Monthly Archives: April 2016

OCDW 04.25.16


James L. Hankins, Publisher


(with special thanks to Mark Hoover, OIDS, for contributing regularly)


“I have lived my life, and I have fought my battles, not against the weak and the poor—anybody can do that—but against power, against injustice, against oppression, and I have asked no odds from them, and I never shall.”—-Clarence S. Darrow, Attorney for the Damned 491, 497 (Arthur Weinberg ed. 1957).




Erica Lashon Harrison v. State, No. F-2015-121 (Okl.Cr., April 19, 2016) (unpublished): Rebuttal Evidence; Character Evidence: Harrison was tried by jury in Tulsa County (the Hon. William C. Kellough, presiding) and, although she was charged with first degree malice murder, the jury convicted her of first degree manslaughter. Harrison testified in her defense, and that State called her as a rebuttal witness, introducing improperly character evidence that should not have been admitted because the same questioning could not have been proper by any alternative means. It appears that the State questioned her about specific instances of conduct, which would have been permissible had she testified about her good character, but she did not. This error did not affect the conviction, but may have affected the sentence; therefore, the Court reversed and remanded for re-sentencing. NOTE: This was a 3-2 opinion, with Judges Lumpkin and Hudson dissenting to a re-sentencing hearing on the basis that the error was harmless.




No new cases.




“Only Supreme Court justices and schoolchildren are expected to and do take the entire summer off.” –Chief Justice John Roberts (statement made while he served as a lawyer in the Reagan Administration).


Welch v. United States, No. 15-6418 (U.S., April 18, 2016): Retroactivity: In Johnson v. United States, 576 U.S. _ (2015), the Court held that the “residual clause” of the ACCA in felon-in-possession cases was unconstitutionally vague. In this case, the Court held that Johnson announced a new substantive rule that has retroactive application.

Saul Molina-Martinez v. United States, No. 14-8913 (U.S., April 20, 2016): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (General): The district court misapplied the Guidelines and arrived at a sentencing range higher than the correct one, an error that was not caught by anyone until appeal, but actually sentenced the defendant to a sentence within the correct Guidelines range. The Fifth Circuit held that the defendant could not show a reasonable probability that his sentenced would have been different because he was sentenced within the correct Guidelines range; thus, under the circuit rule, the defendant must show “additional evidence” that the use of the incorrect range affected the sentence. The Court rejected such a rigid rule and held that an incorrect Guidelines calculation can itself can result in a denial of substantial rights and reversible error (in line with most circuit court authority, including the Tenth Circuit).




United States v. Heriberto Almonte-Reyes, No. 13-1934 (1st Cir., February 18, 2016): Concurrent & Consecutive Sentences: The panel states that it addressed a question of first impression, left open in Setser v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 1463 (2012), whether a federal sentence may be ordered to be consecutive to another federal sentence that is anticipated but not yet imposed. Reversing, the panel concluded that it may not. NOTE: Sitting on this panel was retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

United States v. Nicholas Ragin, No. 14-7245 (4th Cir., March 11, 2016): IAC: Issue of first impression: whether a defendant’s right to effective assistance of counsel is violated when his counsel sleeps during trial. The answer: yes.

United States v. Rickey Nikki Beene, No. 14-30476 (5th Cir., March 8, 2016): Search and Seizure (Exclusionary Rule; Exigent Circumstances): Police dispatch advised police that an unnamed caller reported that Beene had pointed a gun at people then left in a Honda Accord (and police knew that Beene dealt drugs). Police then drove to Beene’s residence. Beene was outside and arrested, and a drug dog was brought to the scene and alerted on the vehicle. The district court granted a motion to suppress the evidence from the home based upon the fact that police falsified a consent form. However, the district court denied the motion as to the vehicle on the basis that it was search incident to arrest. In this split opinion, the panel reversed and remanded for factual findings whether exigent circumstances existed to justify the warrantless search of the vehicle.




