3 minute read

Turns out, the legal counsel for the Jail Trust has determined that the motion to remove ICE from the Oklahoma County Jail did not pass after all after having been declared passed by the vice-chair during the Monday afternoon meeting.

Later in the evening Monday, John Williams, legal counsel for the Criminal Justice Authority (Jail Trust), notified chair Tricia Everest that the 4-2-1 vote to remove ICE from the Oklahoma County Jail was not in keeping with the Trust’s bylaws.

Because of that, he has declared that the motion did not pass after all.

Everest messaged Free Press with the news of the reversal hours after our report of the meeting where we said the motion had passed. That’s what the Vice-chair said during the meeting.

Everest said Williams told her that five people needed to vote in the affirmative for the motion to pass and so it did not pass.

Antagonism toward the highly-controversial vote this summer by the Board of County Commissioners to transfer $40 million in CARES Act money to the Jail Trust instead of for assistance to people in need in the county has spilled over into Jail Trust meetings in the recent past. It did so today.

And, after this determination, it is not far fetched to anticipate even more protests at the next meeting of the Trust.

The vote

Chair Tricia Everest had to leave the meeting before the vote and turned over the meeting to Vice-Chair Jim Couch.

As Free Press reported after the meeting, Kevin Calvey and Todd Lamb voted against the motion.

Danny Honeycutt, sitting in the Sheriff P.D. Taylor, abstained.

And, trustees M.T. Berry, Ben Brown, Jim Couch, and Frances Ekwerekwu voted for the motion.

Late determination

A review of the meeting video shows that Williams said nothing in response to Vice-Chair Jim Couch’s declaration that the motion had passed. The meeting went on to other items before adjournment without a word from Williams about the ICE motion vote. The meeting adjourned without any mention from Williams.

The following is video from the meeting queued to the end when the vote was taken on the motion to remove ICE from the Oklahoma County Jail.

Free Press reached out by email to Williams before publication late Monday and he confirmed our information received from Everest.

Everest messaged us the following about 8:15 p.m. Monday:

“Authority attorney, John Michael Williams, was asked what constitutes a majority for affirmative action. Article VII (3) calls for a majority of trustees. He quotes-

‘….while the vote among those voting was 4 to 2 for approval, with one abstention, the Trust did not take official action because there were less than five affirmative votes.’”

What next?

We asked Everest what this means for the operation of the Jail for the time being.

“Greg [Williams, Jail administrator] will continue operating as he has. The item most likely will [be] placed on a subsequent agenda. —- I can’t speak to what Greg and administration have been doing, except providing reasonable notice to ICE via a phone number they provided the detention center to use.”

The next meeting of the Trust is not until October 5.


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