The City Sentinel

Oklahoma Innocence Project to highlight push for criminal justice reforms

Darla Shelden Story by on May 4, 2016 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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Patrick B. McGuigan, editor

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.

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, Reba 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 Oklahoma 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 The City Sentinel 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.

Beginning at 8:45 a.m. during Thursday’s session, 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 of the Capitol, at 601 N.E. 14 Street.

Judge Reba Strubhar

Judge Reba Strubhar

Oklahoma Innocence Project executive director Vicki Behenna.

Oklahoma Innocence Project executive director Vicki Behenna.

Nancy Vollersten, whose brother (Greg Wilhoit) was wrongfully convicted of a murder in Tulsa will speak at the press conference on Friday morning. Photo by Darla Sheden

Nancy Vollersten, whose brother (Greg Wilhoit) was wrongfully convicted of a murder in Tulsa will speak at the press conference on Friday morning. Photo by Darla Shelden

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