Editorial: Anything subsidized grows or, said another way, without consequence crime has no limit in evil.
In Oklahoma this upcoming election day, servants of crime demand get-out-of-jail-free-cards be enshrined in our Oklahoma Constitution. Granted, Oklahoma was once a territory outlaws freely ruled, but the misery of victims must not again be silenced or ignored. This criminal catch-and-release program will not make us safer or save public money, but it will put more criminals in our neighborhoods.
State Question 805 would:
- Define “nonviolent” to include domestic violence, negligent homicide, maiming through arson or driving under the influence, animal cruelty, and home burglary among other charges.
- Require sentence modification (reduction) for some incarcerated for child trafficking, solicitation of sex from a minor online, and domestic violence in the presence of a child.
- Forbid consideration of habitual criminal history in any new trial.
- Adding insult to injury, force taxpayers to pay criminal attorneys to re-open cases thus ignoring victim rights, juries’ determinations of fact and any judge’s wisdom after a full hearing of the facts in each case.
- Enshrine limitations on justice in the Oklahoma Constitution – thus become exceedingly difficult to fix as faults may be found.
Even advocates of criminal justice reform say it will “haunt the state for decades to come.” The chairman of the VOTE NO effort is Tricia Everest who has long led the charge to make Oklahoma communities safer through reforms that improve rehabilitation.
Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating said, “State Question 805 is terrible public policy.”
Governor Kevin Stitt notes the Legislature is currently working with district attorneys in an active task force to address justice reform, but SQ 805 is not the way to reform – the topics are complicated. For example Stitt said, “Your first DUI is different from your tenth DUI and, if you’re are a habitual drunk driver, eventually, you will kill someone (or yourself).”
The YES on SQ 805 supporters tug heart strings with incomplete stories such as “Sonya” which they assert is a poor single mother who was simply “shoplifting.” But a closer look at her record shows that she was actually a serial shoplifter with multiple violations of larceny/theft, in addition to forgery and at least five (5) occasions of possession of drugs — with at least one occasion of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute (drug dealing). With 9 total felonies, her rap sheet begs for serious time.
SQ 805 is not responsible criminal justice reform. It would release dangerous abusers into communities across Oklahoma to continue cycles of violence with no incentive to break criminal habits – a travesty of justice.
SQ 805 is unsafe for Oklahoma. Click here for more information.