OKLAHOMA CITY – Two lawyers are hoping to file a brief in support of the appeal of a former Oklahoma City police officer convicted of sexually assaulting women while on duty.
The case grabbed national headlines after 13 Oklahoma City women accused former Oklahoma City Officer Daniel Holtzclaw of sexual attacks while on duty for the police department.
In August 2014, the state charged Holtzclaw with 36 felony counts of rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure and forcible oral sodomy after the 13 women came forward, claiming the officer assaulted them while they were in custody or inside his police car.
In all, the jury heard 13 accusers’ stories of assault.
Throughout the trial, state prosecutors talked about skin cells found inside and outside Holtzclaw’s pants, around the zipper area.
As detectives spoke with various accusers in their investigation, they explained to the jury they took DNA samples, trying to find a match to those skin cells.
Prosecutors say that match ultimately came from a then 17-year-old girl, who testified she was raped by the former officer outside her mother’s home.
Forensic analysts discussed how there was more DNA found near the zipper as well, but not enough to find a second full match.
In 2015, a jury convicted Holtzclaw of 18 felony charges involving eight of the 13 accusers.
He was sentenced to 263 years in prison.
After four extensions, Holtzclaw’s defense team filed an appeal in the case earlier this year.
The defense claims that the prosecution had insufficient evidence, adding that “the alleged ‘procuring lewd exhibition’ occurred in public view; nor was there any evidence that the alleged rape and oral sodomy counts were accomplished by means of the use or threat of force or violence; and the evidence supporting the sexual battery counts was insufficient to allow any rational trier of fact to find the defendant guilty of those offenses beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In a motion filed on March 9, 2017, Holtzclaw’s attorneys ask that two lawyers be allowed to submit a brief in support of the former officer’s appeal.
According to the motion, Randall T. Coyne, a former OU law professor, and J. Christian Adams, a former attorney for the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, both believe that the “troubling circumstances under which Holtzclaw’s case was tried to the jury violated his fundamental constitutional right to due process and a fair trial.”
Holtzclaw’s attorneys are asking that Coyne and Adams be able to submit a brief “of no more than 20 pages” to give the Court their insight on how they believe Holtzclaw did not receive a fair trial.
The motion states that Coyne and Adams’ brief discusses that the “inflamed relations between police and African-Americans in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, Maryland; and various other places around the country at the time Holtzclaw was charged and tried, places his prosecution in the larger context of local officials’ attempts to defuse racial tensions by inadvisedly rushing to charge and try police officers involved in incidents with racial minorities.”
The brief also reportedly states that the “jury was exposed to outside influences deliberately seeking to taint its deliberations and verdict.”
According to the brief, those outside influences include protesters “a) overtly trying to tell a juror she must vote to convict, b) setting up shop directly below the second-story courthouse window and chanting ‘Give him life!’ on cue, c) yelling ‘racist jury, racist cop’ in the hallway as jurors exited, d) subjecting jurors to untold comments while they waited for courthouse elevators, and e.) defying the courtroom camera ban and then lying about it.”
In an exclusive interview in November, Holtzclaw told NewsChannel 4 that he is confident he will get a new trial.
“I’m very confident in my appellate lawyers I’m confident in my team and the support that I have. I’m very blessed to have that. I’m confident that all the discovery we have found throughout the trial, I’m pretty positive I’m going to get a retrial,” Holtzclaw said.