Blog

Was the Terrence Walker shooting justified?

The last moments of Terrence Walker’s life are captured on video taken from the lapel of Muskogee Police Officer Chansey McMillin. McMillin shot and killed Walker as he fled an investigative detention. McMillin was called to the scene based on a 911 call that Walker had a gun and was threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. These… read more…

Bosh decision clarified by Oklahoma Supreme Court

Since the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued its decision in Bosh v. Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority, 2013 OK 9, 305 P.3d 994, granting citizens civil rights under the state constitution, state and federal courts have struggled to determine the general application of that decision. Does Bosh apply to any case implicating a state constitutional right?  Or… read more…

Supreme Court to clarify excessive force standard

Are victims of excessive force required to prove the subjective motivations of their assailant? In other words, must the victim prove that the assailant used force with some intent to harm? For police-citizen encounters, the answer is a well-established “No.” To prove excessive force during a police-citizen encounter, the victim must show the use of… read more…

Can I be arrested for that?

The answer depends on whether your actions violate the law.  So how many laws are there? We don’t actually know. In 1982, the Justice Department commissioned a study to determine how many criminal laws actually exist, and the result was complete and total frustration: In a project that lasted two years, the Department compiled a… read more…

How employers fire pregnant women – and get away with it

Because the Pregnancy Discrimination Act does not protect pregnancy complications, employers can terminate pregnant employees who cannot perform certain job functions because of a pregnancy. For example,  if an employer would fire a non-pregnant employee for missing work to visit the doctor, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act will not protect a similarly-situated pregnant employee just because… read more…

Do I have to show my ID to police?

Citizen-police encounters often begin with an officer asking for identification. People generally provide this information without questioning the legitimacy of the request. In circumstances where a citizen does question the officer, a typical response is generally, “because I’m a police officer,” or “because I said so.” But what if the officer is wrong? What if… read more…

[B]lack?

A new study was published regarding differences between use of the words “African-American” and “Black.” In the findings, researches discovered that participants in the study were more likely to associate negative words with the term “Black” than “African-American”: Perhaps, each term evoked different individuals. For example, if White Americans were told that an African-American man… read more…

How do police hack your phone without a warrant?

As local police departments militarize their weapons, it was only a matter of time before they upgraded their surveillance systems as well. Thanks to a small portable device known as a “Stingray” – about the size of a box of doughnuts- police are able to vacuum up loads of cell phone data from regular citizens… read more…

Princeton Guilty of Violating Title IX

Princeton University has agreed to settle a Title IX investigation with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. According to reports, “The government found that [Princeton] had failed to respond ‘promptly and equitably’ to complaints of sexual violence in violation of federal law.”  Story here. A report issued by the Office of Civil Rights stated… read more…

Is a business responsible for icy conditions outside the store?

When a customer slips and falls on an icy sidewalk outside the store, who is responsible if the customer is injured? Is it the customer or the business? In most premises liability cases, the customer is responsible if the condition was “open and obvious,” but where the injury is caused by ice, Oklahoma law imposes… read more…