OUJI-CR 3-27

REMOVAL OF PUBLIC OFFICER

A/n [Identify Public Officer] may be removed from office for [any of] the following causes(s):

[habitual or willful neglect of duty]

[gross partiality in office]

[oppression in office]

[corruption in office]

[extortion or willful overcharge of fees in office]

[willful maladministration]

[habitual drunkenness]

[failure to produce and account for all public funds and property in his/her hands, at any settlement or inspection authorized or required by law].

[Willful neglect of duty means that the [Identify Public Officer]'s act/(failure to act) was for a bad or evil purpose, or that the [Identify Public Officer] deliberately acted/(failed to act) contrary to a known duty. Mere thoughtless acts, with no bad or evil purpose, in which there is no inexcusable carelessness or recklessness on the part of a/n [Identify Public Officer] do not justify removal from office.].

[Corruption in office means the [Identify Public Officer]'s unlawful and wrongful use of his/her public office to procure a benefit for himself/herself or another person, contrary to duty and the rights of others.]

[Willful maladministration means that the [Identify Public Officer]'s acts were done with a bad or evil intent or were contrary to a known duty, or the [Identify Public Officer] was inexcusably reckless in performing/(failing to perform) an official duty. Mere thoughtless acts, with no bad or evil purpose, or not involving inexcusable recklessness, even though they involve serious errors of judgment, do not justify removal from office.].

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Statutory Authority: 22 O.S. 1991, §§ 1181-1197.

Notes on Use

Since a proceeding for removal of a public officer is initiated by an accusation from a grand jury (or the board of county commissioners for a county or township officer), OUJI-CR 1-8 should be modified to remove the references to informations and indictments. See 22 O.S. 1991, §§ 1182 (grand jury), 1194 (board of county commissioners).

The trial court should select the appropriate grounds for removal from office from the list in the first paragraph, and it should then give the definitions that correspond to the grounds that were selected.

Committee Comments

A proceeding for removal of a public officer has attributes of both a criminal and a civil action. State ex rel. Grand Jury v. Pate, 572 P.2d 226, 228 (Okl. 1977). Nevertheless, the trial is conducted in the same way as a misdemeanor trial. 22 O.S. 1991, § 1191.

The definitions of willful neglect of duty and willful maladministration were taken from Phillips v. State, 75 Okl. Cr. 46, 181 P. 713 (1919) (Syllabus 2) (willful neglect of duty), and Shields v. State, 184 Okl. Cr. 618, 89 P.2d 756 (1939).