Changes in Criminal Law

Article excerpt

Wholesale changes are on the way in Oklahoma County for everyone involved in the practice of criminal law. Judges, lawyers, administrators, law officers, defendants and support staff will all be affected.

The changes in criminal practice in Oklahoma County will be significant. This week I'll highlight some of the changes, which are intended to more efficiently utilize limited criminal justice resources.

At the instance of several Oklahoma County judges, a task force of prosecutors, judges, defense counsel and others was created some months ago in Oklahoma County. Its purpose was to determine how processing of criminal cases could be streamlined without impacting the constitutional rights of defendants.

Over the decades, criminal dockets in the state's largest county had become a hodgepodge of conflicting and confusing components. Court hearings requiring the appearance of lawyers and defendants included arraignments, pretrials, preliminary hearings, jury call dockets, motion dockets, plea dockets, revocation and acceleration dockets, cost dockets, sentencing dockets and trial dockets. Frequently, prosecutors, defense attorneys and even defendants were scheduled to be in two or more different courtrooms at the same time. …


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