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 – The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the unconstitutional conviction of activist and Sooner Tea Party head Al Gerhart, of Oklahoma City, in an opinion released today. Gerhart was convicted of two felony offenses for sending strongly worded emails to a state senator during the 2013 legislative session. American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma Legal Director Brady Henderson represented Gerhart during district court hearings in the case, arguing that Gerhart’s speech was protected by the First Amendment. Today the Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, reversing Gerhart’s conviction and ordering charges to be dismissed. The following is attributable to Brady Henderson, Legal Director, ACLURead More →

TAHLEQUAH — The Woodall School District in Tahlequah has rescinded a decision to place boys and girls in separate classrooms for all academic subjects, after being warned by the ACLU that the sex segregated classes violated both state and federal law. Woodall put the single-sex class schedule in place at the beginning of the current school year. The school claimed the system was designed for scheduling convenience, and as a cost savings measure–justifications that are not allowed by law–but the district was able to revert to a coeducational schedule without incurring any additional costs. The following is attributable to Galen Sherwin, Senior Staff Attorney atRead More →

By M. Scott Carter A hearing has been scheduled for October in Oklahoma County District Court over the police seizure of Don Hoover’s 1994 BMW. Earlier this week, the ACLU of Oklahoma reported that a car owned retired political consultant Don Hoover had been seized by Oklahoma City police in 2014. In the story, Don Hoover said he had not been notified about the seizure. On Friday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater told The McCarville Report, a political newsletter, that Don Hoover had, indeed, received notification that his car had been seized. “This is a perfect example of the lies being told about assetRead More →