Roundup of Oklahoma editorials

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Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

Tulsa World, April 22, 2014

The stain: Bogus conviction costs man 17 years

The loss Jeffrey Dan Williams suffered because of his wrongful 1997 conviction in U.S. District Court here is truly outrageous.

Three former Tulsa Police officers and a federal agent, the people the public relies on to uphold the law, perverted the process -misleading a federal judge and likely depriving 49 people, including Williams, of their civil rights.

For Williams, those officers’ actions cost him 17 years of freedom. U.S. District Judge James H. Payne has vacated Williams‘ sentence and ordered him freed from a Minnesota federal prison.

In a lengthy order, Payne found that a scheme by Tulsa police officers “J.J.” Gray, Jeff Henderson, Harold R. Wells and former federal agent Brandon McFadden, “was deliberately planned, carefully executed and intended to defraud the court, and in fact, this court did rely upon the fraudulently manufactured evidence in order to convict and sentence Williams.”

Williams is among 49 people who have been freed from prison or had their cases modified because of civil rights violations or potential problems with the case arising from a police corruption scandal.

All the officers involved have received prison sentences. But even with that, the stain remains. The corruption case encompassed several years and involved an illegal search and seizure of Williams. In addition, the officers induced false testimony from informants against him.

The criminal justice system relies on rules. Those used to convict and sentence Williams on bogus drug charges broke down at every juncture. Williams was arrested illegally, prosecutors relied on bogus evidence and testimony to convict him, a judge relied on the record before him to send Williams to federal prison.

This sounds more like a story you’d read about from a big city police corruption investigation, not one in Tulsa. But it happened here. The public and the judge all were deceived. And people like Williams paid the highest price of all.


Tahlequah Daily Press, April 18, 2014

Ban on wage hikes by municipalities a mark of hypocrisy

The words “God” and “governor” may share the same first two letters, but the two are hardly interchangeable.

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