viewed as impeachment evidence -- information that could be used to impeach a government witness’ credibility.
In a June 2010 motion hearing for defendant Grant Andrew Stout in federal court, Claremore Police Investigator John Singer was questioned about a car accident he was involved in while on probation around 2000-01, records indicate.
Singer, who became a Claremore patrol officer in 2000, testified that he rear-ended another police car and “lied to my supervisor, failed to disclose that I had hit another police car for fear of losing my job, and instead said I had hit a deer,” federal records indicate.
The police officer also told the court that he “put the hair from a deer in the grill in case it had been examined,” testimony shows. Singer, who had damaged his cruiser in a previous accident, obtained the deer hair from an associate “who farms deer” and didn’t notify a member of the department about the deception until “some couple of years later,” the officer testified.
In a federal suit filed last month, Singer seeks to block Janice Steidley, district attorney for Rogers, Mayes and Craig counties, and First Assistant District Attorney Bryce Lair from disseminating any alleged “Giglio” material or other alleged falsehoods related to him, saying such action had caused irreparable damage to his reputation, employment and effectiveness as an investigator.
A federal judge recently denied Singer’s request for a temporary restraining order against the DA, writing that “at this early stage, Singer has not provided evidence to demonstrate either irreparable harm, or that he has a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits.”
Clark Brewster is Steidley’s attorney.
“He not only lied, but he took affirmative actions to cover it up,” said Brewster, referring to Singer’s 2010 testimony in federal court. “How would you like this guy as your accuser, and his credibility is on the line between you being convicted or not? And you never knew that he had fabricated that kind of information in the past. I think that’s fair game.”
A Jan. 8 email from Steidley to Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown refers to an upcoming trial involving a defendant that Singer has investigated and asks whether anything in Singer’s personnel file would constitute Brady/Giglio. (The Brady Supreme Court case was a precursor to Giglio.)
Brown answers no in his email dated the same day, adding that “nothing in any of his performance or personnel actions has ever had the need to be presented to a finding of fact for consideration of wrongful action regarding this area of case law,” records show.
Brown said Thursday in an email response to the Tulsa World that Singer’s personnel file contains no write-ups for discipline or “any issue of dishonesty or untruthfulness,” adding that he found nothing that would warrant Giglio disclosure to the DA’s office.
The police chief said Friday in an email that he conducted an internal personnel investigation into the matter and that Singer “has been cleared of any wrongdoing by an outside law enforcement agency.”
Brewster said, “The point is, his (Singer’s) credibility certainly was found by the U.S. attorney to be suspect, and that’s why it was submitted as Giglio material, which flies in the face of the lawsuit he has filed against her (Steidley).”
Chad Neuens, an attorney who represents Singer, defended his client after speaking with him Thursday.
“That’s not any comparison,” Neuens said of Singer’s federal court testimony in the Stout case. “Today, the allegation from the DA is that detective Singer railroaded a defendant and then he filed false arrest affidavits. This is without any outside review.”
Steidley’s disclosure of Giglio material centers on a videotaped interview in a Rogers County rape case that Singer investigated. She alleges that sworn affidavits compiled by Singer don’t match what the defendant said.
“If he truly had committed perjury, you would think they would be prosecuting him, and they haven’t,” Neuens said. “They are just throwing out allegations, and this is just more of the same.”
Neuens said his client stands by information produced in the affidavit and “the fact he made a mistake as a rookie.”
Regarding the Stout case, it also was found that Singer made inaccurate statements about the defendant’s criminal records, documents show.
But U.S. Magistrate Frank H. McCarthy found Singer’s testimony to be credible and found that his inaccuracies “were not intentional or made in reckless disregard for the truth.”
The judge’s recommendation to deny the motion to quash was upheld on appeal.
According to Singer’s federal complaint, the Giglio tag is the prosecutors’ revenge for his criticisms of the District Attorney’s Office, his participation in the background investigation of a former district attorney’s investigator, Steidley’s concern that Singer’s wife was going to run against her for district attorney, and the prosecutors’ assumption that Singer was the principal source for a Jan. 6 Claremore Progress newspaper story that was critical of Steidley’s prosecutions of drug offenses investigated by Singer.
Steidley was elected district attorney in 2010.