OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal court today declared that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Implementation of the decision is on hold while the state appeals. The challenge to the law was brought by the Oklahoma City law firm Holladay & Chilton PLLC on behalf of Oklahoma same-sex couples. “It’s no accident that we’re seeing a decision like this in a comparatively conservative place like Oklahoma,” said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “It reflects the growing consensus across the country – in red, blue, and purple states – that it’s unfair to exclude same-sex couplesRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY – In the first-ever study of people serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses in the United States, the ACLU found at least 3,278 such prisoners in federal and state prisons combined; 49 of whom are serving life without parole for nonviolent offenses in Oklahoma. “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses” features key statistics about these prisoners, an analysis of the laws that produced their sentences, and case studies of 110 men and women serving these sentences. Of the 3,278 prisoners, 79% were convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes such as possession or distribution; 20% of nonviolent property crimes like theft.Read More →

NORMAN–In a public lecture entitled “Digital Surveillance and Democracy,” William Binney will discuss the NSA’s eavesdropping programs and the dangers of a persistent, pervasive surveillance state.  Mr. Binney, one of the best analysts and code-breakers in NSA history, turned whistle blower when the agency redirected the digital tools he had created for foreign spying to domestic surveillance after 9/11. The lecture will be held in the Bell Courtroom at the University of Oklahoma College of Law on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, at 7 PM. Mr. Binney is a speaker for an OU Presidential Dream Course lecture series sponsored by the course “Mind Bending: Morality, Law,Read More →

OKLAHOMA CITY – During a recent interim study conducted by the Judiciary Committee of the Oklahoma House of Representatives regarding Oklahoma’s criminal justice system, legislators asked the former Chairman of the District Attorneys Council (DAC), District Attorney Greg Mashburn (R-Norman), about the fee system DA’s have increasingly relied upon to fund their offices. When asked if DA’s would prefer 100% funding directly from the legislature and give up fines, fees, and civil asset forfeitures, Mashburn responded, “absolutely.” DA Mashburn went on to note that part of the role of a district attorney under the current system is to generate revenue. DA Mashburn relayed an anecdoteRead More →

 OKLAHOMA CITY – According to a report by the ACLU, Blacks were arrested for marijuana possession at nearly three times the rate of whites in 2010, despite comparable marijuana usage rates. The report, Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests, released June 5th, is the first ever to examine state and county marijuana arrest rates nationally by race. The findings show that while there were pronounced racial disparities in marijuana arrests 10 years ago, they have grown significantly worse.[1] “The War on Marijuana has disproportionately been a war on people of color,” says Ezekiel Edwards, Director of the CriminalRead More →