McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

January 28, 2013

Layden case deferred for a year


Submitted report

McALESTER —

Former Pittsburg County District Judge William H.  Layden Jr. has agreed to terms of an agreement that calls for prosecution in a conspiracy case against him to be deferred for year, as long as certain conditions are met.
Creek County District Judge Joe Sam Vassar, appointed to preside over the case, signed off  on the document along with Oklahoma Assistant Attorney Megan Tilly and Layden’s defense counsel, Tulsa attorney Rob Nigh.
The agreement requires Layden to pay $4,700 to the State Auditor and Inspector’s Office, which is one-third of the cost of an audit the agency conducted of District 18 Drug Court.
Also, the terms required Layden to agree to not to violate the law and to not seek any judicial offices or any other public offices.
As part of the agreement, Judge Vassar signed a document to sustain the state’s motion to dismiss the case against Layden.
Also as part of the agreement, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office agreed to dismiss a perjury charge with three counts filed against Layden in Oklahoma County in connection with his testimony before the multicounty grand jury, according to Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Megan Tilly, who has been prosecuting the case along with Assistant AG Charles Rogers.
Layden, 62, had been indicted by the Oklahoma Multicounty Grand Jury in October 2011 on a single count of conspiracy, along with former District 18 District Attorney Michael Miller and Angie Marcum, the former District 18 drug court coordinator.
The indictment accused Layden of interfering with an investigation into alleged embezzlement of drug court funds, with the probe being conducted by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the state Auditor and Inspector’s Office.
The cases against Marcum and Miller are still pending.
As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, Layden waived his right to a speedy trial.
“This waiver is voluntary and in consideration of the deferred prosecution only,” the signed waiver states.
Layden also signed an affidavit in the case, noting he served as the special judge assigned to District 18 Drug Court from February 2006 until June 2010, while Marcum served as the District 18 drug court coordinator.
“In May, 2010, I  learned there was a Multicounty Grand Jury investigation of the District 18 Drug Court, and there would also be an audit in order to determine if there had been a misappropriation of funds by Ms. Marcum,” Layden said in the affidavit.
“I was unduly trusting of Ms. Marcum at this time and believed she had been unjustly accused,” Layden said. “I then took actions I should not have taken, and which cold have had the effect of hampering the OSBI and the Multicounty Grand Jury,” Layden said in the affidavit.
“Specifically, I asked Assistant District Attorney Mike Miller to interview drug court participants based upon statements made by Angie Marcum alleging certain drug court participants might be responsible for missing funds and an alleged missing receipt book,” Layden alleged in the signed affidavit.
“At the time, I was unaware drug court participants were not being provided sequentially numbered state issued receipts for payments they were making and on many occasions were being provided “sticky notes” that were never properly documented,” Layden continued.
“If I had been aware of these facts I would never have asked Mike Miller to make any inquiry of drug court participants whatsoever,” Layden said in the affidavit.
“I now believe I should have taken no action in connection worth the investigation, but should have allowed it to be handled by completely independent agencies,” Layden continued.
“The evidence I have now seen makes me believe the state can prove Ms. Marcum did embezzle funds from the District 18 Drug Court and that she used me in an effort to deflect attention to drug court participants and away from herself,” Layden alleged in the affidavit.
Marcum has pleaded innocent to the charges against her and her attorney has stated her belief that Marcum will be vindicated.