Oklahoma Forward: The Price of Punishment
2nd Annual Criminal Justice Reform Conference • Held on January 22, 2021

Generally, a misdemeanor conviction is punishable by less than one year or 365 days in a county jail. In Oklahoma, a misdemeanor conviction is subject to a year in the county jail and a maximum fine of $500.00. However, the cost of being convicted of a misdemeanor in Oklahoma increases drastically when the costs and fees charged to a defendant are considered. In most cases, fees are intended to shift the costs of the criminal justice system from the taxpayer to the defendant. Historically, as the State of Oklahoma experienced budget gaps or added unfunded agency programs, it shifted more court costs and fees to the defendant to avoid appropriating tax dollars. These fees cover almost every part of the criminal justice process and include anything from court-appointed attorney fees, court clerk fees, late fees, installment fees, and supervision fees, to jury fees and various other kinds of administration fees. For example, the average cost of fees assessed to a misdemeanor drug defendant in Oklahoma is $850.00, in addition to any fine assessed. These fees range from a fee for the Trauma Care Assistance Revolving Fund to the Court Clerk’s Administrative Fee on Collections. Although criminal defendants are burdened with the funding of courts and government agencies, it is estimated that 70% of this criminal debt goes unpaid each year because poor people simply do not have the money.

The 2nd Annual Criminal Justice Reform Seminar was an online webinar focused on how exorbitant fines and costs assessments, particularly in the sentencing of misdemeanor defendants, keeps individuals trapped in the criminal justice system and creates a downward spiral of collateral consequences. Focus was also on the reform needed to change the impact of assessing fines and costs in sentencing, particularly misdemeanor sentencings. We discussed how poor people become trapped in the criminal justice system when they are unable to pay the fines and costs assessed against them.

The keynote speaker was Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Tony Messenger, a columnist with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2019, Mr. Messenger won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary for his series of columns on debtors’ prisons in the state of Missouri. In 2016, he was awarded a Missouri Honor Medal, the highest award bestowed by the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. That same year he won a National Headliner for editorial writing. In 2015, Mr. Messenger was a Pulitzer finalist for his series of editorials on the city of Ferguson, Missouri and won the Sigma Delta Chi award for best editorials of the year, given by the Society of Professional Journalists. His first book, “Profit and Punishment: How America Criminalizes the Poor in the Name of Poverty,” is currently pending publication by St. Martin’s Press and is due to be released in late 2021.

2021 Conference Schedule Recap
Fully Virtual & Live
Our Speakers
Tricia Everest
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority Chair
Tricia Louise Everest is a native of Oklahoma City and fourth-generation Oklahoman. She graduated from Casady High School before earning her Bachelor of Science Degree from Vanderbilt University in 1993 and, after returning home to Oklahoma, her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 2003. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Oklahoma City University. 
Timothy Tardibono
Executive Director at the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council
Timothy Tardibono serves as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC). The CJAC’s community vision is that Oklahoma County would be a community that has an economical, efficient, and smart local justice system that reflects our values of fairness, compassion and good governance. The CJAC was created by an interlocal agreement between Oklahoma County, the City of Oklahoma City, the City of Edmond, and the City of Midwest City after an intensive taskforce process by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber with nationally known research partner the Vera Institute of Justice. 
Steve Lewis
Lawyer and Lobbyist to the Oklahoma Legislator
Steve Lewis is former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma. He graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University then received his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. While at OU Mr. Lewis was a member of Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity and won the practice court award for best presentation of a jury trial. Mr. Lewis served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. For three years he was Station Legal Officer for the U.S. Naval Station, Sangley Point, Luzon, Republic of the Philippines. He returned to Shawnee after serving in the Navy and was an Assistant District Attorney and the elected District Attorney in Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties between 1971 and 1979 where he tried numerous jury trials.
