Oklahoma Innocence Project to highlight push for criminal justice reforms

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bipartisan group of Oklahomans will come to the University of Oklahoma Faculty House near the state Capitol for a press conference on Thursday morning (today, May 5).
Participants will include Tim Durham, who was wrongfully convicted of a rape in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Joining him will be Nancy Vollersten, whose brother (Greg Wilhoit) was wrongfully convicted of a murder in Tulsa. Christy Sheppard, cousin of murder and rape victim Debbie Carter, will also address the meeting.
A retired Oklahoma Court of criminal appeals judge, Reta Strubhar, will also participate in the briefing. Judge Strubhar co-chairman of a bipartisan group investigating Oklahoma’s troubled death penalty process, with an eye to make reform recommendations in 2017.
Dr. Larry Hellman, dean emeritus at the Oklahoma City University School of law, will also speak.
The Innocence Project is based at the OCU School of Law. Vicki Behenna, an experienced Oklahoma prosecutor, serves is the project’s executive director. She will also be part of Friday’s press event.
Pat Hall, a longtime state Capitol lobbyist, told CapitolBeatOK the individuals participating in the press event planned to thank members of the state Legislature for enacting four important criminal justice reforms during this year’s session. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the measures last week .
At Friday’s session, beginning at 8:45 a.m., the Innocence Project leaders will also underscore possible changes in law and police procedures that could reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions. Faculty House is located south at the Capitol, at 601 N.E. 14 Street.