Mark Hancock, Oklahoma City

Keaton Ross has his eye on a couple of important criminal justice bills that remain in limbo.

One would make it possible for judges to consider that a defendant was a domestic violence victim and impose a lighter sentence than otherwise required. The bill flew through the House and Senate with bipartisan support but was vetoed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, who, along with the District Attorneys Association, thought it was too broad. The Senate promptly voted to override the veto, but the bill still needs a House override to become law.

The other would increase penalties for retail theft, dropping the threshold for a felony to $500. The bill is meant to address retailers' concerns about organized shoplifting rings but opponents say it will hurt small-time shoplifters more than organized crime and will undo some of the state question voters passed to reduce penalties for drug and property crimes.

The Legislature must conclude the regular session by May 31.

More worth reading:

Two More Deaths at Lawton Prison
Two inmates were killed and more than 30 others were injured Friday during a group fight at the Lawton Correction and Rehabilitation Center. Corrections officials said at least two of the inmates sustained serious injuries and were transported to the hospital − one via medi-flight and one via ground vehicle. [The Oklahoman]

Judge Certifies Class in Massive Poultry Lawsuit
On Thursday, a federal judge in Oklahoma said Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. must face claims on behalf of tens of thousands of chicken growers that it conspired with other poultry producers to underpay them by hundreds of millions of dollars. [Reuters]

OKCPS Picks Polk
A longtime school administrator credited as a “catalyst” for positive change in Oklahoma City Public Schools will take on the district’s top job. [Oklahoma Voice]

Woman Who Stole From Disabled Clients Sentenced
A woman who admitted to stealing funds from five developmentally disabled people was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison. [Tulsa World]

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, California leads the country with seven significant earthquakes so far this year. Oklahoma is in second place with three.

Ciao for now,

Ted Streuli

Executive Director, Epic Text Books

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