Oklahoma’s approach to drug enforcement has evolved in recent years, most notably when voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018. But the changing laws have created a major challenge for police departments: How do you enforce existing laws that prohibit “drugged” driving when medical marijuana is legal?
It’s nearly impossible to imagine seeing an arrest take place on TV without the familiar words: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”
A mom was sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing necessities and toys from a Walmart. A military veteran was sentenced to 17 years for pawning a stolen laptop. A man served 33 years in prison for $400 worth of bad checks.
Thomas Webb III still doesn’t like to discuss the horrors he experienced behind the bars of an Oklahoma prison. Sentenced to 60 years for rape in 1983, he arrived to prison at the bottom of the food chain.
Oklahoma’s upcoming ballot measure - State Question 805 - would end a long-held practice in Oklahoma of enhancing prison sentences where a person has been previously convicted of the same or similar crimes. The measure has received widespread support, including from some unlikely places.
Like most of my clients, I’ve been arrested. It was a scary, confusing, unjust experience that shaped my legal career. Here is my story.
The life of Alice Marie Johnson seems every bit like a Hollywood movie. But to her, the facts of her life leading up to the moment she was pardoned in August are all too real.
For the last three decades, Jim* has been racked with a singular kind of anxiety known only to ex-felons.
The appalling statistics are familiar to advocates of criminal justice reform. Oklahoma incarcerated a greater percentage of its population than anywhere else on earth - including dictatorships and failed states.
Lawmakers in Washington are for the first time considering what was once unthinkable - making marijuana legal nationwide.
John Grisham is one of the best-selling authors of all time, having published over 40 suspense novels and legal thrillers. Only one of his bestselling books, however, is a true story.
An estimated 23 million people across the United States have hit the streets for protests reacting to the police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the spring of 2020.
Warren Rawls didn’t measure the time in weeks or months that remained in his Oklahoma prison sentence for nonviolent drug possession. He counted time in days.
One of the most surprisingly positive and bipartisan moments of the Donald Trump Presidency came in 2018 when he signed the federal First Step Act. Passage of the Act was praised by activists, advocates, and lawmakers across the political spectrum in Washington.
A controversial death penalty case in Oklahoma is prompting fiery debate over criminal justice reform and systemic racism.
Tarra Simmons could hardly believe how far she’d come. The same prosecutor’s office in Kitsap County, Washington that once convicted her of drug offenses and sent her to prison had just endorsed her candidacy for the state legislature. In November, she will be a contender for Washington’s district 23 - a far cry from the prison yard at Mission Creek Correctional where she served a 30 month sentence.
Communities around the nation and in Oklahoma are seeing increased domestic violence reports
“Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”
The US Supreme Court handed down a major decision yesterday in McGirt v. Oklahoma that could fundamentally alter the criminal justice system in eastern Oklahoma. The case is based on a question of jurisdiction: Did the State of Oklahoma have the right to prosecute a major crime committed by a tribal member if the crime was committed on a reservation? To decide, justices had to determine if the area was still legally a reservation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Expungement can help restore critical job, education, and civic options for people with a criminal conviction who want to put it behind them.
New changes from the SBA allow some small business owners with criminal records to seek COVID-related stimulus funds.
Many Oklahomans are familiar with the horrific 1980’s era murders of Ada residents Denise Haraway and Debbie Carter. The shocking brutality of the crimes and the relative tranquility of the small town they occurred in created a media sensation, and immense pressure to find the killers.
Several states have automated the expungement process while Oklahoma has opted for a manual approach.
Every convict serves two sentences. The first is the days, weeks, months, and years assigned to prison, probation, and parole. The second sentence served is a lifetime of stigma for having been convicted of a crime.
For many, hope for a new life begins with expungement.
Past convictions are standing in the way of critical pandemic aid to small businesses
From interior designer to landscape architect, felons face job licensing restrictions
Former Oklahoma Senator David Boren once led a campaign to seal FBI records
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Many could already apply to have their criminal records expunged without knowing it
Why it failed, what has changed, and what comes next for Oklahoma convicts and their families.
A DUI can complicate many parts of your life, including your ability to get a job or an apartment. If you have a DUI arrest or conviction that is causing you problems, an expungement may be the answer.
Even a misdemeanor conviction can cause you serious problem long after your conviction. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor that has led to issues with jobs, housing, or school, an expungement may be the answer.
House Bill 1269 would require the re-sentencing of drug offenders convicted before State Question 780 went into effect on July 1, 2017. The bill would apply to inmates whose crimes were reclassified from felonies to misdemeanors by the referendum. There are around 1,300 Oklahomans currently incarcerated for simple drug possession.
The US Supreme Court has applied the 8th Amendment to states and prohibits excessive fines and restricts civil forfeitures:
When I worked as a prosecutor, my approach for non-violent defendants was rehabilitation, not incarceration. Incarceration does not rehabilitate a person who has a drug problem and once a person who is incarcerated for a drug-related/induced offense is released from prison, they don’t have the tools necessary to get meaningful employment or reintegrate into society.