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Criminal Appeals Court Grants Motion To Unseal Documents In Holtzclaw Case

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

A motion to unseal documents and to set a briefing schedule in the Daniel Holtzclaw appeals case has been granted, according to court documents.

Holtzclaw was a former Oklahoma City police officer who was convicted of several sex crimes in 2016. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison.

According to court documents, the state Court of Criminal Appeals granted a motion to unseal documents related to Holtzclaw’s case and to set a briefing schedule. 

In June 2017, the State of Oklahoma filed a motion to request an in camera hearing be legally protected from public view. The Court of Criminal Appeals granted an interim protective order at the time. 

The in camera briefing was held June 26 to 27 and the Oklahoma County district court’s findings of fact and conclusions were filed on Aug. 7 and 8. 

Holtzclaw’s attorney viewed the in camera hearing record on Aug. 22.

The court granted the request to unseal four documents with redactions which includes the state’s response to the appellant’s motion to unseal documents. 

The court said four documents would remain under seal due to it being protected by law because they consisted of personnel records

Those documents were the state’s motion to file accompanying material under seal, the order remanding for an in camera hearing, granting the state’s motion for interim protective order and holding appeal in abeyance, the Oklahoma County district court order and amended order, and transcripts and exhibits admitted at the in camera hearing. 

The court said only at the discretion of the City of Oklahoma City can these documents be released.

Related Story: Thousands Of Deleted Emails Obtained In Daniel Holtzclaw Case

All other documents filed in this appeal were ordered to be unsealed. 

While the state's original motion to request an in camera hearing be legally protected is still under seal, Holtzclaw's counsel has been granted permission to review the document at the Court of Criminal Appeals building, according to the court document.

Holtzclaw’s attorney also requested an evidentiary hearing and argued the state should have allowed Holtzclaw’s counsel to be at the in camera hearing on June 26 and 27.

Holtzclaw’s attorney has 30 days from Thursday to supplement his application for the evidentiary hearing. The state has 60 days from the appellant’s due date for supplementals.

Holtzclaw's family released the following statement after the motion was made:

Daniel is an innocent man who was wrongly convicted based on fatally flawed forensic evidence, a biased and incompetent police investigation, and prosecutorial misconduct. He did not receive a fair trial. The bottom line on the new ruling from the Court of Criminal Appeals is that it affirms Daniel's and our belief--as well as the opinion of legal observers nationwide -- that the secret hearings were also flawed and wrongly denied his lawyers access to the process.

We look forward to the timely adjudication of Daniel's appeal. We are glad Daniel's lawyer will be allowed to amend Daniel's motion for an evidentiary hearing and that the briefing schedule has been set. 

We hope and pray the court comes to the same conclusion that six internationally-renowned scientists did when they reviewed forensic analyst Elaine Taylor's work: Daniel deserves a new trial.

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