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The Truth about Trials: Open File Discovery

The media’s portrayal of the criminal legal system in the United States, conjures up visions of impassioned closing arguments to an attentive jury box, and justice doled out by the peers of the accused. However, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics it is estimated that 90 to 95 percent of all criminal legal cases are resolved through the plea […]

Fact Check: Oklahomans are safer due to SQ780

Author: Ashley Bender We have a fact check in response to one of the recent media reports that spread misrepresented claims that public safety is in question due to State Question Q780 reforms that recategorized low-level drug & property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Last week a news outlet published a misleading report on recidivism among people released from prisons […]

What would Clean Slate Legislation in Oklahoma look like?

Expungements, or the sealing or destroying of criminal convictions from state and federal records, is currently available in Oklahoma under a narrow set of circumstances. It is available to those who have been acquitted, those who have obtained a dismissal after reversal on appeal, those who have had factual innocence established by DNA, those who have had their misdemeanor or […]

7 Things to Look for this Legislative Session

The Oklahoma Legislative Session, in accordance with Article 5, Section 26, of the Oklahoma Constitution, begins at noon on the first Monday in February and ends during the last Friday in May. This means the 2022 legislative session begins on February 7, 2022, a mere few weeks ahead. These early days of session are crucial for a bill gaining momentum […]

How Poverty Drives Violent Crime

From 1975 to 1977 an experiment to test the effects of unconditional cash payments, sometimes termed as Universal Basic Income, was conducted in Manitoba, Canada. This study was especially important in determining the effects on crime rates because, unlike other studies of the sort, the entire town of Dauphin was given unconditional cash payments, creating a macro-level community data set. […]

Executive Clemency: A Core Conservative Value

By: Michael Olson Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel. Alexander Hamilton, […]

Wayward Cops & Excessive Force: Police Accountability in Oklahoma

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Department Officer and years filled with protests and calls for reform, many state legislatures, including those under Republican control such as North Carolina, Kentucky, and Florida, have passed legislation strengthening the power to decertify Police Officers engaging in misconduct, and provided mechanisms for sharing that information across […]

2022 Legislative Agenda Reveal

OKLAHOMA NEEDS SENTENCING REFORM  A Comprehensive, Reform-Minded Sentencing Plan. OCJR will push for a sentencing matrix that shortens sentencing ranges, eliminates mandatory minimums, only applies percentages of time served on the most serious felonies, and only applies sentence enhancements in the most serious cases. LET’S CALL FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY TRANSPARENCY  Make the Plea & Charging Data Available. Oklahoma should follow […]