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DA speaks at legislative breakfast

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields

By Matt Montgomery

Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields spoke to chamber of commerce and community members this morning at the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast about priorities and issues the district attorney’s office is working on right now.

Fields spent 14 years as the assistant district attorney in District 4. He was named Prosecutor of the Year in 2003. District 4 serves Garfield, Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian and Grant Counties.

He said the DA’s office operates on a $4 Million yearly budget. More than half of the budgetary money is state appropriated. He said 52 percent of the budget comes from state appropriations, while 48 percent has to be generated by the DA’s office. One of the ways the DA’s office generates that money is by collecting a percentage of the money from offenders who write hot checks. Those offenders have to pay that money back to the lender or get charged with a crime. In this program, the DA’s office collects fees associated with each case. However, less people are writing checks nowadays because a lot of people use bank cards.

Fields said the prosecutor’s office has three main priorities it deals with:

1) Serious and violent offenders
There were 89 violent offenders in Canadian County from 2011-12. Those offenders included murderers and rapists.

2) Career criminals
There were 810 career criminals in the county system from 2011-12.

3) Juvenile justice
Fields said juvenile justice is one of his top priorities. He said rehabilitating youth who are making mistakes is important, so that they can grow out of it to become good citizens.

Fields also gave some statistical numbers from the last few years in the Canadian County court system.

Felonies: 1,762
Misdemeanors: 2,564
Juvenile cases: There are more than 700 juvenile cases still pending and about 3,300 Department of Human Services (DHS) referrals in 2013.

Fields also noted that mental health services with adults is very underfunded in the state and has an impact on public safety.

He also mentioned how Drug Court works. Drug Court is a court-appointed program that allows a drug offender to rehabilitate without getting jail time, unless they fail to complete the program or fail to abide by its rules, set by a judge. There were more than 100 participants in the Drug Court program last year, all from Canadian, Kingfisher and Blaine Counties.

Offender costs are $40 per month. There is an estimated 70 to 80 percent recidivism rate for those who do not attend Drug Court. However, there is a 70 to 80 percent success rate for those who attend.

Some notable cases from year’s past the DA’s office prosecuted:

Wendell Grissom: He was sentenced to death for murder and that sentence was affirmed. He is in his Federal appeals processes.

Thomas TwoBabies: Was given a life sentence for murder.

Jeff Wood: Was given five life sentences for child rape in and around Kingfisher.

Bobby Bledsoe: Was given a 30-year sentence for murder.

John and Sonja Kluth: Were given 50-year sentences for child abuse.

Michael Mason: Was give 20 years for child pornography.

Grady Lewallen: Was given life for murder.

Gregory Wood: Was given 44 years for engaging in child sex.

Becky Bryan: Was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of her husband, Keith Bryan, the Nichols Hills police chief.

K.O. Cooper: Was given life without parole for drug trafficking after previous convictions for the same crime.

James Dankei: Given life without parole for murder.

1 Comment

  1. Co-hosts Piedmont Chamber of Commerce and Piedmont Public Schools Board of Education appreciate the elected officials presenting updates at today’s Legislative Breakfast and the community members attending. In addition to District Attorney Mike Fields, we heard from Craig Smith on behalf of US Sen Tom Coburn and Jeremy Bennett on behalf of US Rep Frank Lucas, Sen. Ron Justice, Rep. John Enns, and Rep. Mike Sanders. Thanks to our corporate sponsors F&M Bank, Rep. John Enns, Great Plains National Bank, and Reynolds Ford of OKC, we are able to provide a free hot breakfast to all attendees. Plan now to join us on October 9, at 7:00 am for the final 2014 Legislative Breakfast – meet your elected officials!

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