Thursday, June 28, 2012

Okla. Supreme Court assigns new judge to sealed records case

District Judge Ray Dean Linder won't be the one deciding if a felony perjury case remains sealed.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court reassigned the case Thursday from Linder to Grady County District Judge Richard Van Dyke, the Enid News & Eagle reported this afternoon.
Linder blocked public access to the records the same day the charge was filed against attorney Eric Edwards in May.
Linder gave no reason other than he was the judge in the case and "because in my professional opinion it deserved to be sealed."
Linder also told the newspaper at the time that the case would "remain sealed until I say it shouldn't be sealed."
The newspaper on Tuesday filed two motions aimed at unsealing the case file.
The case also will be prosecuted by a new district attorney, the newspaper reported.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications


The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. As a local lawyer familiar with this situation, I'd like to clarify a few things. I believe Judge Lender has been unfairly criticized by people who don't understand what actually happened.

    Eric Edwards was representing a party in a child custody dispute when he was held in contempt for inappropriate comments he directed at another attorney. Some of his comments were caught by the court reporter and entered into the official record for the child custody case.

    Edwards challenged his contempt citation and at the hearing for this, he went on the stand and under oath denied making these comments. Then the court transcript from the child custody case was entered into evidence to show that Edwards was lying and this was the basis for his perjury charge.

    Judge Lender immediately sealed the record in perjury case, because part of the evidence in that case is the underlying court transcript. At the very least that transcript contains the names of minor children and it could contain much more intimate details about the dispute between the parents, including (and this is hypothetical) allegations of abuse, etc.

    Eric Edwards has one of the poorest reputations of any attorney in NW Oklahoma, if not the poorest. He perhaps holds the record for trying to force recuse judges who disagree or rule against him. He is the last lawyer that a Judge would try and grant a favor to by sealing the record. This is about protecting the innocent children and not about giving any special treatment to Edwards.


Differing interpretations of law and policy are welcome. Personal attacks and character assassinations will be rejected.