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Today, the Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission released their findings and recommendations on Oklahoma’s capital punishment system. The ACLU of Oklahoma applauds this courageous report and urges policymakers to consider the recommendations with the speed and seriousness they command. The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission’s findings and recommendations should serve as a blueprint for Oklahoma policy makers as they grapple with the failures of Oklahoma’s entire criminal justice system, not just those in capital cases. Oklahoma lawmakers would be wise to closely follow the thoughtful, evidence based recommendations by the Commission. Doing so might begin to restore dwindling confidence in all criminal prosecutions, but itRead More →

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Foundation (ACLU-OK) seeks applicants for a full-time Staff Attorney to work in our office in Oklahoma City.  The ACLU of Oklahoma Foundation, an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1964 with the mission of preserving and expanding the guarantees of individual liberty found in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. POSITION OVERVIEW: The Staff Attorney will work on a wide range of constitutional issues to bring about systemic change through impact-driven litigation and legal advocacy.  Reporting directly to ACLU-OK’s Legal Director, the Staff Attorney will maintain anRead More →

Version 4

This week a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBNDD), Mark Woodard, made a series of outrageous claims in conversation with The Edmond Sun that marijuana legalization in Colorado has caused a spike in related criminal activity and overdoses. While on its face it is laughable, these demonstrably false claims are an unsettling example of the OBNDD once again advancing an agenda that is completely disconnected from a mature understanding of drugs and drug policy. OBNDD leadership has a clear motive for protecting this reprehensible and unsustainable system. It should be no surprise that the soldiers in the war on drugsRead More →

10commandments

The Legislature is at it again. Today, HB 2177, which has already sailed through the House of Representatives, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to yet again resurrect the 10 Commandments Monument on the Capitol grounds. Again, members of the Legislature have opted for a cheap political stunt over actually representing the interests of their constituents. It has been made abundantly clear by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the people of Oklahoma, and over two centuries of our nation’s commitment to religious liberty that a 10 Commandments monument has no place on the Capitol grounds. Rather thanRead More →

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The following statement is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director: “We welcome the Speaker’s prompt response to this matter. Speaker McCall’s statement is reassuring to all Oklahomans but especially all LGBTQ Oklahomans. Given, however, that the email was distributed with language that indicated that it was sent at the direction of the Speaker’s office and Speaker McCall’s willingness to allow anti-LBGTQ legislation to advance this session, LGBTQ Oklahomans and their allies are to be forgiven for assuming this email originated from the highest levels of the legislature. It is not enough to say that LBGTQ Oklahomans are welcome at the Capitol. Of course they areRead More →

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Please attribute the following to Ryan Kiesel, Executive Director at ACLU of Oklahoma:   Today, on HIV/AIDS awareness day, we have received reports that Legislative Pages are being allowed access to private Capitol restrooms in response to the presence of “cross dressers” in the building. Implying that young women may be unsafe in an environment simply due to the presence of LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS Activists is offensive and incredibly dangerous. Promoting fear and hysteria about some of Oklahoma’s most marginalized communities is exactly the sort of behavior that leads to one of the most anti-LGBTQ environments in the nation. Today’s activism is geared toward creatingRead More →

Protect SQ780

The senseless murder of Tecumseh Police Officer Justin Terney leaves us grieving and asking why. Why, in a state whose budget is dominated by corrections spending, is it possible that, despite multiple arrests for violent crimes, Terney’s accused killer never received the help he so desperately needed? Help may have prevented this horrific killing. Why, prior to the deadly encounter with Officer Terney, did suspect Byron James Shepard and his criminal record that spans at least 17 years and five counties never confront meaningful intervention and treatment? His record included numerous felony charges, such as assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, domestic abuse,Read More →