OCDW 02.06.17



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).




State v. Keefe, 2017 OK CR 3 (January 31, 2017): State Appeals; Jurisdiction (Police); DUI: In this State appeal involving a misdemeanor DUI count out of Tulsa County, the Hon. Bill Hiddle, Special Judge, granted a motion to suppress on the basis that the arresting officer, who was off-duty and out of his jurisdiction, acted as a private citizen under color of law, and as such the stop and arrest was unlawful. In this opinion, the Court reversed, holding that although the officer acted under color of law outside of his jurisdiction, there is a “public safety” exception in these circumstances which applied in this case.

James Curtis Cox v. State, No. F-2016-55 (Okl.Cr., January 31, 2017) (unpublished): Victim Impact: Curtis was tried by jury in Tulsa County (the Hon. William D. LaFortune, presiding) and convicted of two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Child, and sentenced to 25-years and life, respectively, each count running consecutively. The Court found error when the trial court relief upon improper victim impact evidence at sentencing (testimony from persons who were not victims of the charged crime). The Court ordered the sentences to run concurrently as a result of this error.




United States v. Michael Eugene Simpson, No. 15-1295 (10th Cir., January 10, 2017) (Published) (Tymkovich, C.J., Ebel & Bacharach): Jury Instructions (Possession of Firearms); Possession (Dominion and Control; Constructive Possession); Pro Se Representation: Several drug and firearm convictions are mostly affirmed over several claims, but some possession of firearms counts are reversed based upon a faulty jury instruction that failed to include an element of constructive possession—that the defendant had the “intent” to exercise dominion and control over the guns. NOTE: The majority also affirmed over Simpson’s claim of a denial of his right to self-representation, which he asserted on the day of trial along with a request for a continuance. However, Judge Ebel dissented on this point and would have reversed on this ground; thus, this opinion contains detailed discussion of the law regarding the right to self-representation.

United States v. Reginald Humphrey, No. 15-4182 (10th Cir., January 18, 2017) (Published) (Hartz, Bacharach & Moritz): Commerce Clause; Child Porn: Challenge to a conviction for producing child porn as purely intra-state as violating the Commerce Clause is rejected.

United States v. Christopher Wayne Thornton, No. 15-1345 (January 20, 2017) (Published) (Tymkovich, C.J., Ebel & Bacharach): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Drug Rehab): Federal courts may not use imprisonment as a means to promote drug rehab for the accused. Here, the district court did this, but although it was error, it did not arise to the level of plain error since there was no objection in the district court below.




“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. Jamaal Eugene Evans, No. 16-4094 (4th Cir., December 9, 2016): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Crime of Violence): The federal carjacking statute is a “crime of violence” that results in consecutive sentencing.




BRECKEN WAGNER, McAlester, scored a good jury trial win in Cleveland County for a clerk at head shop charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. It is beyond me why prosecutors waste time and energy trial these cases, but I am glad that lawyers like Brecken put them to the test. Nice work, Brecken!

NATHAN HENDRICKSON, Muskogee, JOHN ROONEY and RON DURBIN, Tulsa, secured an acquittal for a Tulsa man charged with a 2014 murder. Self-defense was the order of the day, and the client walked out of the jail for the first time in three years. Congratulations Nathan, John, and Ron!

JOHN RALEY, Houston, an alumnus of O.U. Law School, returned to his alma mater to present the case of a man whom he helped exonerate of murder.

ROYCE HOBBS, Stillwater, won a jury trial for a client charged with animal abuse in Payne County. This is another nice win for Royce!




THEATRICS: A triple-murderer “erupted” after being sentenced to death by a federal judge in Boston. The case is notable because it was the second death penalty case in Massachusetts in two years.

PUNISHMENT: Rep. Scott Biggs has filed several bills in the Oklahoma Legislature, including one that will increase the punishment for rape by instrumentation.

MURDER CHARGE DISMISSED: A man who was charged with murder was beaten in jail, which left him in a vegetative state, resulting in Beckham County prosecutor Angela Marsee to dismiss the charge.

NEW CHIEF: The town of Bokchito has hired James Heil as the new Chief of Police.

NO CONFIDENCE: The local FOP and the City of Durant are at odds, as evidenced by the recent “no confidence” vote regarding Police Chief David Houser.

TOP GUNS: Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has recognized nine of his assistants for their trial advocacy.

CONSPIRACY: Eight members of the Irish Mob have been accused in a “bizarre conspiracy” to smuggle drugs in the Oklahoma County Jail.

ENDLESS LOOP: This article by OKPolicy.org details how excessive fees of the criminal justice system trap Oklahomans in the system without boosting state revenues.

EXECUTION: The State of Missouri executed an inmate last week for the 1998 murders of a mother and her two children.

NEW OFFICER: The town of Vian has hired its first female police officer.

INNOVATION: Tulsa County Public Defender Rob Nigh has implemented a system ensuring that public defenders meet with clients at the jail.

DNA COLLECTION: The law allowing the State to collect DNA samples from persons arrested for felony crimes took effect last year—but collection efforts are hampered by a lack of funding.

NEW CHIEF: The retirement of Edmond Police Chief Bob Ricks has resulted on over 100 applicants from a nationwide search.

BODY CAMS: The Enid Police Department has implemented body cams to some officers.

INMATE EDUCATION: Oklahoma seems to be doing at least a decent job of educating its inmate population.




MANUFACTURING: A couple in Yukon has been charged in Canadian County with manufacturing drugs in the room of their young child…the drug was Xanax.

BUSTED: A Lone Grove woman was found lying in a ditch, and turns out she was charged with felony burglary charges. Her name…Carol Burnett. Reminds me of a docket in Enid years ago when the Hon. John Michael was calling the docket from the bench and got to the case of State versus…Presley…Elvis Presley. The entire courtroom watched as an elderly black gentleman walked to the bench to have his case heard.

NOT HOMEWORK THIS TIME: A man in Ardmore has been accused of burglary but claims innocence because…his dog did it.

32 YEARS IN PRISON WITH NO CONVICTION: This is a truly bizarre story about a Texas inmate who had his conviction reversed on appeal…but still spent 32 years in prison in what an appellate court called “a criminal justice nightmare.”

SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION II: Two inmates at the Nowata County Jail, a woman and a man, chiseled through their cells not to escape…but to have sex.

KIDNAPPING: An Owasso woman was arrested for kidnapping…a door-to-door salesman.

STRIP SHOW: A plumber hired by the Garvin County Jail has been arrested for trading cigarettes in exchange for a striptease.



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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 www.ocdw.com. 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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