July 2008

Weekly Winner
The Hennessey Clipper

Clipper Voter Guide boosts voting record
A Hennessey Clipper Staff Effort

     Hennessey is a rural wheat/cattle/oil community with 2,000 residents. The Clipper helped boost the voter record after an extensive coverage of county commissioner, school and town board meetings and voter information.
The Clipper went above and beyond to inform the community of the candidates’ platforms by sending a questionnaire about pertinent topics within the area to all candidates in statewide and district races in the primary and general elections.
The result was an eight-page tab that not only told people what was on the ballot, but urged voters to check out candidate information in the voter guide, and pressed the issue of exercising their right to vote.


Daily Winner
Muskogee Phoenix
Lying officers put court cases at risk
by Donna Hales & D. E. Smoot
     Police officers lying, getting fired and then being put back to work by a merit board is a “big problem” for prosecutors and police, said U.S. Attorney Sheldon Sperling.
Donna Hales and D.E. Smoot discovered the risks of state and federal prosecutors using such an officer as a witness in a criminal case. As a result, some important cases might have to be dismissed because the officer’s testimony is deemed unreliable.
Hale and Smoot also revealed how recent federal court decisions make it mandatory for prosecutors to turn over to the defense evidence in the personnel files of officers whose credibility is an issue.
This problem is great enough that some states have taken the stance that a police officer who lies should be terminated as a matter of public policy.
A June testimony in a merit board hearing for suspended Muskogee Police Officer Jeremy Jenkins is used as an example of the “big problem.” Jenkins was accused of lying during his testimony in a December merit board hearing on his alleged use of excessive force.

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