Stephen Butler
Assistant Dean of Advancement and External Relations at OCU School of Law
Stephen Butler joined OCU Law in August 2016 and supervises the law school’s fundraising, alumni engagement, marketing, and events. He came to OCU after serving as the Director of Law Associates for Pepperdine University. Previously, Stephen served as a grant writer and organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation in Los Angeles and Dallas, Texas, where he worked with member institutions to create solutions to the lack of healthcare options in South Los Angeles, the subprime mortgage crisis, and the challenges facing public schools. As an organizer he worked with leaders of the Massachusetts-based Algebra Project and Los Angeles Unified School District to create an Algebra Project cohort at Crenshaw High School.
Stephen Galoob
Professor of Law, University of Tulsa
Dr. Stephen Galoob is Chapman Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he teaches courses on legal theory and criminal law and policy. A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and U.C. Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy program, Stephen is the author of over 20 publications in forums such as Yale Law Journal, Southern California Law Review, Legal Theory, and Oxford Studies in Political Philosophy. Since 2018, Stephen has worked with University of Tulsa law and undergraduate students as part of Project Commutation, which brings together criminal lawyers, criminal justice policy experts, and other advocates for criminal justice reform as part of an effort to reduce Oklahoma’s rate of incarceration. This team’s efforts have assisted over 500 people in the commutation process and, to date, have helped secure commutations for more than 300 people. 
Ryan Gentzler
Research Director at the Oklahoma Policy Institute
As Research Director at the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Ryan Gentzler oversees the organization's work to harness data in pursuit of policy and programmatic goals. Ryan joined OK Policy in January 2016 as a policy analyst focusing on criminal justice issues. He then served as the Director of Open Justice Oklahoma, a program of OK Policy that gathers and analyzes hard-to-access data to open the black box of our justice system. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.
Meagan Taylor
Director of Programs at Diversion Hub
Meagan Taylor is the Director of Programs at the Diversion Hub. Meagan graduated Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2015 and immediately started her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in Oklahoma County. Meagan spent time as an attorney in misdemeanor, general felony, and diversion courts while at the District Attorney’s Office. During her time at the District Attorney’s Office, Meagan’s passion of the diversion programs and diverting individuals and families away from the criminal justice system continued to expand.
Kelly Doyle
Board Member at Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board
Since joining CEO in 2011, Kelly has led the launch of CEO’s Tulsa site and subsequently its Oklahoma City site and six offices across Colorado, Ohio, and Michigan. For over 10 years Kelly has been dedicated to helping people connect with employment after incarceration. In 2019, Governor Kevin Stitt appointed her to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. Kelly began her career in finance and administration for an international aid agency completing tours in Darfur, South Sudan, and the hurricane-affected areas of Louisiana. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.S. from the University of Montana.
Jim Roth
Dean at Oklahoma City University School of Law
Jim Roth is the thirteenth dean of Oklahoma City University School of Law. Dean Roth is an alumnus of OCU Law, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 1994. He also holds graduate certificates from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the United States Air War College’s National Security Forum at Maxwell Air Force Base, and the Institute of Public Utilities at Michigan State University.
Jari Askins
Oklahoma Supreme Court Administrative Director of the Courts
Jari Askins has served the people of Oklahoma for more than 30 years in a variety of roles ranging from judge to legislator to Lieutenant Governor.  She currently serves as Administrative Director of the Courts where, under the supervision of the Chief Justice and the Oklahoma Supreme Court, she coordinates judicial operations and personnel throughout the state.  The Administrative Office of the Courts also provides leadership and staff support for the Judicial Nominating Commission, the Oklahoma Children’s Court Improvement Project, the Board of Certified Courtroom Interpreters and the Oklahoma Access to Justice Commission.
