Tulsa County Courthouse

Despite the pandemic-triggered federal moratorium on residential evictions, evictions do still happen in certain cases here in the Tulsa area. Why? Our guest is Prof. Roni Amit, who's with the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic at the University of Tulsa College of Law. This clinic, per its website, "addresses access to justice for marginalized communities in Tulsa, with a particular focus on the intersection of legal needs within these communities.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

People charged with misdemeanors in Tulsa County who have had their cases delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic could soon get their day in court, but not actually in a courtroom.

The county has reached an agreement with ASM Global to have court dates at the Cox Business Convention Center. The first one will be Jan. 29. Initial appearances cases where the defendant is not in custody will be on the dockets. Many of those have been postponed because the courthouse lacks space.

Rose District

Broken Arrow’s Rose District will be the home of a satellite office for the Tulsa County Court Clerk.

The office will process civil filings and should be up and running by February.

City of Broken Arrow Economic Development Manager Norm Stephens said the idea stemmed from a plan to market the Rose District as a one-stop wedding destination in order to help businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

File photo

Evictions are not among the in-person proceedings Tulsa County judges voted to suspend until Jan. 11 because of rising coronavirus infections.

Eviction hearings were previously moved to the Family Justice Center, which is not covered by a new administrative order issued this week.

Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation Executive Director Katie Dilks said continuing in-person eviction hearings makes Tulsa County an outlier.

KWGS File Photo

All in-person proceedings at the Tulsa County District Court will be suspended from Dec. 8 through Jan. 11 because of rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Jury trials will be suspended until Feb. 1. A November administrative order had suspended them until Jan. 11.

Court proceedings involving defendants in custody will continue to be done via videoconferencing.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County District Court Presiding Judge William LaFortune has ordered the suspension of jury trials and some other court activity due to rising COVID-19 rates.

"Due to an increase in Covid-19 infections in Tulsa County and surrounding areas, the following modifications will be instituted," LaFortune wrote in a Nov. 18 internal memo obtained by Public Radio Tulsa.

The memo lists jury trials and preliminary issue hearings as suspended from Nov. 25 until Jan. 11 of next year.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The $500,000 bond for an Uber driver charged with murder in Tulsa has been revoked and he has been returned to jail.

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma prosecutors are seeking to revoke bond for an Uber driver accused of murdering his passenger during a June altercation to ensure he won’t flee the country to avoid prosecution.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler announced Thursday that his office will not be pursuing charges against the driver of a truck who drove through a crowd on I-244 during a protest on May 31st.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler and United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Trent Shores both cited the recent Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma in announcing action in two separate cases, some of the first legal maneuvers navigating what Shores' office calls their "new responsibilities."

Google Street View

Tulsa County District Court announced Monday that it will resume issuing summonses for jury duty, and that it will do its best to reduce jurors' risk of exposure to COVID-19.

In a press release, the court said that jury duty remains "a legal obligation as well as a civic duty."

"Local and county officials are taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for those that visit the Tulsa County Courthouse," the statement reads. "However, no one can guarantee an environment without any risk of exposure."

Google Street View

The Tulsa Board of County Commissioners announced that a resolution limiting public access to the Tulsa County Courthouse due to the coronavirus pandemic will expire on Monday, May 3rd, with a phased reopening beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 4th.

Actual courtrooms, housed physically in the building but under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, will remain closed, but some county services and departments housed in the building, like the county clerk, assessor, and treasurer, will begin to receive the public.

KWGS News

The jury assembly room at the Tulsa County Courthouse is back in order, but there’s still some cleanup to do in the basement. County Buildings Operation Director Dan Belding says there is still air quality testing to do, but results should be in by the end of the week.

The basement should be reopened to the public early next week. It’s been closed because of damage done by a faulty drainpipe earlier this month. Jury selections will NOT resume until next month.

KWGS News

There’s no jury duty call at the Tulsa County Courthouse this week, but there should be one next week. The cancellation comes because a faulty drainpipe flooded the courthouse basement during the big rainstorm last week. County Spokesman Michael Willis says it looks like all is on track to summon jurors next week as scheduled.