BRUCE EDGE, Tulsa, won a DUI jury trial last week. His second-chairs were Stephen Edge and Karla Tankut. Nice work, Bruce, Stephen and Karla!

MACK MARTIN, OKC, represented a client charged with Murder in the First Degree in Cleveland County. The jury found the client guilty of the lesser offense of Manslaughter in the First Degree. The trial judge was the Hon. Tracy Schumacher, and the prosecutors were Zach Simmons and John Pevehouse. Subsequent press reports indicate that the family of the decedent was in shock over the verdict and have questioned the jury’s judgment. This sounds like a tough case with a lot of emotion on both sides that handled professionally by Mack.

TRIAL TOWN: I was reminded recently that in Tulsa County last week, at least six criminal cases went to jury trial. Accused persons and their lawyers also went to trial in other parts of our state. This is a reminder that, as Shena Burgess reminds us, public defenders do not have the option of picking their clients, and must stand with them in the courtroom as they come. These lawyers, and all lawyers going through trials right now, deserve some recognition and respect for their efforts.




The OCDLA awards are presented annually, this year on June 23, 2016, prior to the Patrick Williams CDI, which will take place at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa (Tulsa). In order for the Board to consider nominees, the nominations must be submitted to the OCDLA Board no later than Friday, June 3, 2016. You do not have to be an OCDLA member to nominate a lawyer for good legal work, nor does your nominee. The awards and the criteria for each are explained below. More information and past winners can be found HERE. You may submit nominations three ways:


BY MAIL: OCDLA, P.O. Box 2272, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-2272


BY FAX: (405) 212-5024





Lord Thomas Erskine, Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom, was a Scotsman and the third son of Henry David Erskine, the Tenth Earl of Buchan. Lord Erskine was educated at the Royal High School of Edinburgh, and later at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was called to the bar in 1778, and became a strong advocate and defender of popular liberties and constitutional rights.

His defense of Thomas Paine cost him his post of Attorney General to the Prince of Wales.

The Lord Thomas Erskine Award is bestowed to honor a member of the Oklahoma criminal defense bar who has, over the years, steadfastly placed the preservation of personal liberties over his or her own personal gain or reputation. The award is intended to recognize these qualities during an attorney’s career or lifetime, and is not limited to any particular activities in any given year.


Clarence Darrow was born in Ohio in 1857. After being admitted to the bar in 1878, he became a small-town lawyer for nine years. During WWI, Darrow defended anti-war activists and was critical of The Espionage Act, which at that time was used to stifle anti-war activities. Darrow’s magnificent and tenacious advocacy is illustrated in his famous cases such as the Scopes Monkey Trial and the Leopold-Loeb Murder Trials. A 1936 FBI memo to Clyde Tolson, aide-de-camp to J. Edgar Hoover, gave Mr. Hoover some quotes that Clarence Darrow had made in an article entitled Attorney for the Defendant. It was suggested that Mr. Hoover could use these quotes in speeches to point out how unscrupulous criminal defense lawyers foster disrespect for the law and influence crime conditions.

The Clarence Darrow Award recognizes the efforts of an individual who has, during the year, exemplified the zealous advocacy in criminal cases that befits the namesake of the award. It is in the deeds and spirit of Clarence Darrow that this award is given each year. The only qualification is that the event(s) upon which the nomination is based must have taken place during the current year.


Thurgood Marshall, the grandson of a slave, was born in 1908 in Maryland. In 1930, Marshall desired to attend law school in his hometown, but was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School because of the school’s segregation policy. This event had a dramatic influence on his future professional life. Marshall sought admission to, and was accepted at, Howard University where he graduated from law school in 1933. In 1934, he began his association with the NAACP. In 1954, he dismantled public school segregation in the spectacular 1954 victory of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. He later desegregated graduate schools with his victory in McLaurin vs. Oklahoma State Regents. As a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, he issued 112 opinions, all of which were upheld before the United States Supreme Court. As Solicitor General of the United States, he won 14 of 19 cases argued before the United States Supreme Court. In 1967, Marshall became the first African-American appointed to the United States Supreme Court. He was often the lone voice of dissent against the death penalty (although accompanied frequently by Justice Brennan), and always spoke for voiceless Americans in his opinions. He died in 1993.

