Judiciary - Criminal

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Committee on Judiciary - Criminal

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Oct 6, 2023
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Ford Studies Ways to Help Domestic Violence Victims

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, this week held an interim study on finding ways to better assist domestic violence victims and to address the generational impact of such abuse. IS23-051 was heard Wednesday by the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee. "As a former police officer, I unfortunately saw too many victims caught in the heartbreaking cycle of domestic violence," Ford said. "I've long have wanted to find ways to stop the devastation I witnessed and to break this destructive cycle. "My hope was by gathering numerous subject-matter experts, we can help understand the patterns that lead to this abuse, which can often be generational, and to find adequate ways to improve our support of victims while prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes. "I'm grateful to the presenters who helped each of us have a much fuller understanding of why domestic violence exists and policies we can consider that will better help victims and stop this cycle going forward." Presenters at the study included several women who shared insight from a victim's perspective. Angie Bowker-Felts spoke on the generational cycle of abuse and its impact, and Heather Crosley-Simon presented "sin by silence: a family's tragedy." Current investigative methods and their impact on Oklahomans as well as potential improvements were shared by Joshua Patzkowski, a special agent and liaison for missing and murdered indigenous people with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI); Lt. Amanda Miller, assistant special agent in charge at OSBI; and Stacey Todd, assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma who works in the Special Victims Unit and on child exploitation cases.  Discussing domestic violence statistics for Oklahoma were Anthony Hernandez Rivera, who service as program manager for the Victim Services Unit with the Oklahoma attorney general's office; and Susan Laib, director of the Victim Advocacy and Service Unit with the Oklahoma attorney general's office. Addressing intimate partner violence and systemic change were Kendra Zoellner, PhD and an associate professor of social work at Northeastern State University; and Gloria Miller, a founder of Community Faculty with the University of Oklahoma.  Brandi Woods-Littlejohn, program manager for personal health and rape prevention with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, spoke on healthy relationships. Ashley Nix, director of the Special Victims Unit with the Tulsa County district attorney's office, detailed expanding services, protections and prevention.  Kasey Magness, a forensic nurse administrator with the Tulsa Police Department, spoke about the benefits of proper examinations and care and how this can support the work of district attorneys in helping to enhance punishments for perpetrators of this crime.  Matthew E. Level, director of operations for the Court Assistance Program, discussed deficiencies in the current system for mental health and substance abuse defendants.  Domestic violence in Tulsa County and ways to improve were addressed by Suzann Stewart, executive director of the Family Safety Center; and Lori Aery Gonzales, vice president of advocacy services for Domestic Violence Intervention Services.  Presenting on the topic of breaking the cycle of domestic abuse were three executives from Palomar OKC: Kim Garrett, chief visionary officer and founder; Hillary Burkholder, chief executive officer; and Anden Bull, chief operating officer. Closing remarks were provided by Rep. Ford and Committee Chairman Rep. Rande Worthen, R-Lawton. 

Sep 25, 2023
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Date Set for Ford Study on Domestic Violence Victims

OKLAHOMA CITY – A date has been set for Rep. Ross Ford’s interim study on finding ways to better assist domestic violence victims and to address the generational impact of such abuse. Interim study IS23-051 is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 4 in Room 450 at the State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd. It will be heard by the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee. "I've talked with countless individuals and organizations who are excited to help Oklahomans and offered their assistance in any way. Together I'm hoping these subject-matter experts can help us understand what works and how better we can help these victims," said Ford, R-Broken Arrow. “I want to look at early intervention, programs that will help empower victims to leave their attackers before it is too late, and that help show what healthy relationships look like." Ford, a former police officer, said one area of focus will be how domestic violence forensic examinations can provide much needed support for district attorneys to help enhance punishments for perpetrators of this crime.  Ford said his study is made even more timely with recent news reports that show Oklahoma now ranks highest in domestic violence for both men and women and third in the U.S. for the number of women killed by their significant others. In addition, the Oklahoma Coalition for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is no longer operating after a loss of federal funding. This came after a federal audit found misspending of public funds by former staff and board members.  "I think with the position we've found ourselves in, it's imperative we don't just try to go back to the old method that allowed our state to rank the highest in domestic violence," Ford said. "Instead, we must look at a variety of options and organizations to try and break the generational cycle of abuse our state is in. While it is important to look after the victims, I want to ensure we are also doing what we can to help educate and prevent future victims." Rep. Ford appreciates all those who have contacted his office already. He encourages anyone else wanting to join the conversation to attend the interim study or continue reaching out to his office either to his email at  Ross.Ford@okhouse.gov  or by calling (405) 557-7347.

Aug 1, 2023
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Hasenbeck Interim Study on Revenge Porn Convictions Approved

An interim study by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, to examine convictions and sentencing for distribution of non-consensual pornography has been approved.  Known as "revenge porn," the nonconsensual distribution of pornography with the intent to harass or humiliate the subject became a misdemeanor in 2016 under Senate Bill 1257.  "Cameras and cell phones are so common today that many photos or videos, including those that are intimate in nature, are taken without the subject's knowledge or consent," Hasenbeck said. "Even when the media was captured with consent, the subject may not have given permission to post it online or otherwise share it. But once it hits the Internet, it is nearly impossible for law enforcement or the victim to track down every single place on the Internet that this photo or video landed.  "The knowledge that this media is out there haunts these victims day in and day out," Hasenbeck continued. "It destroys their lives, causes severe anxiety and depression and leaves these innocent victims feeling completely helpless."  Currently, the crime is punishable by up to one year in the county jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Additionally, the court may order the defendant to remove the image if the court finds it is in the power of the defendant to do so. Subsequent offenses are considered a felony with at least one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.  Hasenbeck's study, IS23-087, has been assigned to the House Judiciary – Criminal Committee. Interim studies can begin Aug. 7 and must conclude by Nov. 16. 

Committee Members



Rande Worthen


District 64

Vice Chair

Collin Duel


District 31

John George


District 36

Jason Lowe


District 97

Stan May


District 80

Lonnie Sims


District 68

Judd Strom


District 10

House Staff Assigned

Brad Wolgamott

Director of Research

Grace Shelton

Deputy Chief Counsel

Robert Flipping

Fiscal Policy Analyst