No one should report for jury duty this week. When a decision is made about next week, the information will be available by calling the court clerk or going to the Tulsa County website.

KWGS News

No jury duty in Tulsa County next week. The flooded basement has caused court officials to cancel the jury call for September 8th through the 12th. Court Clerk Sally Howe Smith says jurors who were summoned for next week should NOT report to the jury assembly room Monday.

The jury assembly room is in the basement which was flooded because of a faulty drainpipe and heavy rains earlier this week. Howe Smith says there is a chance jury duty for other weeks could be cancelled depending on how long clean-up and repair takes.

Hundreds report for jury duty at the Tulsa County Courthouse. It’s one of the largest jury pools for Tulsa County ever. The line outside the jury assembly room is backed up all the way to the entrance doors in the Courthouse basement as those summoned appear for the current session. There’s a docket of more than a thousand cases awaiting action, including some high profile cases. Undersheriff Tim Albin says judges and court personnel want to make sure they have enough potential jurors to clear as many cases as possible.                                      

KWGS News

Bids are opened for a remodel of the jury assembly room at the Tulsa County Courthouse. It’s the next step now that security entrances have been upgraded. The room where potential jurors assemble in the basement of the courthouse is too small and crowded for today’s needs. Mark Liotta is County Commission Chief Deputy, and he says sometimes potential jurors spend 3,4, or 5 days waiting in the cramped area to be called for a trial.

KWGS News

Work on upgrading Tulsa Courthouse security entrances is on schedule.

Long lines and long waits should be greatly reduced once improvements to entrances on the North and East of the courthouse are complete. The project is on schedule according to Chief County Commission Deputy Mark Liotta, which means the work should be finished by the end of the year.

The improved entrances can handle two lines of pedestrian traffic at security stations instead of only one line as is the case now. Liotta says it should speed up flow into and out of the courthouse.

KWGS News

More construction will slow pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Denver Avenue in downtown Tulsa. Crews are pouring piers for the entryway upgrade on the east side of the Tulsa County Courthouse. Project Manager Kirby Crowe says the sidewalk and one lane of Denver will be closed all week. The outside southbound lane is blocked off to vehicles. Crowe says it’s a good time to do the noisy work of pouring piers because there are no jury trials at the courthouse this week, so it won’t be too disruptive to court business.

KWGS News

Work on improving Tulsa Courthouse entrances hits a snag. While digging in front of the County Courthouse on Denver Avenue, construction crews discovered an old diesel fuel tank that everyone had forgotten was there. County Commission Chief Deputy Mark Liotta says the Department of Environmental Quality will have to inspect the tank and determine any issues that need to be fixed before it can be removed.

File photo

Deputies who helped bring down a courthouse plaza shooter are honored for their ‘heroic’ actions. At a ceremony at the courthouse, Undersheriff Tim Albin read a description of the events outside the Tulsa County courthouse on March 7th. In responding to reports of a shooter on the plaza, Deputy David Fortenberry was wounded in both hands. He received a purple heart and medal of valor at the ceremony.

KWGS News File Photo

A contract is delayed on upgrading security entrances at the Tulsa County Courthouse. The Sheriff says parts of the plan are being re-thought because of the shootout earlier this month. Sheriff Glanz says they’re looking at bullet resistant glass for the renovated entrance on the plaza side of the courthouse and the new entrance on the east side.

                            

Glanz says the new entrances, depending on the cost, would have bullet resistant or bullet proof glass installed.

John Fancher/Tulsa Library

Perhaps you have seen the startling photographs of Andrew Dennehy in a shoot-out with Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday afternoon, in front of the Tulsa County Courthouse. Those pictures were taken by a quick thinking library employee. The ordeal unfolded about 2:40 in the afternoon. Working across the Oxley Plaza on the third floor of the Central Library was media relations staff member John Fancher. Fancher tells KWGS, he heard a pop and looked out his window to see Dennehy shooting into the air. That is when he grabbed his camera and started snapping photographs.

KWGS News Photo

A shootout on the Oakley Plaza in front of the Tulsa County Court House leaves for people injured, including a Tulsa County Sheriff’s Deputy. The shooting took place about 2:40 this afternoon. People rushed for cover from the busy court house plaza as the bullets were flying.