The Marshall Award recognizes outstanding appellate advocacy in the spirit and in the footsteps of Justice Marshall.


BOOK REVIEW: The Faith of Christopher Hitchens by Larry Alex Taunton


Christopher Hitchens, the British-born atheist (actually, he preferred the term anti-theist), polemicist, public intellectual and all-around hard-drinking chain-smoking contrarian, succumbed to esophageal cancer in 2011, ironically the same disease that killed his father. Hitchens was, in my opinion, one of the most insightful, provocative thinkers and most ferocious debaters of his time. His works on Orwell, Jefferson, and Paine made significant contributions to the discussion of those great minds, but Hitchens will be remembered mostly for his book god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007), a trenchant and scathing critique of religion and spiritual belief systems.

YouTube is a treasure for many things, including some of the best debates of Hitchens and his appearances on various television broadcasts, most notably his debate (one of his last as he battled the cancer) with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on whether religion is good for the world, and his epic battle with George Galloway on the topic of the war in Iraq (a war supported by Hitchens much to the dismay of his leftist friends).

However, as his health failed, Hitchens was frequently peppered with questions from friends and journalists about the prospect of converting before he died. Would the acerbic atheist see the light at the end? The clock was ticking. Hitchens himself addressed this very issue as his health declined, and he stated forcefully his view on multiple occasions with interviewers, in no uncertain terms, that there was not the slightest possibility of this happening, and he made sure to say so while he was in control of his faculties, lest he said something that could be misconstrued during his final hours when his body and mind were weakened by the disease. Hitchens did this, I think, not out of hubris, but because death-bed conversions had been attributed, falsely, to several prominent thinkers (including Voltaire, Jefferson, and Darwin) over the centuries, it was a fairly common phenomenon, and Hitchens wanted to make sure that no such thing would ever be attributed to him. A quip falsely attributed to Voltaire, but still clever, held that when asked by a priest whether he renounced Satan, Voltaire replied, “Now is not the time to be making enemies.”

I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the written works of Hitchens, and watching his debates and other activities on YouTube, and to this point I had not seen any indication of a deathbed conversion, and it has been five years since Hitchens had passed. So, as you can imagine, when Larry Alex Taunton, a minor debating opponent of Hitchens, published his new book The Faith of Christopher Hitchens, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Taunton, but he is the founder and executive director of The Fixed Point Foundation, which has as its mission to “defend and proclaim the Gospel in the secular marketplace and equip others to do the same.”

Taunton spent some time with Hitchens toward the end, notably as a debate moderator, and once as an opponent, that included two long road trips during which the two of them discussed religion. In his book, Taunton traces some of the background of Hitchens (nothing that was not covered by Hitchens himself in his own memoir Hitch-22), some color commentary by younger brother Peter Hitchens, and the effect, in Taunton’s view, of 9/11 on the ideology of Hitchens. Taunton gets to the heart of it in the last quarter of the book after tantalizing the reader with cryptic, chapter-ending statements that portent a possible conversion by Hitchens at the end. Of course, the title is provocative, and the case to made for a deathbed conversion seems impossible in light of not only the life work of Hitchens, but also his anticipation of this very thing, and his repudiation of it before he died, knowing that his death was imminent (just a year and a half from diagnosis until his death), not to mention the fact that his wife, who was there at the end, has stated that no such conversion took place.

