Petition calls for McAlester judge to be impeached
A group of residents is calling on Gov. Mary Fallin to impeach a Pittsburg County judge over his handling of a lewd molestation case involving a 4-year-old girl.
In a petition posted this week on Change.org, the group calls for Judge Matthew Sheets to be removed from office "for his blatant and willful misuse of his authority as a Judge of these United States of America."
Sheets is presiding over the trial of retired McAlester police Lt. Martin Stites, who is accused of molesting a young girl he was babysitting, the McAlester News-Capital reports.
During a hearing last week, three felony sexual abuse charges against Stites were dismissed, the newspaper reported. Stites still faces a single felony count of lewd molestation. During the hearing, the girl's father was jailed on a contempt of court finding after he erupted in anger in the courtroom. The father continued hurling obscenities in court after he was warned to be quiet, the newspaper reports.
Under Oklahoma law, Fallin doesn't have authority to remove judges from office. The Oklahoma Council on Judicial Complaints is responsible for investigating allegations of judicial misconduct. The council may recommend intervention or discipline by the state Supreme Court or the removal or mandatory retirement of a judge. Judges may also be impeached by the Oklahoma House of Representatives.