The Norman Transcript


November 6, 2013

Local attorney to receive Courageous Lawyer award



For example, Oklahoma wouldn’t be able to recognize a marriage that occurred in a foreign country because the marriage would have occurred under foreign law.

“It was amazing. There were exhibits we introduced that showed what people were thinking about this amendment,” he said.

Salem still keeps a postcard sent to him during that time that basically asked him to tell his client, Awad, that if he didn’t like it here, he should get on his camel and go home. Awad was born in Michigan and went to school in Georgia, Salem said with a laugh.

“That card just kind of illustrates the depth of ignorance people have about this,” he said.

It also was a reminder of the prejudice still very prevalent today and how close it came to the surface in the litigation.

Salem said he hopes the litigation is used for education about civic responsibility and constitutional rights and the dangers that come along with making decisions about people based upon their religious beliefs.

He’s not sure the Oklahoma legislature has learned his lesson about this yet, he said.

“Litigation is meant to create understanding,” he said. “I just wonder how many more teaching moments we can afford.”

Other cases of note: Salem also has been involved in numerous other cases dealing with federal civil rights litigation, which he has devoted a substantial amount of his practice to. Some of those included challenging religious practices in elementary schools involving the Little Axe and New Lima school districts in 1985 and 1992, respectively.

The Little Axe lawsuit garnered him the Oklahoma Courageous Advocacy Award for the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1984. Salem said the case was referenced in the congressional debate that took place in the ’80s dealing with religion in schools.

The New Lima lawsuit is, to Salem’s knowledge, the only establishment clause ever tried to a jury, which ruled in favor of his client.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Police rule out homicide in Norman woman’s death

    Norman Police Capt. Todd Gibson said Tuesday they have eliminated the theory of homicide after a Norman woman was found dead in her home Monday afternoon. “We’re moving in a different direction with the investigation,” Gibson said. “It’s ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Additional details come to light in Campus Corner incident involving Sooner recruit

    The 911 call from Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe early Friday morning brought forth more details from the incident that has Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon under investigation for an alleged assault....

    July 30, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 8:20 a.m. larceny report, 2000 block of West Lindsey Street · 9:04 a.m. stolen vehicle, 3400 block of Bart Conner Drive · 9:11 a.m. larceny report, 1200 block of Ed ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Casey Dawn Sanders, 37, obtaining or attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery or fraud · Amiremad Nayebyazdi, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    Woman charged after Sunday shooting A Norman woman was charged after shooting several rounds toward a residence Sunday. When officers found her, she exhibited signs of intoxication and had drugs on her, records show. Teresa Renee Haas, ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Body 1 Police identify woman found dead Monday

    Norman police have identified a woman found dead in her home at 2202 Donna Drive Monday afternoon. Police responded at 1:25 p.m. to the residence of Cassandra Thompson, 30, after receiving a report that she had not shown up for work ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman arrested for allegedly bringing gun into courthouse

    Cleveland County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Norman woman Friday after she allegedly brought a loaded handgun to the Cleveland County Courthouse. Cynthia Bodnar, 52, of Norman, entered the courthouse through the east entrance shortly ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Man in critical condition after being pinned in wreck

    A Norman man remained in critical condition Monday after a single-vehicle wreck around 10:15 p.m. Sunday at 1100 80th Ave. SE. Norman police believe Justin Davis, 33, was intoxicated when he got tangled in his vehicle and pinned....

    July 29, 2014

  • Teen dies after drowning incident

    After rescue attempts by Good Samaritans and medical crews, Oklahoma Highway Patrol confirmed that a Yukon teen died at 5:50 a.m. Monday after a drowning incident Sunday at Lake Thunderbird....

    July 29, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Sunday: · 12:07 a.m. vandalism, 700 block of Asp Avenue · 1:29 a.m. larceny report, 300 block of North Interstate Drive East · 2:50 a.m. larceny report, 300 block of North ...

    July 29, 2014