criminal justice

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

Mississippi man Curtis Flowers was tried for the same crime six times: the murder of four people at a furniture store in 1996. He was convicted four times — but each was overturned. Two others ended in mistrials.

Earlier this year, the conviction in the sixth trial was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that prosecutors had shown an unconstitutional pattern of excluding black jurors from Flowers' trials.

Kentucky's new governor has restored voting rights to felons in the state, in an executive order signed days after he took office.

With Thursday's order, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear returned the right to vote and hold public office to more than 140,000 nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentences.

Nearly 500 Oklahoma prison inmates walked free on Monday, Nov. 4, in an effort by the state to lose the title of the nation's incarceration capital. Oklahoma's incarceration rate in 2018 led the nation, with 1,079 per 100,000 people behind bars, according to a report by the Prison Policy Initiative.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the resignation announcement by Oklahoma City Democratic Representative Shane Stone which could trigger a special election and voters are heading to the polls this Tuesday to decide on MAPS 4 to raise nearly $978M for 16 different projects.

In November 1983, 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett was shot in the neck in a Baltimore high school over his Georgetown Starter jacket.

Three 16-year-old boys were arrested on Thanksgiving Day 1983 and charged with the murder. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The three, now in their 50s, were all released from prison on Monday — fully exonerated after spending 36 years incarcerated for a murder they didn't commit.

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Following a number of high profile incidents of Tulsa Police using force, a recent study found that race was not a significant factor in officers’ decisions. 

Researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Cincinnati studied Tulsa to find ways to reduce the number of times police officers use force on civilians.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about Governor Stitt's suggestion for Oklahoma to use Medicaid block grants rather than going with Medicaid expansion, an initiative petition to end certain sentencing enhancements for nonviolent offenses and the State Insurance Commissioner chooses to not enforce a law giving patients the right to choose a pharmacy provider.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Prison is not fun anymore for Warren Rawls. The 36-year-old has been in and out of prison six times, and he has decided he’s not going back. He says during a recent statewide prison lockdown he was handcuffed everywhere he went – even the shower.

Rawls is one of more than 450 Oklahomans set free in the nation’s largest single-day commutation on record.

Felony murder is not your average murder. Juvenile justice advocates call felony murder laws arcane and say they unfairly harm children and young adults. Prosecutors can charge them with felony murder even if they didn't kill anyone or intend to do so. What's required is the intent to commit a felony — like burglary, arson or rape — and that someone dies during the process.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the commutation of more than 500 prisoners in state custody, the concerns growing from law enforcement and citizens over permitless carry and the State Supreme Court listening to the challenge of a controversial alcohol distribution law.

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