The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

State/Region

May 18, 2013

Lawmakers near passage of DNA test bill

OKLAHOMA CITY — Convicted criminals who maintain their innocence would have a way to seek DNA testing to help prove their cases under a bill that is nearing final passage in the Legislature and would eliminate Oklahoma’s dubious distinction as the only state in the nation without such a program.

The Oklahoma House voted unanimously on Thursday for the Postconviction DNA Act, which allows those convicted of violent felonies or who have been sentenced to 25 years or more in prison to file a motion in court to request forensic DNA testing of any biological material in the case that may help them assert their innocence.

“Oklahoma is the only state that didn’t have a mechanism in place for people who were in prison erroneously and who were innocent to work their way out of the system,” said Rep. Lee Denney, R-Stillwater, who sponsored the bill after her appointment to the Oklahoma Justice Commission. “It’s incumbent upon the state not to incarcerate innocent people.”

The bill, which still must be approved by the Senate before being sent to the governor, was the product of negotiations between prosecutors, defense attorneys and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. It would allow qualifying prisoners to formally request DNA testing in the court in which they were sentenced. A hearing would be held for a judge to determine if DNA evidence existed in the case and if there was a “reasonable probability” that the petitioner would not have convicted if favorable results were obtained through DNA testing.

“DNA testing has improved over the last 20 years and it may continue improving over the next 20 years,” said Bob Ravitz, Oklahoma County’s chief public defender, who noted more than 300 people have exonerated nationally in the last few decades, including nearly a dozen in Oklahoma, as a result of post-conviction DNA testing.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Survivors observe 19th anniversary

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Survivors, rescue workers and the family members of victims of the Oklahoma City bombing have observed the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack....

    April 20, 2014

  • State budget talks center on cuts

    OKLAHOMA CITY — With six weeks left in the 2014 session, behind-the-scenes negotiations among the House, Senate and governor’s office are ramping up on how to plug a $188 million hole in the budget and fund programs for education, public ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose measure

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature, proposed as a reaction to the case of an oral surgeon accused of maintaining filthy office conditions, that deals with training requirements for oral surgery ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Dental groups oppose legislation

    TULSA — Some Oklahoma dental groups are opposing a bill in the state Legislature dealing with training requirements for oral surgery dental assistants....

    April 20, 2014

  • Pork producer subsidiary plans to use compressed gas

    GUYMON — A subsidiary of Oklahoma pork producer Seaboard Foods has begun using trucks fueled by compressed natural gas to deliver biodiesel....

    April 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma City Memorial Bombing museum gets tech boost

    OKLAHOMA CITY — A memorial and museum built to remember the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade so it can better portray how different the world was when Timothy McVeigh blew up the ...

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. puts off pipeline decision

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely....

    April 19, 2014

  • Sonic plans expansion

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma-based Sonic Corp. plans to open 1,000 new drive-in restaurants nationwide over the next 10 years, expanding the chain by about 30 percent, the company said....

    April 19, 2014

  • Fallin disappointed SBAdenied loans

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she is disappointed that a federal agency denied a request for loans to businesses in two Oklahoma towns affected by an emergency bridge closure....

    April 18, 2014

  • Oklahoma Senate approves limits on abortion drug

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs in Oklahoma in a bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision....

    April 16, 2014