By Scott Carter Recently, the Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol have come under fire because of their ERAD card reader program. On June 17, Gov. Mary Fallin asked DPS Commission Michael Thompson to stop the program until better policies could be developed. However, even with the suspension of the program, the standards of probable cause and reasonable suspicion remain. “Oklahomans should fully understand just what ‘reasonable suspicion’ and ‘probable cause’ mean,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. “It’s a pretty low bar.” Because those standards often come into play during a seizure action, theRead More →


By Scott Carter OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety sought access to peoples’ bank account and bank routing numbers as they negotiated a contract for a controversial debit card reader program, records obtained by the ACLU of Oklahoma show. In addition, other documents show that ERAD touted its relationship with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office and listed a controversial Illinois law enforcement official who was heavily involved in the Desert Snow/Black Asphalt firms as a reference for the program. The information comes to light at the same time public safety officials held a press conference to talk about whatRead More →


By Scott Carter OKLAHOMA CITY – Mostly, it was a ‘bad news’ kind of session. Though the Second Regular Session of the 55th Oklahoma Legislature did produce a handful of good bills, Oklahoma’s legislature left most Oklahomans in a worse position than before session began, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma said. During the 2016 session state lawmakers “spent an embarrassing amount of time and energy trying to pass legislation that targeted Oklahoma’s LGBT community and attempting to criminalize women’s reproductive choices, instead of focusing on the state’s $1.3 billion budget hole,” ACLU of Oklahoma leader Ryan Kiesel said. “InRead More →


OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections were so paranoid about the public disclosure of employees and information involved in executions that they “blatantly violated” internal and state policies, a recently released grand jury report said. The report, ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson said, is also evidence that Oklahoma needs to eliminate “the ongoing circus that is the death penalty in Oklahoma.” Detailed in a scathing, 106-page document, the 14th Interim Report from the Multicounty Grand Jury of Oklahoma harshly criticized the state’s handling of the execution of Charles Warner and the attempted killing of Richard Glossip. The document alsoRead More →


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday vetoed Senate Bill 1552, a measure which would have made it a felony for physicians to perform abortions. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma issued the following statement: Please attribute to Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director: “We are grateful that Gov. Mary Fallin has chosen to veto one of the most extreme pieces of anti-choice legislation ever produced in Oklahoma. The governor’s action sends a strong message to the Oklahoma Legislature that measures such as these do nothing to push our state forward. However, the fight is far from over. WeRead More →


OKLAHOMA CITY – After the Oklahoma Legislature filed two pieces of anti-transgender legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma issued the following statement: Please attribute to Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director: “The legislature’s attacks on Oklahoma’s transgender youth are disappointing and unconscionable. This hateful assault on some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable residents is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to divert attention away from Oklahoma’s budget crisis. This proposed law does nothing to protect religious liberty, but rather attempts to use religion as a weapon to discriminate. We urge lawmakers to abandon this harmful legislation and spend their time and resourcesRead More →


OKLAHOMA CITY – In conjunction with the news that the Oklahoma Legislature passed SB 1552 criminalizing abortion, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma released the following statement: The following is attributable to Ryan Kiesel, ACLU of Oklahoma Executive Director: By creating an effective ban on abortion, Senate Bill 1552 is one of the most extreme anti-choice measures imaginable. The Oklahoma Legislature is acting in direct defiance of more than four decades of court precedent, which guarantees access to reproductive health care, including the right to access a safe and legal abortion.  In the midst of the worst budget crisis in our state’s history, we cannot imagineRead More →