Oklahoma State Representative Kevin Calvey (R-Del City) introduced a bill back in February that sought to remove prosecution of state officials by local prosecutors and, instead, place all prosecutorial duties in the hands of the state’s attorney general. Since that time, he has pulled the bill.
“The problem that the bill sought to address, was a preemptive measure to ward off a situation like that which was done in Texas, where you have a local prosecutor, in this case in Austin, only answerable to the local voters, not the statewide voters,” he said. “The prosecutor in Texas was engaging in, what people across the political spectrum agree is an abusive, witch hunt prosecution against Governor Perry.”
Calvey said that it seemed wrong that Perry could be prosecuted by a local prosecutor, who would only be answerable to a small group of the state, even though the governor was elected across the state. He also pointed out that the politics of Texas is very much like a lot of other states in that it is mostly conservative until you get into bigger cities. Austin is most definitely a liberal city.
All of this is why Rep. Calvey introduced the bill so that these kinds of political witch hunts couldn’t take place.
“Clearly that was a problem in Texas and I wanted to try and do something to make sure that doesn’t occur in Oklahoma,” Rep. Calvey said. Then he gave his reason for pulling the bill.
“I pulled the bill from consideration because I learned after I filed it that we may have already in our law a procedure that may help prevent that,” he said. “It’s not as explicit as this bill could have been, but there is something that will help in this kind of situation.”
On its surface, the bill and motive seem to make sense, but representatives like Calvey are elected in their district. So, a local prosecutor would be more than adequate to deal with any criminal activity a representative would engage in. The governor is most definitely a different story.
Calvey agreed with my assessment that in the federal government the Justice Department and President are linked together, one elected and the other appointed. Therefore, if you have a corrupt president and you have a corrupt Attorney General (like we do now), you will never see justice brought forward.
However, that is not how things work in Oklahoma. Both the attorney general and the governor are elected by the people and are often from different parties. Currently the governor and attorney general are of the same party, but have been known to have some tension over issues.
Still some were suspicious. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said, “It’s a big deal to me. I’m upset and concerned. This bill creates a different class of citizens that would be protected from the normal prosecution process.”
“I am suspicious … that is what this is really about,” Prater added.
Calvey did acknowledge that some people, like Prater, viewed his bill as an attempt to escape arrest and prosecution. The Mint Press led with a headline that painted the bill as just that. However, he said that was never the intention and I believe the clear reading of the bill makes that clear. Here’s the brief text.
“The jurisdiction of a prosecution against a principal in the commission of a public offense, when such principal is a state elected official, state legislator, district court judicial officer, appellate judicial officer or an appointee of a state board or state commission at the time of the commission of the offense, is within the sole and exclusive prosecutorial authority of the Attorney General of Oklahoma. Such an action must be filed in the county of residence of the state officer.” (Emphasis mine)
I don’t see where anyone is not allowing for prosecution. The bill would have simply determined who is doing the prosecution, and that prosecutor would be elected by the people of Oklahoma and thus be accountable to them.
While Rep. Calvey did say that if he were to re-introduce the bill, he would remove legislators from the text, the issue he was going after was to “not allow a locally elected official, who is not elected statewide, to do statewide damage.” In other words, make sure they deal only in their designated jurisdictions.
“Nobody is above prosecution,” Calvey told us. “Had this bill gone through, it would have only designated who was doing the prosecuting.”
Rep. Calvey said that he reached out to the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council for help in crafting the bill. He said that normally there would have been a request for an “interim study” before presenting a bill like this. He admitted that did not take place.
Calvey was elected in 2014 to the state legislature and made news recently with comments that if his Christian beliefs about suicide didn’t prevent him from doing so, he would set himself on fire to protest the evil of the murder of the unborn. He has also previously taken on the designated terror group Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Oklahoma representative served for a period of time in the state legislature before stepping down after 9/11 to go serve in Iraq. During that time, he told me that he was involved in seeing many jihadists receive death sentences via the Iraq courts, but not as a part of Sharia, but under a secular government.