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Thursday, May 29, 2008 

EXCLUSIVE: Commissioner Jim Roth Arrested for DUI in '95; Resolution of Case a Mystery

Monday June 2nd begins Oklahoma's filing period for elective offices, and thanks to the proliferation of blogs, Oklahomans will have more information about candidates than ever before.

Some of the information will be items that the old and slow media, dogged by conflicts of interest from their wealthy owners, simply will not share with their readers, listeners and viewers. Some information will get altered, due to people like Mike Turpen, who tried to kill an extraordinary, and true, story that was damaging to his buddy Drew Edmondson. Some information is tainted, as exemplified by Turpen continually pimping his clients, without disclosing that fact to his viewers on the formerly respected political affairs show Flashpoint.

Further, with the slow and lazy Oklahoma media, the last minute dirty trick has become standard operating procedure. Responses through traditional media seldom are successful. Sometimes the press makes value judgments that a particular claim is in fact a dirty trick when it is not: the press erred when it did not take seriously Gary Jones' campaign claims about disgraced Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan. The press didn't do its job, and the voters did not have the information they deserved before they re-elected McMahan. Some watchdog, huh?

But there's also the clever tactic some candidates use when, in the rare occasions the press actually does their job and uncovers real character issues, to denigrate the information by actually employing the 'victim' mode: "they're throwing mud,"as the saying goes.

At OKPNS, we think open and vigorous discussion is what the votes deserve. After yesterday's revelations about Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud's ties to the George Soro's radical-left Aspen Institute, it seems another issue that could dog corporation commission elections is beginning surfacing.

OKPNS has obtained a copy of an arrest report that is being circulated. Commissioner Roth was arrested December 12, 1995 after 2 AM in a section of town known for its gay nightlife. Roth was arrested for DUI and following too closely. He refused the arresting officer's request for the "implied consent request," most likely a blood or breathalyzer test, and he was accompanied by Joe Mark Elkouri, a special municipal judge, who according to the arresting officer's report, appears to bargain with the officers to make the officer "forget this happened." The officer refused, and called in a supervising official. Elkouri died less than a year later after what the paper referred to as a lengthy illness.

It should be noted that the report by the arresting officer is in a public document that represents the officer's opinion that Roth was intoxicated. There are no attachments to the documents detailing how the case was adjudicated, and there is no indication from the report that Roth was involved in the effort to make the officer "forget this happened."

Excerpt from the police report
. (Click here, here, and here to read entire report. Click on image to enlarge)

"(Elkouri) then stated to this officer, "There must be something I can do to make you forget this happened." I informed(Elkouri) that there was nothing he could do and that (Roth) was under arrest for DUI. (Elkouri) continued to state that he was a special judge and that (Roth) should not be arrested."

Undoubtedly, this document would have surfaced in the late hours of either the primary or general election. Now it's out in the open, regardless, the public will, and Roth's opponents, will demand an explanation for his behavior.

Some will say the incident, which happened in December 1995, is unfair to Roth because it was so long ago. That's non-sense. It's been nearly 40 years since Chappaquiddick, and Sen. Kennedy is yet to come clean. George W. Bush was hit with a DUI revelation less than 48 hours before the 2000 election. There were no Democrats screaming foul on that night. The public deserves to know, and Roth deserves time to make that explanation.


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Posted at 5/29/2008 01:00:00 PM

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