Regina Goodwin
Oklahoma House District 73 Representative
Regina Goodwin was elected to serve in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Tulsa, House District 73, in 2015. Guided by “The Power of We,” Rep. Goodwin fights for economic equity, criminal justice reform, health care and improving public education. She authored several bills now law, including HB 3393, which bans the shackling of pregnant incarcerated women during labor and delivery, and HB 2253, which clarifies voting rights for persons convicted of a felony. She has worked diligently on bills to mandate the use of body cams by police, revising the use of excessive force, banning jail time for fees and fines, and making hate crimes a felony.
Donald Easter
Oklahoma County Retired Judge
Special Judge Donald Easter retired from the Oklahoma County bench June 30, 2018. During his ten years on the bench Judge Easter presided over the Rule 8 dockets and worked with other members of the Oklahoma Judiciary to develop a best practices program for collection of fine, fees and costs. While working as an Assistant District Attorney in the offices of Andy Coats and Bob Macy Judge Easter established the bad check program for Oklahoma County.
Julie Daniels
Oklahoma District 29 Senator
Senator Julie Daniels was first elected to the State Senate in 2016.  She is honored to represent the people of District 29, which includes Washington, Nowata and northern Rogers Counties.  Senator Daniels serves as Assistant Majority Whip of the Senate, and is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  She also holds seats on the Appropriations Subcommittee for Public Safety and Judiciary, Energy, Health and Human Services, Rules and the Select Committee on Redistricting.  Prior to her election, Julie spent three decades in volunteer leadership in her adopted hometown of Bartlesville.  She currently serves on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Bartlesville, Arvest Bank Bartlesville, Bluestem Medical Foundation, and the Oklahoma Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.  She is a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
Damion Shade
Oklahoma Policy Institute Criminal Justice Policy Analyst
Damion Shade joined Oklahoma Policy Institute in July 2018 as the criminal justice policy analyst. He grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, and has lived in Oklahoma since the late 90s. Prior to joining OK Policy, he was an educator at Jenks Public Schools and the Oklahoma School for the Performing Arts. He’s written education and justice features as a contributing writer for the Tulsa Voice since 2016, and he was awarded the best Education and General News Reporting features by the Society for Professional Journalists in 2017.
Cindy Truong
Oklahoma District 7 Judge
Judge Cindy Truong was elected to the Bench by the voters of Oklahoma County on November 2nd, 2010.  She is the District Judge of Office #7 of the Oklahoma County District Court.  Judge Truong was sworn into office and began presiding on January 15th, 2011.  Prior to taking the Bench, Judge Truong served the public as a Criminal Prosecutor in the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office for 10 years.  She was responsible for the prosecution of cases that included Death Penalty Murder cases, rape, robbery and drug trafficking.  She has tried over 50 jury trials to a verdict.
Chris Kannady
Senior Counsel at The Federal Group in Washington, D.C
Chris Kannady had an extensive military career as a respected litigator in complex cases. He is known as an expert in complicated and sensitive military courts and maintains a Top Secret/SCI security clearance. He currently serves as a staff judge advocate in the Air National Guard. He faithfully served as a United States Marine Corps Officer with duties as both a military prosecutor and defense attorney, where he litigates high-profile cases. Additionally, he previously served as the office in charge for one of the few Marine Corps extended legal assistance programs, where he handled a wide array of civil matters in state court proceedings.
Bob Ravitz
Oklahoma County Chief Public Defender
Bob Ravitz is a 1976 graduate of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, and he currently serves as Public Defender of Oklahoma County, a position he assumed in 1987. Mr. Ravitz is also an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law, teaching in the areas of trial practice, capital litigation, criminal procedure, and wrongful convictions.
Messenger headshot
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Tony Messenger is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's metro columnist, a position he's held since September 2015. He was previously the editorial page editor at the Post-Dispatch and was hired at the paper in 2008 in the state capital bureau.
Loretta Radford Profile
Criminal Justice Center Legal Director
Loretta F. Radford is a 1984 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tulsa. She is admitted and licensed to practice law in the State of Oklahoma and is authorized to practice law in the federal courts located within the State of Oklahoma.
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