Newly unsealed records reveal more details about Holtzclaw appeal

Daniel Holtzclaw sits in an interrogation room while being interviewed following sexual assault allegations. (OKCPD)

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals decided to follow its own rules and unseal some of the records related to the appeal of convicted cop Daniel Holtzclaw. Holtzclaw is serving a 263-year prison sentence after being convicted of raping and sexually assaulting several women while working as an Oklahoma City police officer.

In the newly unsealed documents, the court points to an exemption for personnel records in the open records act as part of the reason for having closed-door hearings.

Another court document reveals the Attorney General’s office requesting guidance from the court on what materials it can legally provide to Holtzclaw’s defense team. The documents say the attorney general’s office found information that may be helpful to Holtzclaw’s defense, but is concerned the court’s order for secrecy is preventing them from turning it over.

The criminal appeals court ordered Oklahoma County District Judge Timothy Henderson to sort through the material that was discovered in a two-day hearing that was closed to everyone, including Holtzclaw’s defense attorneys. The judges want Henderson to determine what information should remain private and what can be turned over to defense attorneys.

Holtzclaw’s original trial attorney, Scott Adams, has nothing to do with the appeal, but spoke with FOX 25 about the case. He said it is unlike anything he has seen in his years of practice and he has yet to find an attorney or judge in Oklahoma that has ever witnessed such secrecy.

Adams says the law is clear and that the state is required to turn over any potentially exculpatory evidence it has found to the defense attorneys. Adams believes the newly unsealed documents show that police or prosecutors discovered something damaging to their case during a personnel action involving the police forensic lab. He says however the information was discovered it should be made available to Holtzclaw’s new attorneys.

FOX 25 has been covering the secret hearings for several weeks. We first exposed the surveillance video that showed the participants of the two-day secret hearing. The court documents argue the witnesses were thoroughly questioned, however they were questioned without any cross examination in a closed hearing with only government officials.

Oklahoma City admitted it destroyed emails from a police lab employee after she retired and the city is refusing to turn over thousands of pages of records it recovered from our open records request.

Holtzclaw’s attorneys have asked the court to issue an order to stop Oklahoma City from destroying any more evidence. The court declined to take action on that request and said it needed to hear from the Attorney General’s office before making a decision.

Related: Holtzclaw secret court hearings could end up costing Oklahoma City

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off