Yet, Taunton weaves his tale as the pious often do, explaining first his thread-bare reasons for having the poor taste to write such an undignified book in the first place—5 years after the death of the subject—and then smattering the pages with veiled, judgmental barbs of his deceased friend, often contrasting his own self-described virtuous lifestyle as a teetotaler with the hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, and foul-mouthed Hitchens. The reader gets a sense of this early on through the way in which Taunton discusses the parents of Hitchens, in a way that seems too familiar for someone who was not there, exaggerating the perceived shortcomings of Hitchens’s mother, Yvonne, while making psychological observations about the relationship between Hitchens and his father, the stolid ex-navy man, concluding with the gratuitous statement that, “it seems that Christopher preferred the flash and style of his mother when he might have done better to admire the steady substance of his father.” This statement says much more about Taunton than it does about Hitchens. In a single sentence, Taunton demonstrated a capacity to disparage the deceased mother of his deceased friend, suggest that the way Hitchens turned out—his very personality—was insubstantial and based upon “flash and style” over substance, and presumed to know the complicated relationship that Hitchens had with his parents. Nor does the ham-fisted moralizing stop there.

Early on, Taunton attributes, rather clumsily, homosexual experiences (and punishment for engaging in them) at English boarding schools to the rejection of Christianity by Hitchens. I say clumsily because, although Hitchens himself described these punishments—described by him as his first experiences with love for which he was punished–as examples of the “cruel and stupid” nature of religion, Taunton appears to miss the larger picture in this regard, namely that Hitchens had recognized at an early age that words (and ideas) are weapons, and logical thought is the engine that drives man, not belief in the divine. Punishment for homosexual acts may well have been a vivid example to Hitchens of the evils of religion, but it is clear, to me at least, that the reason for his head-on collision with religion was the sheer silliness in how it was presented to him.

In Hitch 22, his memoir, Hitchens tells the story of Ms. Watts, his scripture and nature teacher when he was a boy of 10 of 11, who one day opined about how God had made the foliage the color green because it was the color most restful to our eyes. This seems to have been a pivotal moment in his life because he at once, even at an early age, dismissed this account as utter, contrived nonsense. Thus, the lessons from English boarding school that shaped the thoughts of Hitchens on religion were learned from how totalitarian systems work, and how authority is able to convey ideas that are illegitimate—even silly in the case of Ms. Watts—in a guise of unquestionable truth. Taunton does not mention Ms. Watts, and does a disservice, I think, to the intellect of Hitchens (as well as deliver a perhaps unintentional, but still quite repugnant, backhanded snipe at Hitchens’ character) to equate his rejection of religion to homosexual experiences. Hitchens often taunted the religious about their fixation on sexuality—and in particular with homosexual acts—and one cannot help but think of how he would have snickered at this awkward part of Taunton’s book, and how Taunton lived up to the stereotype.

Taunton concluded this chapter with the charge that, “Christopher hated God and was determined that he should master and tyrannize him.” (Page 17) This is one of those annoying habits of Taunton—and religious writers in general–peppered throughout the book, akin to the old lawyer saw of “have you stopped beating your wife” because it assumes that God exists, and that Hitchens believes in Him. Hitchens did not hate God. He hated men who created belief systems that included God and used those systems to control other men.

Concerning the ascent of Hitchens early on intellectually as an avid reader and debater, Taunton turns even this around as a negative and delivers a jab on page 23 with this: “The danger here—and Christopher fell wholeheartedly into its snares—was developing a love of words insofar as they were weapons for attack and defense of his position, rather than loving words insofar as they lead to truth.” That is a loaded statement, and an unfair characterization for several reasons (and delivered by Taunton without any apparent self-awareness or appreciation of the irony for the fact that Taunton does this very thing in this very book).

First, it implies that Hitchens had little interest in the truth, an implication that is fatuous and more than a little ill-mannered. Hitchens’s truth was that religion is man-made, and his support for that proposition is trenchant and persuasive, and a product of scientific inquiry rather than faith. Taunton comes across, again, as a pious believer, smug in the knowledge that he knows “the truth” and having pity on Hitchens who used words to attack it.

