Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Friday filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Bar Association against Rep. Anthony Moore, an attorney and former prosecutor. The complaint alleges blatant legal flaws in the protective orders that Moore admits in assisting his spouse to file against Small and other OCPA staff members. Moore, as an attorney and former prosecutor, knows the law and is bound by the rules of legal ethics not to abuse the judicial process for his own political purposes.
Hiding behind a wife’s skirt? Use of legal license to abuse law? Tweet when not allowed to comment? Only respond to select media? This could get interesting.
Responding to an OCPA release Wednesday, we first called the good representative’s office and were told the only way to contact him was email. His assistant, Ms. Dee Lemon, assured us he would immediately respond. As of publication, we are still waiting for a response, apparently we are not his preferred media or we offended Rep. Moore with our request which follows:
[Emailed: Wed 7/6/2022 1:49 PM] Rep. Moore,
While the season of politic stupidity continues, the issue of your wife’s “abusive” protective order(s) is outstanding. How much protection from First Amendment Activity do you think your family needs? You won the primary by 62.47%.
On those POs, I have received a release of OCPA which is copied below… Please feel free to address any particular point (please highlight your notes). I am working on this and will be reaching out to OCPA as well.
Also, I notice that your bio is not available on your House page – why is that? Details of your past needing rewrites? You were elected in 2020, how much rewriting time do you need? Only during campaigns? If you would like to call, feel free, but I am limited in time today with a meeting at 4 pm. This is a media request for public comment.
That Wednesday request for public comment has not, as of this writing, been answered. Tulsa Today did not cover that first release – we wanted to get both sides of the story. Friday, regarding the complaint, Small made the following comments in a second media release:
“There never were any grounds, legal or factual, for these protective orders. This was a political ploy by Moore to bully his critics and position himself as a victim before his election. He is entitled to his opinions and his freedom of speech, but he has no right to abuse legal processes. As an attorney, he is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct.
“The Oklahoma State Bar Association should hold Moore accountable. If it finds that he misled the court or committed any crimes, his ability to practice law in our state should be over,” Small said.
The protective orders were filed shortly before the primary election and then dismissed at the Moores’ request immediately after the election and prior to a court hearing. While protective orders are often used in embittered endings, it is against the law to lie to a court. To request dismissal prior to a hearing deprives the accused opportunity to answer what falsehoods may have been presented in the filing. OCPA assert they will continue to consider “additional legal options to remedy this abuse.”
While Moore did not respond nor have his attorney respond to Tulsa Today, he did retweet OKC media coverage of his attorney’s statement on this issue to his twitter account. Moore also asserts on that thread, a confidentiality clause was agreed to by the parties in the “settlement” which Tulsa Today believes is a “statement” his attorney asserts he cannot make. Moore has tweeted other notes and photos to drive this issue down the page of his twitter account. He clearly wants the issue to disappear now that he has won his primary election. That is unlikely.
The complaint includes the following: “The filing of these actions was an abusive political stunt. It misused the tools of justice—particularly a process intended to protect real victims—as a weapon against perceived political opponents. In doing so, Moore misrepresented both the facts and the law. It appears he mislead a judge and may have suborned perjury. His conduct violated the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct and was far below the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Standards of Professionalism, which state that a lawyer “will not make statements that are false” and will “be honest, professional and civil.”
“Title 22 is clear that only someone who is currently or was previously an intimate partner or family or household member may seek a protective order. An exception is for allegations of stalking, but stalking was not alleged in the petition nor was a police report included (which is required for stalking). The lack of necessary relationship was also apparent on the face of the petition,” the complaint states (emphasis added).
While the parties, hopefully, will resolve this so that Oklahoma may focus on more critical issues of policy, the use and possible misuse of protective orders is an issue of importance in every Oklahoma courthouse.
Further, how well the Oklahoma Bar Association manages compliance by politically connected members will tell the public a great deal about the credibility of Oklahoma’s judicial system – accountability or lack thereof.