By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission will release its highly anticipated report on Tuesday, April 25 at 1 p.m. at a press conference in the State Capitol press room #432B.
The “first of its kind” commission was announced in March 2016.
The report has involved “nearly a year and a half of meetings, numerous interviews with Oklahoma stakeholders, comprehensive research, and thorough deliberation” said the press release received this afternoon by The City Sentinel and other media outlets.
A group of prominent Oklahomans joined together to form a “bipartisan” commission to produce “the first-ever independent, objective and thorough review of the state’s entire capital punishment system.”
Upon the announcement, commission co-chair, former Governor Brad Henry made the following statement:
“Oklahoma has an opportunity to lead the nation by being the first state to conduct extensive research on its entire death penalty process, beginning with an arrest that could lead to an execution.The Commission includes distinguished Oklahomans with differing views and perspectives on capital punishment who are donating their time to work together on a research-driven review.”.
Joining Gov. Henry as co-chairs are Reta Strubhar, a judge on the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals (1993-2004) and an Assistant District Attorney of Canadian County (1982-1984); and Andy Lester, of the Spencer Fane law firm and a former U.S. Magistrate Judge for Western District of Oklahoma who served on President Ronald Reagan’s Transition team for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1980-1981).
Members of the Commission have experience in a variety of aspects of the capital punishment system, including victim advocacy, policymaking, prosecution, defense, and judging. They also include leading lawyers, business leaders, and scholars.
In addition to the co-chairs, the members are Robert H. Alexander, Jr., of The Law Office of Robert H. Alexander, Jr.; Howard Barnett, President of OSU-Tulsa; Dean Andrew Coats, Dean Emeritus of OU College of Law; Dean Valerie Couch, Oklahoma City University School of Law; Maria Kolar, Assistant Professor of OU College of Law; Christy Sheppard, a victims’ advocate; Kris Steele, Director of The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM) and former Speaker of the House; and Gena Timberman, founder of The Luksi Group.
“Our goal is to provide a resource for Oklahomans to allow them to make informed judgments about our state’s capital punishment system that, we hope, will benefit both Oklahoma and the country as a whole,” Henry added in his statement.
For more information, visit okdeathpenaltyreview.org.