Second, Taunton characterizes the reading of Hitchens as “wide but not deep” (page 23), suggesting that Hitchens had a facile understanding of literature and literary ideas, but without any real understanding of them. I find this charge unsupportable, and Hitchens refutes such a suggestion, in my opinion, in his writings and in his debates. On pages 25-26, Taunton makes his position more clear—the point of being dismissive of the learning of Hitchens as shallow—by saying explicitly that Hitchens had a shallow understanding of religion, but presented his views with certainty, and with a thespian flair that, coupled with a British accent, allowed him to come across as knowledgeable to the uninitiated when he in fact was not. This sort of charge is a matter of opinion, and I disagree with Taunton’s. When a person like Hitchens takes on a subject like religion, and criticizes it in a credible way, that person studies the subject more, not less; he knows he will be challenged by others who are learned in the subject, which makes it that much more crucial to have a deep understanding of the issue. This is what Hitchens did, in my estimation, and the willingness to debate publicly solidifies the fact for me. That is a hard thing to do, and preparation is key. A shallow understanding of the subject will be exposed by a skilled opponent, and in my opinion I have not seen any opponent of Hitchens do that.

Finally, the statement is simplistic on its own terms in the sense that, to a degree, everyone uses words in this way (most notably, Taunton himself). If anything, the modus operandi of Hitchens was to seek out other intellectuals to challenge his own beliefs, and to see if he could defend them—something with which the religious are rarely comfortable. This is a mark in his favor, not a character flaw as implied by Taunton.

By the time the reader is three-quarters of the way through the book, it is apparent that Taunton is trying to make a case for conversion by Hitchens. But, he does this in an almost child-like way by repeating two key themes: that Hitchens had friends who were evangelicals, and that Hitchens had studied the Bible. Taunton seems amazed that Hitchens could simultaneously hold such strong views about religion, yet befriend persons who believed in that which he mocked. This apparent contradiction is resolved easily in my mind, and I would suspect in the minds of most functional adults who have had friends whom they liked personally, but with whom they disagreed on topics such as religion or politics. I find this fact mundane and obvious, but Taunton writes about it as if it takes an act of superhuman resolve for an atheist to befriend an evangelical (nor is it of any moment that an atheist studies the Bible; intelligent people—particularly public debaters—seek knowledge about the thing that intrigues them). Taunton presents it as Hitchens being “curious” about religion, implying that Hitchens was really reaching out to the religious because he was interested in changing his views, not gathering information to change theirs.

However, it comes across as if Taunton has no concept of how an adult can differentiate between attacking ideas, as opposed to attacking a person. He does this in several places, one example being on page 113, where he recounts an incident where Hitchens was at a bar “surrounded by a group of adoring fans” who were horrified when they found out that Hitchens had befriended Taunton. This is a common tactic of a lazy writer, characterizing a group of people—in this case fans of Hitchens–as knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers unable to comprehend or rationalize that their atheist hero could have a friend who was a Christian. It is not a profound, or even a complicated concept, nor is it remotely unusual in my opinion for any rational adult to have friends on a personal level with whom they disagree on fundamental issues.

The reader nears the end of the book expecting a payoff from the provocative title, which of course never comes. The way in which Taunton tries it seems forced, and there is a scent of embarrassment by Taunton in the way that he constantly has to state that Hitchens really did not have a deathbed conversion, followed by vague statements suggesting that in Taunton’s view he might have, and it is clear to the reader that Taunton wishes it to be so. But, such a thing would be totally out of character for Hitchens in light of his life’s work.

