Monthly Archives: September 2017

OCDW 09.25.17


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).


No. 18: CRAIG COUNTY: Craig County is nestled near the northeast corner of our state, and is named after Granville Craig, described by Wiki as “a prominent Cherokee farmer who lived in the Bluejacket area.” The county seat is Vinita. I recall one case I had there which was actually an appeal, but there was a remand for an evidentiary hearing in Vinita and I appeared in court there, which brings my county total to 12 out of 18.




No new cases of note.


The Nominees for the Court of Criminal Appeals, District I (Tulsa area), to replace Judge Clancy Smith are:


Hon. Linda Morrissey

Hon. Martha Rupp Carter

Hon. Dana Kuehn


The Nominees for the Court of Criminal Appeals in the OKC area, to replace Judge Arlene Johnson, are:

Al Hoch (defense attorney)

Scott Rowland (prosecutor)

Hon. Thomas Prince




United States v. Michael Lee Snyder, No. 16-8117 (10th Cir., September 21, 2017) (Published) (Kelly, Briscoe & McHugh): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (ACCA): Snyder filed a 2255 motion on a Johnson claim (invalidating the residual clause of the ACCA as ambiguous), and although the panel held that Snyder asserted timely the claim and also established cause and prejudice to avoid a procedural default, the panel nevertheless denied relief on the merits because Snyder was not in fact sentenced based on the ACCA’s residual clause.




“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).


No new cases.




United States v. Ezra Griffith, No. 13-3061 (D.C. Cir., August 18, 2017): Search and Seizure (Cell Phones; Search Warrants–Sufficiency): Police obtained a search warrant for a home in this felon-in-possession case which authorized seizure of a cell phone, despite the affidavit not containing any evidence that Griffith even had one; thus, the warrant was not supported by PC and was unduly broad; and the good faith exception did not apply. NOTE: This was a split decision, with Judge Brown concluding that the good faith exception to the warrant requirement applied.

Prince Jones v. United States, No. 15-CF-322 (D.C. Ct. App., September 21, 2017): Search and Seizure (Cell Phone; Warrantless): The use of a “stingray” device or cell-site simulator requires a warrant.




NewsOK reported that Rob Nigh passed away on Sunday. Rob had been the Chief Public Defender in Tulsa County until he stepped down about three months ago because of health problems. He succumbed to cancer at the age of 57.

Rob was from Enid (like me), learned to practice law with Stephen Jones (like me), and was Stephen’s right-hand man on the McVeigh case. I worked closely with Rob on the McVeigh case, and he was always the steady hand on the wheel.

I was pleased to see him settle in as the Chief Public Defender in Tulsa. I was there last week to pick up a file, and in speaking to some of the employees and lawyers there, I could tell that Rob’s presence and influence was felt there. He was a champion of the citizen accused, worked tirelessly against overreaching by the State, and will be missed.




WES CHERRY and BRECKEN WAGNER, OIDS, defended a client in Pittsburg County charged with murder and a related firearm charge. At the conclusion of the State’s case, the Hon. James Bland granted the defense demurrer on the murder charge (in this self-defense case), and the jury convicted the client on the lesser firearm count. Nice work, Wes and Brecken!




1978 PRISON BREAK: Interesting article about a man who was kidnapped back in 1978 by two Oklahoma inmates who escaped from prison. Also, Fox News explores the 1987 murders of two sisters who were abducted from the State Fair.

CHANGES RECOMMENDED: A New York-based non-profit consulting firm, Vera Institute of Justice, has recommended several changes in the administration of the criminal justice system in Tulsa County. Also, Gov. Fallin has commented on Oklahoma’s problem with imprisoning drug users; and public radio has aired another piece on the high incarceration rate of women in Oklahoma.

STOPPED POSTING: The Police Chief in Mounds has stopped posting religious messages on the departments Facebook page.

OFFICER ARRESTED: An Oklahoma City police officer has been arrested for conspiring with thieves to move stolen goods.

PORCH PIRATE: A man was arrested after a high-speed chase in Texas for his part in stealing items off porches in Edmond.

FIRED: The third-place finisher in the Oklahoma County Sheriff race, Ed Grimes who was a deputy in Canadian County, has been fired for badmouthing his boss.

HOLTZCLAW: There seems to be another development in the Holtzclaw case, this time involving 4,000 deleted e-mails dealing with Elaine Taylor the DNA chemist.

MIXED REACTION: The appointment of Corbin Brewster to succeed Rob Nigh as the Chief Public Defender in Tulsa County has been met with mixed reactions by staff.

DRONES: The Rogers County Sheriff has accepted a donation of drones for law enforcement use.

NEW COURTHOUSE: The OKC municipal courthouse was opened recently.

CLEARED: Public officials in Skiatook have been cleared of abuse of authority questions surrounding the arrest of a woman earlier this year.

OFFICERS SHOT: Two police officers in Chickasha were shot while serving a warrant.



IN THE NAME: OKC police executed a search warrant for a luxury apartment suspected of housing a marijuana operation…headed by the Weed brothers.

BAD PLAN: A boozed-up mom in Tulsa had her kids driver her home…they are not good drivers.

THE SHOES: A robber in Tulsa was arrested after police stated that his “Chuck Taylor styled” shoes gave him away.

PROTEST: A man protested townhouse development in Broken Arrow…by standing naked at a public street intersection.

PROTEST II: An OKC man was arrested for walking around naked shouting racial slurs.

MR. WHITE: A Breaking Bad-esque meth lab has been uncovered in Marshall County.

PARDON ME…: A young man was arrested at the State Fair while standing in line while drunk…and then pulling out his junk and urinating on an 11-year-old girl.

NO STREET CRED: A robber was arrested at the State Fair…holding a pink and white unicorn.



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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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