OCDW 03.20.17



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).




S.A.P. v. State, No. J-2016-989 (Okl.Cr., March 17, 2017) (unpublished): Search and Seizure (Consent; Warrantless (Home)): This is a case out of Beckham County where the juvenile appealed a finding adjudicating him a delinquent by the Hon. Michelle Kirby-Roper after he was charged with possession of drugs and paraphernalia. The issue at the non-jury trial centered around a motion to suppress. When S.A.P. missed school, officers went to check on him, and upon knocking they smelled the odor of burnt marijuana. S.A.P. let the police inside the house, and his grandmother-guardian gave them consent to search the house, which included a search of his room. The legal issue centered around whether the grandmother-guardian could consent to a search of his room because it was not under joint possession or control. Judge Kirby-Roper found the consent by the grandmother-guardian sufficient, and the OCCA agreed. NOTE: I included this case because it contains some good law on this subject which happens frequently in cases where parents and/or guardians give consent to search bedrooms of their charges/kids.




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).

No new cases.




United States v. James Robert Kirkland, No. 16-40255 (5th Cir., March 17, 2017): Prosecutorial Misconduct (Breach Plea Agreement): Reversible plain error occurred when the Government agreed to recommend a low-end of the Guidelines sentence, but advocated for a high end sentence.

United States v. Calvin Johnson, No. 15-3498-cr (2nd Cir., March 10, 2017): Guilty Pleas: Johnson pled guilty to drug and conspiracy counts that resulted in a mandatory minimum life sentence. The panel granted his motion to withdraw his plea, noting that the discussion was muddled and not made clear that life was the only sentencing option, and that Johnson derived no benefit at all from entering such a plea.

Paul McKernan v. Superintendent, No. 14-4506 (3rd Cir., February 28, 2017): IAC: Habeas relief is granted on an IAC claim where the trial judge made statements to defense counsel indicating bias and alignment with the family of the victim, but counsel failed to move to recuse.

United States v. Kenneth R. Douglas, No. 15-1754 (3rd Cir., February 22, 2017): Federal Sentencing Guidelines (Obstruction of Justice): District court erred in applying obstruction of justice enhancement based upon Douglas missing a trial day which he claimed was due to illness.




C. SCOTT LOFTIS, Ponca City, represented a Vietnam Vet accused of feloniously pointing a firearm. The alleged victim was on off-duty police officer, whom Scott destroyed on cross-examination, resulting in a beautiful not guilty verdict. Nice job, Scott!

JAMES L. HANKINS, Edmond, ended a circuitous legal journey last week at a trial de novo in the district court in Garfield County when Judge Dennis Hladik granted a motion to withdraw a plea that had been entered in Enid municipal court by a commercial truck driver who decided to go and pay a ticket, but then was blind-sided when DPS informed him that his license would be suspended. This case involved two notices of appeal in municipal court, a post-conviction application and hearing there, and then several hearings in district court attended by three different city attorneys. In the end, though, the client will get his conviction in city court vacated and get to drive again. Representing the City of Enid was a young attorney named William Gill, who did an admirable job.




JAIL UPGRADE: Interesting article discussing how pay-to-stay jails work in California if you have the money.

A.G. STAFF: Attorney General Mike Hunter announced three new executive staff appointments last week.

MOST WANTED KILLED: A 21-year-old woman, Madison Dickson, was the Most Wanted fugitive in Tulsa until she was found last week in a pick-up truck, jumped out shooting at officers, and was killed when an officer struck her with his patrol car.

THUG TASK FORCE: Something called the “THUG Task Force” is making drug arrests in Rogers County.

NEW CHIEF: The City of Okarche has hired Mark Sterling as the new Chief of Police.

RECUSALS: Three judges in Muskogee County have recused in the case of a man charged with child rape and child pornography.

GENERAL COUNSEL: Gov. Fallin’s General Counsel, Jennifer Chance resigned. This article indicates she may have referred cases to her husband. Gov. Fallin has named former state Sen. James Williamson as the new General Counsel.

SHAKEDOWN: A huge shakedown at Lexington yielded a variety of contraband.

SECURITY UPGRADE: The Bryan County Courthouse has state of the art surveillance cameras now.

GET SHORTEY: GOP State Senator Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, has been charged with three felony counts involving child prostitution with a 17-year-old boy. In the wake of Sen. Shortey’s sexual escapades with a minor, this report indicates that sexual impropriety at the state capitol might be more wide-spread.

TECHNICALITY: The Hartshorne Chief of Police and a City Councilor have lost their positions after failing to complete a required class on municipal management.

NEW CHIEF: J.D. Younger, a veteran of the Norman Police Department, has been named the new Chief of Police in Edmond.

RESIGNATIONS: The U.S. Attorneys in Tulsa and Muskogee have resigned in light of the directive by President Trump.

EXECUTION: The death chamber in Texas is active again, the State executed death row inmate James Bigby last week.

FISCAL CRISES: In the wake of DOC pulling inmates out of county jails, the Tillman County Jail may close. Other county Sheriffs have concerns as well.



GOTCHER-BEAVER: The Lost Ogle has a little fun with the law firm of Warren Gotcher down in McAlester. I’m sure Warren can take a joke. He is on the very short list of go-to lawyers down that way.

GO BIG: A convicted felon in Muskogee decided to go.

GRAVE SITUATION: Citizens in Duncan assisted police in apprehending a husband-and-wife team suspected of robbing…ornaments from gravesites to decorate their yard.

THE WAL-MARTS: Crime is so bad at the Coweta Wal-Mart that police have set up a desk inside the store.

EXPENSIVE CRASH: A motorists crashed a car into a business in Tulsa, leaving her nearly new Maserati at the scene.

DRIVING RIGHTS: Oklahomans now have reciprocal driving privileges…with South Korea.

DEDICATED: A vandal used a crow bar to smash the windows of 28 vehicles at a car dealership in Tulsa.



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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