If the views of Hitchens can be summed up at all, it can be said that he was, at bottom, against totalitarianism, specifically in the way that it crushes human expression and spirit (Hitchens was a First Amendment absolutist, a view I endorse as well). Hitchens referenced this theme again and again in his debates, speeches, and in his books. As to religion, he viewed it as man-made, and thus as a particularly insidious and virulent form of totalitarianism—that is, a belief system created by men without any evidence to support it for the purpose of subjugating others. He said this directly in his writings and debates, and his fixation on Orwell solidified the point. Taunton perceives a contradiction between the early views of Hitchens on Vietnam (against it) and his later views on Iraq (for the invasion), but to me there is no contradiction, and his views are easily reconciled because Iraq, as a totalitarian regime, represented the greatest evil in the view of Hitchens. To him, and I agree with this, confrontation and war are not to be desired, but nor are they the worst of things. Combating totalitarianism—in the form of the psychopathic Saddam Hussein and his equally culpable sons—is always correct, no matter what the cost, because the cost of doing nothing about it is far more damaging to humankind. Hitchens expressed this view at the end of his life toward militant Islam, and would no doubt today be in favor of the armed extermination of ISIS.

So then, how could a person holding such a view, who defended it in public debates and writings, do an about-face in light of his own mortality? It could happen of course (Mother Teresa, now canonized and soon to be sainted, admitted at the end that she had no faith nor had felt the presence of Christ), but Taunton tries to make the case that it happened to Hitchens. He could not argue that Hitchens had a deathbed conversion outright. Hitchens’s wife was with him at the end and stated that there was no conversion, and Hitchens himself, while he was alive, had repudiated the possibility of such an event happening. Taunton was thus reduced to arguing that Hitchens was, at the end, “a man who was weighing the cost of conversion.” (Page 164) Taunton bases this assertion on his “private conversations” with Hitchens, many of which he presented in the book, but none of which support the conclusion drawn, and the fact that Hitchens studied the Bible with Taunton (more like debated and questioned the book) and befriended Christians. The evidence is not convincing, and Taunton should feel something akin to shame for marketing his book as if Hitchens had in fact made a deathbed conversion; or worse, much worse, that Hitchens wanted to convert at the end of his life but was too much of a coward and too invested in his atheist persona to do so. This is what the reader comes away with after finishing the last page, and why this book is so morally reprehensible.

As Hitchens said many times, one would think that the religious, particularly Christians, would be in a fantastic mood all the time. If one truly believes that he has an immortal soul that will rest forever in paradise, how could that person be upset or angry with any trivial happening on this plane? The answer is because belief does not make them happy. They will never be happy and satisfied until *you* believe it as well. This is Taunton’s purpose in life, to spread and defend the Gospel, and he has used the brief intersection of his life with that of Hitchens to persuade readers that even an angry atheist like Hitchens will change his mind at the end, accept the Good News, so you must as well. One can perhaps forgive the condescending tone of the prose, the occasional typo and ending sentences in prepositions (the late Justice Scalia may have approved of this, but I do not), and even overlook the fact that although Taunton professed to be careful about betraying confidences, he nevertheless lets the reader know that Hitchens was privately critical of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins (another dubious assertion by Taunton); but it is unforgivable that Taunton would, five years after the death of his friend, use that friendship as a vehicle to proselytize and besmirch the character of a deceased man who was more substantial than himself.

In the end, Taunton proves to be every bit the shallow huckster he claims Hitchens to have been; an embodiment of all of the things that caused his friend Christopher Hitchens to loathe religion in the first place—and to reject it with his dying breath.




FISA COURT: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has issued its first order allowing the NSA to collect phone records under a new law.

EXPENSIVE HACK: The FBI admitted that it paid more than $1 million to an unidentified third party to hack the iPhone of an alleged terrorist responsible for the San Bernadino, CA, attacks.

LAWMEN: Three deputies in Cimarron County stand guard in the Oklahoma panhandle, securing our state from any encroachment of ganja coming in from Colorado.

REALIGNMENT: Part of a bill in the State Senate to realign judicial districts around Tulsa County has caused a “stir.”

PRE-TRIAL SERVICES: A private company called Cleveland County Pretrial Services is working with the State and the judiciary to assist indigent defendants who are eligible for bail, but cannot afford it.

DOMESTIC ABUSE: Gov. Fallin has signed “Kristin’s Law” which would change the legal definition of “pattern of physical abuse” in domestic violence cases from three acts within 12 months, down to two.

