Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously rejects effort to halt public records lawsuit for execution records

Adam Marshall | Freedom of Information | Commentary | June 11, 2015
June 11, 2015

On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously denied an effort to overturn a lower court’s ruling that cleared the way for a lawsuit to obtain records on the botched execution of Clayton Lockett.

Ziva Branstetter, an Oklahoma-based reporter for The Frontier, and Tulsa World filed the lawsuit in December against Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson for withholding public records requested under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

Oklahoma judge lets open records lawsuit for botched execution records continue

Adam Marshall | Freedom of Information | Commentary | April 13, 2015
April 13, 2015

An Okahoma trial judge has denied a motion to dismiss an open records lawsuit against Oklahoma Gov. Marry Fallin and Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Tompson.

The case involves several requests made by Tulsa World Enterprise Editor Ziva Branstetter under Oklahoma's Open Records Act seeking, among other things, the transcripts of witness interviews conducted as part of the investigation into what happened during Clayton Lockett's botched execution in April 2014, and for email between state officials discussing the issue.

Branstetter's requests were pending for seven months before she and Tulsa World filed suit.

Katie Townsend, litigation director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, along with Robert Nelon of Hall Estill, argued before the court last Friday on behalf of Tulsa World and Branstetter.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): An individual who is a party to either an in-person conversation or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents, unless the person is doing so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 176.4 (West 2012).


May 1, 2012


Oklahoma court grants media limited access to state foster care records

Emily Miller | Freedom of Information | News | May 29, 2012
May 29, 2012

An Oklahoma appeals court on Friday affirmed a lower court’s decision to grant the media limited access to state agency records regarding foster parents in 14 counties.

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) must provide names, birth dates and addresses of foster parents -- otherwise confidential information -- to the World Publishing Company and KOKI Fox 23 News for the sole purpose of determining whether foster parents are convicted felons.

Oklahoma high court rejects rule requiring redacted filings

Kristen Rasmussen | Secret Courts | Feature | December 16, 2011
December 16, 2011

The Oklahoma Supreme Court earlier this week nixed a proposed rule that would have severely limited personal information contained in court records in favor of one that allows, but does not require, the omission of basic identifying data.

Oklahoma high court finds employee birth dates private

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Feature | June 29, 2011
June 29, 2011

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the birth dates of public employees may not be released under the state's open records law after finding that the privacy interests of the employees outweigh the public interest in disclosure in Oklahoma Public Employees Assocation v. State of Oklahoma. The ruling affirms the lower court ruling, which was appealed by both parties.

Judge finds employee ID numbers are confidential

Stephen Miller | Freedom of Information | Feature | September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010

An Oklahoma County district court judge found last week that state agency employee identification numbers are confidential, but held that agencies have the discretion to determine whether employee birth dates are matters of public record.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association sued the state in March to prevent the release of state employee information that was requested by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman, said Kevin Donelson, an attorney for the OPEA.

Oklahoma sells employee data withheld from records requests

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | April 6, 2010
April 6, 2010

Oklahoma has made more than $65 million in the last five years selling its citizens' private information -- including birth dates of state employees that it has refused to release in response to public records requests, The Oklahoman and Tulsa World reported.

State employees ask judge to block the release of birth dates

Christine Beckett | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | March 30, 2010
March 30, 2010

A group of Oklahoma state employees have asked a county judge to block state offices from releasing the birth dates of employees in response to a newspaper's public records request, The Oklahoman reported.