Stillwater News Press

Oklahoma News

July 18, 2012

Hearing set to unseal records involving dismissed perjury case after Enid News & Eagle challenges judge's ruling

ENID, Okla. — A hearing is scheduled for an Enid News & Eagle motion to unseal the

records in a dismissed felony perjury charge filed against Enid attorney

Eric Edwards.

The News & Eagle’s motion to unseal the case is scheduled for a hearing

before Grady County District Judge Richard Van Dyck on July 30 in the Grady

County Courthouse in Chickasha.

The felony perjury charge was filed in Major County on May 17 and sealed the

same day by Presiding District Judge Ray Dean Linder. The News & Eagle was

denied access to the records. 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 felony perjury charge against Edwards was dismissed Monday pursuant to a

motion filed by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who was

appointed to prosecute the case after Major County District Attorney Hollis

Thorp recused his office from the matter.

Van Dyck ordered the case dismissed Monday and recalled a warrant in the

case. Van Dyck was appointed to preside over the case by Oklahoma Supreme

Court Chief Justice Steven Taylor on June 28.

Major County Court Clerk Shauna Hoffman faxed a copy of the motion and order

to dismiss the felony perjury charge to the Enid News & Eagle Monday. When

asked Tuesday for a copy of the original affidavit filed in the case,

Hoffman said “Judge Van Dyck said the only thing I can give you is what I’ve

given you so far.” Asked for a copy of the order sealing the case, Hoffman

replied, “The only thing I can give you is what I gave you yesterday.”

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