McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 1, 2014

District Attorney Ward faces OBA complaint; denies allegations

McALESTER — The Oklahoma Bar Association has filed a complaint against District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward — with Ward and his attorney strongly denying the allegations.

As the case now stands, it’s expected to be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court later this year, perhaps as soon as March or April.

Ward is the current district attorney for Pittsburg and Haskell counties.

Ward said Friday the action does not have any affect at this point on his handling the district attorney’s office. None of the complaints have been proven.

The OBA’s complaint is in regard to a 2009 first-degree murder case Ward prosecuted as an assistant district attorney in Muskogee County.

In the complaint, the OBA is seeking disciplinary action against Ward.

Ward, who served as prosecutor in the case, obtained a first-degree murder conviction against Clifford R. Potts, of Council Hill, in the 2004 death of Gregory Leroy Clark, of Boynton.

Testimony during the 10-day 2009 trial indicated Clark had been shot in both arms, and had been beaten and cut.

Following the conviction, Potts was sentenced to life without parole.

However, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in 2010 that Potts didn’t get a fair trial because of an inadequate defense and remanded the case back to district court for the collection of additional relevant evidence, according to the OBA complaint.

On Jan. 10, 2011, Judge Thomas Alford found that Potts had received ineffective defense counsel and was prejudiced by his attorney’s failures during the investigation and at trial.

“The district court further concluded that the State failed to provide complete discovery in connection with consideration that the jailhouse informant Peter Williams received for his cooperation during the prosecution of Potts” in violation of state and federal law, the OBA stated.

In an unusual move, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office joined in Potts’ plea for reversal of his murder conviction and life without the possibility of parole sentence, according to the OBA complaint.

In July 2011, after considering the district court’s new finding of fact and conclusions of law, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the verdict and remanded the case for a new trial.

On July 2, 2012, Judge Mike Norman dismissed the murder case against Potts. The state appealed the decision to the Court of Criminal Appeals, but ultimately moved to dismiss the appeal, according to court documents.

On Dec. 20, 2012, the court granted the state’s motion to dismiss.

In addition to Ward, the OBA has also filed a complaint against Potts’ defense attorney Rex Earl Starr.

Ward’s attorney, Doug Sanders, of Poteau, prevailed in the latest argument before the Supreme Court in regard to the complaint.

The OBA sought to have the disciplinary action cases against Starr and Ward heard as a joint proceeding.

Sanders and Ward objected, preferring to have the matter regarding Ward heard on its own.

In an order filed Tuesday, Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Master William G. LaSorsa denied the OBA’s motion to join the two cases and ruled they will now be treated as separate proceedings

In the complaint, the OBA accuses Ward of failing to provide discovery evidence to Potts’ defense attorney — meaning evidence prosecutors might have that the defense could use in bolstering its case for acquittal.

One of the main complaints is that jailhouse witness Williams had other charges against him dropped in exchange for his testimony in the Potts murder case.

Ward, who said he had to take the case to trial on a few weeks notice after the original Muskogee County assistant DA handling the case was terminated, said he never knew of any such agreement.

“I was put in on the trial at the very last minute,” Ward said Friday.

“My first conversation with the witness, I said ‘Were you promised anything?”’ Ward said the witness told him that he had not.

“I did not have time to search for anything that was not there,” Ward said.

It was only after the conviction and an appeal was filed that another assistant district attorney discovered that an application to revoke a previous sentence had been dropped because Williams was going to testify in the Potts trial, Ward said.

Ward said he had been unaware of that.

“That should have been divulged to the defense,” he said.

Ward said he’s convinced Williams was not aware of the application to revoke and had answered truthfully when he said he had not been promised anything in exchange for his testimony,

In court documents, the OBA disagreed.

“The respondent (Ward) knew, or should have known, that this testimony was false,” the OBA complaint alleges, referring to Wiliams’ denial that he received any leniency or advantage in exchange for his testimony against Potts,

The OBA also accuses Ward of failing to provide the defense attorney with criminal records discovery for Williams and five other prosecution witnesses in the case.

Ward said he would never intentionally withhold discovery evidence from the defense.

Neither Tommy Humphries, who is representing the OBA in the case, nor OBA General Counsel Debbie Maddox could be reached for comment as this article was being prepared for publication. Messages left for them Friday did not get a response as this article was being prepared.

Ward said he’s ready to present his case to the state Supreme Court.

“I’m looking forward to being able to show the court what happened and being cleared of these allegations,” he said.

Contact James Beaty at Contact Jeanne Leflore at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Speed bump need for speed bump

    City of Krebs Street Supervisor, Kevin Mick, along with his crew and Krebs Mayor Bobby Watkins, put the finishing touch on the new speed bumps they installed at Krebs Public School that were paid and provided by the city of Krebs for the safety of the students and teachers.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • FLOODED.jpg Heavy rains knocks out sheriff's phones, flood emergency management offices

    Regular phone lines for the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management were knocked out in the early morning hours Thursday, while about 18 inches of water flooded the OEM office under the Pittsburg County Justice Center.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • coins Indian Territory Coin Club will meet Aug. 11

    The Indian Territory Coin Club will meet Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Angel's Diner on 69 Bypass South, McAlester. The program will be on ancient coins. Contact Gary at 405-426-9044 for further information.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • commissioners.png Gas company files appeal

    They’ve decided to hire an attorney.
    Pittsburg County commissioners plan to hire a lawyer to represent in an appeal filed in district court on behalf of an oil and gas company protesting the amount of its ad valorem tax assessment.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpack Backpack-stuffers prepare for Bash

    Workers and volunteers at Shared Blessings were busy Wednesday getting ready for this weekend’s Back-to-School Bash, preparing to give away backpacks and school supplies for children and teens who will soon start the new school year.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Car gets stuck in flood water, flood water receding

    July 31, 2014

  • 07 30 SOUTH AVE 1.jpg 'Road Closed' means just that

    No road.
    No kidding.
    For months, signs placed along South Avenue and Country Club Road read “Road Closed Ahead” — although the roads were still open.

    Now though, the “Road Closed Ahead” signs on South Avenue, along with those on Country Club Road and Peaceable Road, mean exactly what they say.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg City extends 17th Street construction deadline to mid-September

    A Stillwater company working on the Seventeenth Street Capital Improvement Project for the city of McAlester now has until mid-September to complete the job.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Devin Mitchell McAlester man facing rape charges has hearing date set

    A preliminary hearing date has been set for a man who is facing charges of rape in the first degree (victim under age 14) and sodomy, victim under the age of 16.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • comish County to decide on liquor sales

    They’re ready to give the voters a shot.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.