Clay County Sheriff addresses official oppression charges

Local News

CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde says he wants the public to understand the full story surrounding his recent indictments for official oppression.

In a much-anticipated news conference, Sheriff Lyde spoke out on what he calls a very unusual situation that he found himself in the middle of.

“Standing in this room is probably over one hundred years of law enforcement experience, tens of thousands of affidavits, I’ve never seen this before. I’ve never seen this kind of behavior at any time on an affidavit,” Lyde said.

The behavior Sheriff Lyde is referring to are his indictments that allege that back in July he intentionally held two inmates Sarah Johnson and Landon Goad in jail longer than 48 hours without a finding of probable cause by a magistrate

Lyde says Justice of the Peace John Swenson wanted changes to the affidavit before the JP was notified about changes that were made, was asked to return to the jail and then failed to do so. Lyde says it was all out of his control.

“One, I’m not a magistrate, and at the time, we only had a single person doing the magistration and doing the bonding and that was Judge Swenson,” Lyde said.

Lyde says he just wants the air to be cleared when it comes to his role in this ordeal.

“When I found out they were in the jail, I was actually in Fort Worth that weekend and not here, nor in the jail. Nor was it my responsibility to magistrate or bond them at that time,” Lyde said.

Sheriff Lyde shares that because of the magistrate and affidavit issue the problem wasn’t solved until the day after the 48-hour period, and that’s where his indictments came from.

“When people get put in jail, you have to have a document as you all probably know we can’t just go latch people off the streets and throw them in jail. You have to have a document to put them in the jail and a document to release them from the jail,” Lyde said.

Lyde adds that in the future, he hopes to not have a repeat of this kind of situation in Clay County.

We’ve reached out to Judge Swenson for comment on the situation and we haven’t heard back.

Lyde says he doesn’t see these indictments hindering his role as Clay County Sheriff.

Official oppression is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a possible fine of up to 4- thousand dollars.

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