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Oklahoma Appeals Court keeps “Innocent Man” in prison…

7:39 AM EDT on August 30, 2022

Over the past 15 years on this website, we've routinely thanked our state's judicial branch for being the lone outpost of logic and reason in the Oklahoma polito-sphere, and doing its part to protect us from some of the more unconstitutional and insane overreaches of government by Oklahoma lawmakers, governors, corrupt law enforcement officials, etc.

Well, I guess that was fun while it lasted.

Yesterday afternoon, The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals reinstated a murder conviction for Tommy Ward – one of the subjects of The Innocent Man book and Netflix series who's spent most of his life in prison for a murder that he likely didn't commit.

Here are details via a Rollin' Nolan Clay article in The Oklahoman_:

A prisoner featured on the Netflix documentary series "The Innocent Man" won't be going free after all.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday reinstated Tommy Ward's murder conviction in an infamous 1984 case out of Ada...

A judge from Atoka and Coal counties vacated Ward's murder conviction in 2020 on grounds favorable evidence had been suppressed. District Judge Paula Inge also ruled Ward could not be retried and must be discharged from prison.

The appeals court voted 5-0 to reverse her decision, finding she had abused her discretion when she ignored procedural bars to Ward's claims.

The appellate judges agreed Ward already raised his complaints about evidence on his failed direct appeal or could have. They also ruled he waited too long to raise further complaints about the evidence based on documents obtained from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in 2003.

Listen, I know judges are supposed to fairly and arbitrarily apply the law even when those laws make no sense, like, for example, reinstating murder charges on a man who was wrongly convicted of murder thanks to shoddy, shady, and deceitfully shitty tactics employed by law enforcement zealots, but can't we make an exception here?

If you've read The Innocent Man or watched the series, you know with 100% certainty that Ward is either A) innocent of the crime or B) didn't get anything close to a fair trial, so at the very least he should be free while our corrupt criminal justice system searched for a new way to torment the guy.

Anyway, you can read more about the case over at The Oklahoman_. Based on the write-up, it looks like Ward's only path to freedom will be to go through the federal courts like his wrongfully convicted co-defendant Karl Fontenot. At least we can still count on that level of the judicial branch... for now.

Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.

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