Oklahoma Appleseed will work with state Representative Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin for Interim Study on issues flowing from Domestic Violence

Colleen McCarty, the executive director of Oklahoma Appleseed (an organization based in Tulsa) is providing expert testimony and in other ways assisting state Representative Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, in an upcoming Interim Study at the State Capitol.

The House Interim Study is focused on “Criminalized Survivors and Incarcerated Victims of Domestic Violence.” The time for the study is Tuesday, September 13 from 1:30 p.m.- 4 p.m., in Room 206 at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

McCarty, the founding executive director of the Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, will speak before the Oklahoma House of Representatives panel on Criminalized Survivors.

McCarty joined OKAppleseed when it formed last spring to support justice and opportunity for every Oklahoman by addressing criminal justice reform, mental health care for people in the justice system, and addressing the root causes of over-incarceration.

Recently McCarty was co-host, with attorney Leslie Briggs, of the new podcast “Panic Button,” which outlined the case of April Wilkens, a Tulsa victim of domestic violence who was convicted of murdering her partner in 1999.

The case raises the issue of criminalized survivors who through no fault of their own must defend themselves from abuse and often are convicted of crimes with long sentences.

The podcast is intended to raise awareness of unjust incarceration of victims of domestic violence. Wilkens has been in prison for 25 years.

The Interim Study was sought by Rep. Hasenbeck, and approved for this year by Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka.

The meeting will feature comments from McCarty, Briggs, Leigh Goodmark (a professor at the University of Maryland Law School), Brenda Golden (a survivor and attorney), Christie Luther (executive director of the RISE program), Toni Hall (a recently commuted criminalized survivor), and D’Marria Monday (executive director of Block Builderz).

The Judiciary-Criminal panel will hear a presentation concerning domestic violence and intimate partner statistics in Oklahoma and a presentation of legislation being worked on in other states including Ohio, Louisiana and New York.

Following the interim study, McCarty will be available for comments and updates related to the April

Wilkens case.

McCarty and criminalized survivors and their supporters, will be available for questions on the steps of the Capitol at 4:30 p.m. that day.

For information on OKAppleseed and other issues being addressed by the non-profit, go to


Reporters wanting information on the “Panic Button” podcast may go to https://okappleseed.org/media.

“OK Appleseed” is part of a national network of public interest law centers dedicated to systemic policy change.

This summer, the group has become increasingly active in meetings with policy-makers concerning a variety of criminal justice issues, including the cost of misdemeanor enforcement.


The Oklahoma Appleseed offices are located at 110 S. Hartford, Suite 1008, Tulsa OK 74120.

The group’s affirmation is “We fight for justice and opportunity for every Oklahoman.”

Note: Patrick B. McGuigan, publisher, founder and editor of CapitolBeatOK.com, contributed to this report. CapitolBeatOK is an independent, non-partisan and locally-managed news service based in Oklahoma City. It was founded in 2009.