After getting cited for a fight with a local business owner at a festival in August, Sen. Tom Woods is employing two attorneys to fight the town of Westville over his municipal disorderly conduct citation in Adair County District Court.
Woods, who won election to represent District 4 in the Oklahoma State Senate on Aug. 23, said he plans on resolving the five-month situation soon.
“That’ll be settled in district court,” Woods said. “We’ll have it resolved shortly.”
SD 4 lies on the Arkansas border and encompasses all of Adair County, as well as most of Delaware and Sequoyah counties.
Because the physical altercation resulted from his claim that Woods owes him money, Stanley, the mechanic, called Woods’ refusal to pay his ticket “ironic.”
“It definitely is ironic that he won’t pay debt that is owed,” Stanley said.
‘Nothing that I’d ever seen before’
Stanley had filed a lien against Woods in July after he said the freshman senator refused to pay Stanley for work he had done on Woods’ truck. Stanley’s lien was dismissed in court because the statute of limitations had run out.
Weeks later, when the two men ran into each other at the conclusion of the Westville Melon and Barbecue Festival, they got into a verbal altercation — each man calling the other a “crook” — that turned physical.
“He just kept getting louder, and we was arguing, and before I knew it, I hit him, and I think he fell down the stairs or steps or whatever, and of course I followed, and I hit him a couple more times,” Stanley told NonDoc in August.
A Westville police officer cited Stanley for disorderly conduct and assault and battery, and Woods was also cited for disorderly conduct. While Stanley said he has already paid his fines, Woods and his attorneys — after unsuccessfully attempting to have his ticket dismissed in Westville’s municipal court on Jan. 26 — are now planning on fighting the town’s citation potentially before a jury in Adair County District Court.
“They denied our motion to dismiss, and it was just really a strange proceeding,” said Jeff Jones, one of Woods’ lawyers. “I’m not gonna cast aspersions on the judge of the court, but it was really nothing that I’d ever seen before.”
Jones and Woods’ other lawyer, Rex Earl Starr, said Woods should never have received a ticket because Westville police did not witness the altercation and therefore did not have authority to cite him without a warrant. When they tried to make that argument Jan. 26 in Westville Municipal Court, Judge Scott Hickman denied their motion to dismiss, confounding Woods’ lawyers.
Jones also said he never received the formal ruling from the judge that would allow him to file an appeal, instead only getting a phone call from the city attorney informing him that he was almost out of time to appeal to district court.
“I said, ‘Well, what? The time (to appeal) hasn’t even run,'” Jones recalled telling Westville’s attorney. Jones said he could not file an appeal without the judge’s ruling. “So, it’s just a weird deal. I don’t know what’s going on. (…) Anyway, I’m confident it will be dismissed.”
According to the case listed on the Oklahoma State Court Network website, Woods’ lawyers did succeed in filing the appeal Wednesday, Feb. 8. A representative of the Adair County District Court said Woods’ petition had not been scanned yet and was unavailable to the public as of today.
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Stanley: ‘Pay the stupid ticket’
Stanley was summoned to appear in Westville Municipal Court Jan. 26 as a witness along with others who had helped break up the August fight. (Stanley said one woman had her shoulder dislocated during the melee and another was accidentally struck in the face by Woods.)
“If he’d just pay the stupid ticket and go on, it would have been a done deal, but yet now he’s going to draw more attention to himself by making it go to a jury trial over a $240 ticket,” Stanley said. “It’s not smartest thing to do.”
Stanley, an ardent Woods critic during the 2022 election who described the senator as “not good for business,” also acknowledged his own role in the altercation.
“I’m a man, I owned up for what I did,” Stanley said. “You know, I took my responsibility. I went and paid my tickets. There’s no issue there. I’m not denying whatever I’ve done.”
However, Stanley said Woods was also responsible for the public fight.
“Tom was the one who instigated it because he kept screaming and yelling that I was the crook, and that’s why I lost in court,” Stanley recalled. “And then we started arguing. And then about halfway through that, I was getting madder and then I wound up hitting him.”
Stanley continued his comments with criticism of Woods.
“In my eyes, he thinks he’s got power, and I believe he thinks that he can just get completely out of it,” Stanley said.
But Jones disagreed with Stanley’s assessment of Woods’ situation.
“First of all, he was wrongly accused — he was beaten up. And then for him to suffer the indignity of having to pay a price for getting beat up — I’m not sure that I would sit still for it either,” Jones said with a laugh. “It’s just a crazy deal.”
As he has fought to get his ticket dismissed, Woods has also kept himself busy getting ready for his first legislative session as a state senator, including one social media post where deputies in the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office shot Woods with a Taser to demonstrate some of their training.
Woods, who turns 28 in March, has been appointed to serve on five committees for the 2023 legislative session, which began Monday. Woods serves on the:
- Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
- Appropriations and Budget Committee
- General Government and Transportation Committee
- Energy and Telecommunications Committee
- Retirement and Insurance Committee