Secret Appeal Hearing for Oklahoma City Police Officer Sentenced to 263 in Prison for Raping 12 Women

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals made public Thursday documents in Daniel Ken Holtzclaw’s appeal, revealing a secret hearing in June was closed to the public because of a personnel matter.

The hearing, before Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson, was to “assist the court in determining which materials, if any, were subject to disclosure to appellate defense counsel in this case.”

At issue was the personnel file for the forensic chemist who testified during Holtzclaw’s trial. Prosecutors raised the issue of the personnel matter themselves.

On May 4, the state Attorney General’s Office, whose attorneys are handling the appeal, filed the first request related to filing a motion and accompanying material under seal because the information is “protected from public disclosure by Oklahoma law.”

According to state law, a public body may keep personnel records confidential. The chemist, Elaine Taylor, was the prosecutors’ DNA expert at Holtzclaw’s trial. She retired in February from the Oklahoma City Police Department Forensic Lab.

“The Office of the Attorney General has yielded its strong commitment to transparency only because the law required it, and does not — in any general sense — advocate the sealing of documents … or closure of proceedings to the public except in the most extraordinary cases. This has been one of them,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Haire wrote in a July court document.

Holtzclaw, now 30, was accused of sexually assaulting 12 black women and one black teen between December 2013 and June 2014 while an Oklahoma City police officer. He preyed on women in the poor neighborhoods he patrolled, according to prosecutors.

Jurors found Holtzclaw guilty in December 2015 of 18 sexual offenses involving eight victims. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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