In a significant blow to a national effort to curtail equal opportunity in America, backers of a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would end equal access and opportunity programs in the state asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on April 4, 2008 to withdraw the measure from consideration. The move comes after supporters of the so-called Oklahoma Civil Rights Initiative -spearheaded by wealthy California businessman Ward Connerly’s American Civil Rights Institute (ACRI) as part of a national crusade against affirmative action – failed to collect a sufficient number of valid signatures needed to get the proposal on this November’s ballot. In conceding defeat, ConnerlyRead More →

Following the untimely death last fall of longtime lobbyist Keith Smith, the ACLU of Oklahoma found itself at a crossroads when the Oklahoma Legislature prepared to begin its 2007 session. There was no easy choice for finding a successor to Smith, whose skills, knowledge and political savvy were irreplaceable. As a result, the affiliate’s leadership decided to refocus the legislative program by recruiting more activists at the grassroots level to lobby for civil liberties. The ACLU of Oklahoma hosted a legislative training workshop on January 27, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church in Oklahoma City. The event drew moreRead More →

The case of Doe v. Parish was dismissed under a mutual agreement by both plaintiffs and defendants during February of 2008. The lawsuit had been handled by the ACLU of Oklahoma in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma since September of 2006. The ACLU challenged the enforcement and constitutionality of sex offender residential restrictions in Tulsa on behalf of four unidentified men and one unidentified woman. As registered sex offenders, they challenged revised state statutes that would have rendered almost all of Tulsa off-limits for them to live, work, attend church or travel. Defendants in the case included officials with theRead More →

The ACLU of Oklahoma has successfully concluded its representation of an unidentified plaintiff in an action filed against defendants within Oklahoma County. The case of Doe v. Lane was filed during January in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. John Doe, the ACLU’s anonymous client in the lawsuit, challenged the enforcement of residential restrictions for sex offenders. His identity was protected by an order of the Court issued on January 27, 2006. The Oklahoma City Police Department was attempting to unfairly enforce a state law that prohibited registered sex offenders from residing within a 2,000 feet radius of a school or educationalRead More →

A Baptist minister arrested in January of 2006 for inviting an undercover male police officer to a hotel room for sexual activity was acquitted on March 7, 2007. The Rev. Lonnie Latham, a former board member of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention, had been charged with offering to engage in an act of lewdness. Oklahoma County District Judge Roma McElwee issued the acquittal following a brief trial. Latham was represented in the criminal misdemeanor case by Mack Martin, an attorney in private practice. However, the ACLU National Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, with assistance from the ACLU of Oklahoma, became involved in the case last yearRead More →

The ACLU National Office, in conjunction with the state affiliate, initiated a lawsuit last fall on behalf of a Muslim man who was unfairly detained and mistreated at the Oklahoma Federal Transfer Center during March of 2003. The case of Al-Kidd v. Sugrue was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma to vindicate the rights of plaintiff Abdullah al-Kidd following harsh treatment he received while in custody at a facility supervised by defendant Warden John Sugrue. The lawsuit is currently in settlement talks. This development follows a ruling favorable to the plaintiff by the federal judge in the case. Al-Kidd,Read More →