OCDW 02.20.17



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 new cases.




United States v. Trung N. Duong, No. 16-6078 (10th Cir., February 14, 2017) (Published) (Briscoe, Ebel & Murphy) (W.D. Okla., Hon. Robin J. Cauthron): Scienter (Child Sex Trafficking): Defendants were indicted for child sex trafficking, accused of merely having a reasonable opportunity to observe the child before engaging in a commercial sex transaction in order to sustain the Government’s burden of proving the mens rea requirement. The district court dismissed the indictment on this basis, but when the Government appealed, the panel reversed, holding that the Government may prove the scienter requirement by showing that the Defendant had “a reasonable opportunity to observe” the victim.

United States v. Howard Collins, No. 15-3084 (10th Cir., February 14, 2017) (Published) (Holmes, Baldock & Matheson): Supervised Release: Collins kept violating his supervised release by using drugs, resulting in two revocations. The district court held that it could sentence him to a maximum of one-year, but the Government appealed. The panel held that this was error, holding that the statutory maximum prison sentence for a defendant who has violated a second or subsequent term of supervised release is based upon the severity of the offense of conviction, which in this case carried a three-year statutory maximum.




“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. Angel L. Cotto-Negron, No. 14-1670 (1st Cir., January 9, 2017): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Relative Culpability): Sentence in a robbery case is vacated when the district court found that Negron was more culpable than co-defendants without any factual basis.

United States v. Nelson Pereira, No. 15-1669 (1st Cir., February 3, 2017): Prosecutorial Misconduct (Improper Questions; Comment Veracity of Other Witnesses): Conviction for drug conspiracy is reversed when prosecutor asked defendant to comment on the veracity of two cooperating government witnesses. NOTE: This opinion contains an in-depth treatment of the law governing this issue.

United States v. Alfonzo Williams, et al., No. 15-10475 (9th Cir., December 5, 2016): Interrogations (Fifth Amendment): Defendant was arrested for murder and invoked his right to an attorney. Hours later, he was taken to the jail where a sheriff’s deputy asked him if he was a member of a criminal gang. The district court suppressed these answers and in this opinion the panel affirmed.




THOMAS MORTENSEN, Tulsa, was the “unknown lawyer” last week who secured a not guilty jury verdict for his client in Washington County who was charged with exploitation of vulnerable adult and financial neglect of vulnerable adult. Terrific work, Thomas!




RIP “JANE ROE”: The titular litigant in the landmark Roe v. Wade case from the Supreme Court, Norma McCorvey, has passed away at the age of 69.

BIG BUST: Police in Enid issued 50 citations and arrested almost 30 juveniles for partying. Also, police in Texas have intercepted 145 pounds of marijuana headed to Oklahoma City.

JUDICIAL AWARD: Chief Judge Doris Fransein of the Tulsa Juvenile Center has received the Guardian Angel Award from the Parent Child Center.

MISTRIAL: Shannon Kepler, the off-duty Tulsa Police officer who shot and killed his daughter’s boyfriend, survived a second trial which ended in a second mis-trial. Also, a juror in the case aired some dirty laundry of the deliberations on Facebook.

WARRANTS: Municipal judges in Shawnee are taking steps to address the more than 8,200 outstanding warrants in that town.

ACTING A.G.: In the wake of Attorney General Scott Pruitt accepting the position of head of the EPA, the acting Attorney General will be First Assistant Cara Rodriguez.

UNRULY CROWD: A state senator was met by a boisterous crowd who shouted down his efforts to explain his plans to tinker with the State Questions that will alleviate incarceration of drug offenders.

DEATH PENALTY: DOC Director Joe Allbaugh discussed protocols and procedures of capital punishment with members of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

DOC INVESTIGATION: A DOC Captain and another former employee have been charged with various crimes including rape and bribery.

MORE BODY CAMS: Body cams are becoming more common—this time the Pushmataha County Sheriff’s Office will begin using them.

GROUNDBREAKING OFFICER: The Tulsa World ran an interesting article about Mary Horn—the first black policewoman in Tulsa, who was apparently a crack shot.

RETIRED: Harvey Pratt, the OSBI forensic sketch artist, has retired.

ADA FIRED: A Wagoner County prosecutor has been fired for alleged DUI and hit-and-run.

HONORED: Enid Police Detective Shawn Ramsey has been named Police Officer of the Year.

SHERIFF RETIRES: Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel has announced his retirement.



CRIMINAL COLLAGE: Meet 38 of the dumbest criminals of all time.

STILL PUNISHED: A man in Claremore, too drunk to drive, simply laid down next to his car and went to sleep—to be arrested and charged with public intox.

PORN BOARD: A substitute teacher in Pryor included some porn on a smartboard to a full class of students.

FRAUDULENT MARSHAL: A Piedmont man who claimed to be a retired U.S. Marshal has been found out to be a fraud.

UNRULY: A woman from Warner has been convicted of using obscene language when shouting at her son’s juvenile rape victim.

COOL PARENTS: Well, a little too cool…since they have been arrested on complaints of letting kids smoke marijuana.

SHE KNOWS: A woman in OKC has been charged with …fortune telling.

WORTHY CAUSE: A Lawton man explained by he was selling pot…to pay his child support.



SUBSCRIPTIONS AND SUBMISSIONS: To subscribe to the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Weekly just send an e-mail to James L. Hankins at jameshankins@ocdw.com 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 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.

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT & DISCLAIMER: ©2005-2017 by James L. Hankins. All rights reserved. OCDW hereby grants free use of these materials for any non-commercial purpose provided that proper credit to the OCDW is given. In the event that copyrighted works are included in an edition of the OCDW such works may not be reproduced without the consent of the copyright holder because under federal law the OCDW has no authority to allow the reproduction of the intellectual property of others. For purposes that go beyond “fair use” of the copyrighted material under federal law, the permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. If you are a copyright holder and object to any portion of an issue of the OCDW, please contact the publisher, James L. Hankins, at the contact information above (located under the SUBSCRIPTIONS AND SUBMISSIONS section). Finally, the materials presented in this newsletter are for informational purposes only, and are not, nor intended to be, legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult an experienced attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for legal advice applicable to the specific facts of your case. Cases are summarized in each weekly issue as they are issued and filed by the respective court, and are thus subject to being withdrawn, corrected, vacated, and/or modified or reversed without notice. Always conduct your own research!


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