Hearings Held Behind Closed Doors In Daniel Holtzclaw Appeals Case

Wednesday, June 28th 2017, 10:59 pm
By: News 9

The verdict shocked the nation. Former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison for sexually abusing women while on patrol in Oklahoma City.

He's appealing the sex crime convictions.

In new developments, two days of secret court hearings were held at the Oklahoma County courthouse and it's raising a lot of questions.

"I have never seen it in my entire career where there is so much secrecy and hiding what's going on," said defense attorney Scott Adams.

Adams represented Holtzclaw during the trial in 2016. 

The secrecy began more recently with the attorney general filing motions under seal that prevented disclosure to even the defendant, Holtzclaw.

In May, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals sent the case back to district court for a closed hearing.

"What's so unusual about this is just one side, just the prosecution side, is in the courtroom having a hearing with the judge," Adams called the scenario disturbing. "There's no representation from the other side that's what’s so crazy about this situation."

News 9 has learned District Judge Timothy Henderson's courtroom doors were locked and the windows covered during the proceedings on Monday and Tuesday.

The judge's office said he could not comment on the hearing and the transcript has also been sealed. 

The attorney general’s office also denied News 9 a comment on the hearings due to an appellate court order.

News 9's calls to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals went unanswered on Wednesday. 

"I've been doing this as a police officer, prosecutor and now a criminal defense attorney for 50 something years and I’ve never seen anything like this," said Irven Box, legal analyst. 

Box said, generally speaking, a criminal case goes back to district court if it could be overturned or new evidence is up for debate.

"I suspect there's something there that's coming out from investigation  or from some sort of investigative process that's indicated that’s something is amiss somewhere," said Box.

He thinks these recent hearing could mean a possible new trial for the former cop.

"The district court could look at it and say hold it something was wrong here," Box explained. "If this thing is overturned based upon some sort of misconduct or something that wasn't given to the defense then I cant even imagine the outcry we are going to get from the community."

The 13 victims in the case were all black women -- many who claimed Holtzclaw preyed on them due to their race and potential criminal history -- and protested as much during the trial. 

Adams said he doesn't have enough information due to the veil of secrecy to theorize on what will come but he's hopeful it will be made public, soon.

"I hope that eventually, all of the facts will be laid out there, because we need to know," he said.

Holtzclaw currently has a court-appointed appellate attorney who we were unable to reach in time for this report. It is unclear if the appellate attorney has since been briefed on hearings.