Weird Oklahoma Laws

Last week, we wrote about the passing of SB 286, which repeals a couple of antiquated laws, including the crimes of "seduction of an unmarried woman" and "imputing to any female . . . a want of chastity." Now that it's no longer against the law to have premarital sex or to claim a woman has loose morals, we thought it might be fun to look at a few other outdated and strange laws that remain in Oklahoma's criminal code.  
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Oklahoma Repeals Antiquated Laws

Oklahoma is known for having some pretty outdated laws. We were the last state to allow tattoos, which only became legal in 2006. We account for 50% of all 3.2 beer sales, thanks to tough beer and liquor laws. And until November 1, 2017, it remains illegal--not just poor taste--to call a woman a slut. 
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Gov. Fallin Commutes More Drug Offender Sentences

Oklahoma has a long reputation for handing out long sentences for drug crimes, and until 2015, state law required a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of drug trafficking after two prior felony drug conviction. That law was repealed in 2015, but it left dozens of men and women serving sentences of life or life without parole for nonviolent drug crimes. 
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New Oklahoma Program Intended to Reduce Female Incarceration Rate

For years, Oklahoma has had one of the highest overall incarceration rates in the nation; when it comes to locking up women, Oklahoma continues to take the lead year after year. A major reason for this is the state's harsh drug laws which dole out long prison terms for even relatively minor drug crimes.  
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If I'm innocent, why shouldn't I talk to the police?

You have probably heard the advice that you should never, ever speak to police without an attorney. You have no doubt heard a suspect in a cop drama being told that he has the "right to remain silent," and that, "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."  And if you are like most people, you think that this is good advice for guilty people. After all, they wouldn't want to accidentally slip up and confess, or they wouldn't want to unintentionally provide police with the evidence that will ultimately convict them. But what about for innocent people? Would this advice still apply? 
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Infographic: False Confessions

It seems unthinkable that an innocent person would confess to a crime he or she did not commit, but not only does it happen, it is not that unusual. About 30% of DNA exonerations for wrongful convictions include false confessions. Of those cases involving people later found factually innocent of crimes to which they confessed, up to 80% were murder cases. Whether through exhaustion after hours of interrogation, youthful impressionability, fear of getting a harsher sentence if found guilty at trial, or diminished mental capacity, people DO confess to crimes they didn't commit, and studies show it happens more often--and more easily--than you might think. 
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Oklahoma House Passes Bill to Undo the Vote of the People

In November, Oklahoma voters cast their votes in favor of criminal justice reform. More than 830,000 voters--58.23%--voted to pass State Question 780, which reclassified certain drug crimes and property crimes as misdemeanors. Under previous law, a first offense of simple drug possession was a felony. SQ 780 would make it a misdemeanor. 
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