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Today, the Oklahoma House of Representatives unanimously voted (91-0) to pass HB 1639, the Oklahoma Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act.
Alexandra Bailey, Senior Campaign Strategist at The Sentencing Project, released the following statement:
“This is a momentous day for domestic abuse survivors in Oklahoma. Rigid and extreme sentencing laws have devastated far too many women and children in the Sooner State. The Oklahoma Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act will give courts the ability to resentence people convicted of crimes where domestic abuse was determined to be a significant factor, and give courts the ability to consider additional context when handing down sentences. We couldn’t be happier that this bill has seen such widespread, bipartisan support, being unanimously passed on the House floor and in committee.
“Going forward, voters will want to ensure that lawmakers maintain the current language in this bill. That means guaranteeing that the bill applies to people who are already in prison for defending themselves, and ensuring that sentencing ranges remain proportional. We look forward to seeing this bill, in its current form, signed into law.”
Research from Oklahoma Appleseed suggests that hundreds of abuse survivors have been prosecuted by the state of Oklahoma to the fullest extent of the law, despite their experiences as abuse victims. This bill would:
- Provide a sentencing mitigation procedure for victims who are being prosecuted. Once they are found guilty, they would be able to introduce evidence of their abuse at a sentencing mitigation hearing.
- Provide a post-conviction relief procedure for victims of abuse where there was a homicide of their intimate partner.