By Scott Carter EDITORS NOTE: On Nov. 19, 2015, the ACLU of Oklahoma filed an open records request with the city of Oklahoma City, seeking emails and other documents pertaining to the development and passage of an anti-panhandling ordinance written by Ward 6 councilwoman Meg Salyer. On Dec. 4, Assistant Municipal Counselor Richard Smith replied, asking that ACLU Oklahoma further “refine” its request. “I believe we could expedite the process, if you are willing to be more specific as to the type of record you are seeking,” Smith wrote. ACLU Oklahoma agreed to extra time for the request. In late January, Oklahoma City officials released 756 pages of documents relatingRead More →

Deep in the bowels of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, the execution chamber is a stark and sterile place. The area is small. One room is curtained off for media and other witnesses; another for prison staff and the executioner, and the third room, complete with a hospital bed, is where the condemned go to die. Right now, the chamber is empty. It hasn’t been used much, since the state tried unsuccessfully to execute Richard Glossip, earlier this year. But for years, the chamber was busy. Since 1915, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has killed a total of 191 men and three women. Most of thoseRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY – Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit against Governor Mary Fallin’s office Monday, seeking documents about how Fallin and her staff have handled the execution of two condemned inmates and how the governor addressed the state inspection of long-term care facilities. The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, comes just weeks after Fallin’s office released more than 40,000 pages of documents, most of which were copies of emailed newsletters or were heavily redacted. “Apparently, it takes a court action to get correct records from the governor’s office,” Brady Henderson, ACLU Oklahoma Legal Director, said. “So we’re going backRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY – James Hassan was selling the Curbside Chronicle. Then he went to jail. On August 10, Hassan – who was homeless – was caught panhandling by the Oklahoma City police and given a ticket. After that, Hassan stopped panhandling and began selling The Curbside Chronicle, a magazine sponsored by the Homeless Alliance. A project of the alliance, The Curbside Chronicle allows homeless and at-risk residents to work as vendors for the publication. The job offers a way for many to earn income, transition back into housing and develop time, money-management and social skills necessary to transition into more traditional employment. Homeless Alliance officialsRead More →

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s move to stay all executions until the spring of 2016 drew praise from the executive director the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Friday. The comment came after The Frontier, an on-line new site based in Tulsa, published a story Friday that stated Oklahoma wouldn’t be conducting any executions until 2016. The story, citing federal court records, said  “a court filing in the Western District of Oklahoma Federal Court states that in the interests of ‘judicial economy and comity,’ the attorney general will not seek an execution date for any of the condemned prisoners until their attorneys are provided with the results of an ongoing stateRead More →