OKLAHOMA CITY–Blame for the Oklahoma House’s shameful last-minute scuttling of monumental criminal justice reform measures with overwhelming bipartisan support falls squarely on House leadership. Despite having a clear mandate from voters to reverse the unsustainable and destructive course of Oklahoma’s overly harsh, discriminatory, and counterproductive criminal justice system, House leaders tucked tail and capitulated to out of touch, taxpayer subsidized lobbying groups. While the public face of this cowardly act of obstructionism has been Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, a deeper scorn should be directed at House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka. Speaker McCall may have for the time being escaped blame for this embarrassment, but historyRead More →

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 →

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 →

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 →

The ACLU of Oklahoma was in court Thursday afternoon to demand transparency from Scott Pruitt, the recently confirmed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, and to remind him that no one is above the law — not even Oklahoma’s top law enforcement officer or members of the President’s cabinet. For more than two years, Pruitt has stonewalled the right of non-profit organizations, the people of Oklahoma, the United States Senate, and the American people to access thousands of pages of documents requested under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act. Calling Pruitt’s refusal to comply with the Oklahoma Open Records Act an “abject failure,” Oklahoma County District JudgeRead More →