FALLING OUT: A lawyer in Muskogee has a falling out with a client.

NEW SHERIFF: Former U.S. Marshal Danny David has been named interim Sheriff in Wagoner County.

NEW UNDERSHERIFF: Chris Cook has been appointed as the new Undersheriff in Wagoner County.

NEW DEPUTY CHIEF: The Police Chief in Durant has named Mike Woodruff the new Deputy Chief of Police.

NEW PROSECUTOR: The District Attorney in Pittsburg County has hired a new assistant, Madison Holder.

CHIEF OUT: The Chief of Police in the town of Roff, Oklahoma, has taken personal leave—as a result of being accused of child molestation.

OBITUARY: Interesting and humanizing obituary of a death row inmate executed in Georgia.

CHILD INTERVIEWS: A dubious non-profit organization called Oklahoma Interviewing Services has been formed to provide “free statewide culturally sensitive forensic interviews” with children across the state.

LICENSE PLATE DANGER: The Vice President of the OKC FOP has tried to make the case that old license plates are compromising officer safety because it makes it difficult for polices to determine whether they are valid during traffic stops.

DNA BILL: A bill that would allow DNA collection from suspects arrested for a felony has passed the Senate.

DRUG CACHE: Officials found a large drug cache at an Oklahoma City half-way house.



FIRST GRADERS ARRESTED: Police in Tennessee handcuffed several students ages 6-11 and arrested them for “not stopping a fight that happened several days earlier.” There was a public outcry.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: A British marine biologist released 1,000 bottles with messages into the sea in 1908, and they have been popping up ever since. The most recent was found by a postal worker in the North Sea, 310 miles from the U.K. and 108 years, four months, and 18 days after it was deposited into the sea.

PROMISES KEPT: An inmate in Woods County promised to break all the toilets and sinks in the jail if he did not get his meds. He did not get his meds, but he did break some toilets and sinks.

COINCIDENCE: In the small town of Achille, Oklahoma, the city council fired its police chief—and the police station was broken into about two hours later.

FAIL: A man thought to wear a mask as he robbed a convenience store in the town of Foyil—but forgot that he had a distinctive way of walking that was noticed by the clerk as that of a customer that frequented the store. Busted.

FAIL II: A man took a police car for a joyride—and passed out inside of it where he was found by police.

FUTURE MAN: A man steals from a local Arby’s in OKC, claiming to be from four years in the future. (as Mark Hoover quipped, how did he not know that he would be arrested for theft?)

BONKERS: A man in Tulsa, who had four outstanding arrest warrants, went “bonkers” with a steel pipe.

TIP: Do not try to purchase a vehicle with gift cards.

TIP II: Do not return to the scene of the crime.

WORST CRASH: This is a non-legal item, but The Lawton Constitution has remembered the worst air disaster in Oklahoma history that occurred 50 years ago.




THURSDAY, JUNE 23 & FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2016: The 2016 Patrick A. Williams Criminal Defense Institute & OCDLA Annual Meeting will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa (Tulsa).



SUBSCRIPTIONS AND SUBMISSIONS: To subscribe to the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Weekly just send an e-mail to James L. Hankins at and include the e- mail address to which you want the issues to be delivered. I am sending out the issues for free now to whoever wants to receive them. Submissions of articles, war stories, letters, victory stories, comments or questions can be sent to Mr. Hankins via e-mail or you can contact him by phone at 405.753.4150, by fax at 405.445.4956, or by regular mail at James L. Hankins, TIMBERBROOKE BUSINESS CENTER, 929 N.W. 164th St., Edmond, OK 73013.


ABOUT THE OCDW: The Oklahoma Criminal Defense Weekly is compiled, maintained, edited and distributed weekly by attorney James L. Hankins. Archived issues can be obtained by contacting Mr. Hankins directly, although some of them are on the web site at OCDW accepts no money from sponsors. Mr. Hankins is solely responsible for its content. The OCDW web site is maintained by Spark Line.

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