The Oklahoma Three, Free at Last

It seemed hardly necessary. The handcuffs and leg-irons, I mean. I wasn’t a threat to anybody. Neither were Rick Carpenter and Susan Johnson.

We had been charged with “conspiracy to defraud the state of Oklahoma” for our work to put a spending cap on the ballot.

The metal constraints were for show — to intimidate us and to scare the good citizens of Oklahoma.

The threatened penalty of ten years in prison was scary, too.

Being innocent, we defended our rights, even as the persecution dragged on for a year and half. Not even a preliminary hearing had been completed. Folks wondered if Attorney General Drew Edmondson was more interested in tying us up politically than in prosecuting us legally.

We never got our day in court; the Constitution intervened. Not only did we not break Oklahoma’s residency law, the federal Tenth Circuit declared the law itself an unconstitutional violation of our First Amendment rights.

So, on January 22nd, the AG dismissed the charges. It was a great day — for all of us.

But the underlying mindset of the original law and prosecution remains. Legislators continue to enact unconstitutional impediments against citizen use of ballot initiatives and recall petitions. Too often, officials seek to punish citizens who assert their rights.

Citizens in chains cannot control their government. That’s why, working with the group Citizens in Charge Foundation, I’ll keep fighting.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

16 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan
    27
    2:25
    PM
    wctaxpayer

    I new it would happen. Congratulations! Thank you for all you have done. Your defense of the Constitution has benefitted us all.

    Yours in the struggle,
    Rose Bogaert, Chair
    Wayne County Taxpayers Association.

  2. Jan
    27
    2:30
    PM
    Yvonne Schick

    This makes me so happy I have tears of joy in my eyes. You have been very courageous and I salute you.

    Yours for Liberty,
    Yvonne Schick
    2008 Libertarian Candidate for US Senate from Texas

  3. Jan
    27
    2:39
    PM
    Monya Skidmore

    Fantastic, prayers are answered. Can you turn the tables and sue him for maliscious prosecution, because that is what it was? I hope the voters of Oklahoma put his “You know what” in the gutter next time. So glad “free speech” won again.

  4. Jan
    27
    2:41
    PM
    Becky Fenger

    What monetarty costs did you incur to fight this worthless lawsuit?
    Any amount is too much.

    I appreciate your Common Sense posts.

  5. Jan
    27
    2:44
    PM
    Steve Squries

    Congratulations! What was the occassion of the Tenth Circuit action and is there a text of its action?
    Thanks for the work you do.

  6. Jan
    27
    3:00
    PM
    Timothy James Maki

    Injustice is a constant battle.

    You remind me of Susan McDougal. Ken Starr had her held in contempt of court for refusing to testify (falsley) against Bill Clinton. She was shackeled and hauled of to jail. Where she sat for (I think) 22 months. Can you imagine that!!! It was horrific! I do not recall you stating you spent time in jail. The McDougal affair was also politically motivated.

    I suppose there are those who still believe she was guilty as there are still those who believe you are guilty.

    Absolute power corrupts. It comes in many forms; both the power and the corruption.

    People must be held accountable for their actions. Both those who falsely accuse and those who are found guilty.

    Unfortunally trying to hold people accountable for false accusations is very very difficult.

    I am glad your case has been dropped.

    Sincerely,

    Timothy James Maki

  7. Jan
    27
    3:04
    PM
    A.T, Gilmore Sr.

    What happens now that it is clear they have done wrong? No penalty! No compensation for money loss during this time? If this is the case then they are still to powerful and the intimidation will work on a lot of people that cannot afford to sit issues such as this out. Somehow they should be stripped of the power to do this to non-violent people all together.

  8. Jan
    27
    4:03
    PM
    Capt. Karl

    CONGRATS!

    Government IS THE PROBLEM, we the people, as you have shown, are the solution! WE MUST FIGHT, to regain our power (and our earnings / economy) OVER our SERVANTS in Government!

    You are an inspiration for the rest of us, sir!

  9. Jan
    27
    4:21
    PM
    dunscotis

    Congratulations! However, never forget that those in power are not prone to share power leat it be wrested from their mailed fists! Under no circumstances will autocrats and dictators ever by pleased at any losss of power or privilege. As we old miliary men put – Watch your six! That battle is never over!

  10. Jan
    27
    4:47
    PM
    Jerrold Radway

    COUNTERATTACK.
    Sue for damages for malicious prosecution. A win will set a precedent that with appropriate national PR will discourage other pols from trying intimidation

  11. Jan
    28
    12:51
    AM
    R C Rockafellow

    I am delighted to see what I considered as the inevitable outcome. You have made a very strong point for all of us.
    Please join us in our fight to inform people The Truth About The Federal Income Tax, click on http://www.ideas-wanted.com for details.
    Congratulations and best wishes.

  12. Jan
    28
    9:38
    AM
    charlie klein

    START A NATIONAL PETITION DRIVE.

    It is time to take power away from the Special Interests and our So-Called Trusted elected officials.

    Since we do that the right to petition our government, it is time to do so.

    TERM LIMITS OF 6 YEARS FOR ALL ELECTED/APPOINTED OFFICIALS, INCLUDING JUDGES. (BECAUSE MANY JUDGES HAVE VIOLATED THE SEPARATION OF POWERS BY LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH)

    AUDIT ALL ELECTED/APPOINTED OFFICLAS AND THEIR FAMILIES PAST AND PRESENT (Looking for any kind of bribery, favoritism, special service to friends and business’s)

    THE PEOPLE WILL DECIDE ON WAGES (The elected have abused the Constitution by their greediness at the cost of the taxpayers)

    ALL ELECTED/APPOINTED OFFICIAL WILL HAVE THEIR RETIREMENT IN SOCIAL SECURITY, NO SPECIAL RETIREMENT FUNDS. RETROACTIVELY ADJUSTED.

    Now add your ideas and think about this. Once the website is up and running with a number of petitions to restore honesty in our representative government, the attitude of the elected/appointed should change for the batter, or else.

    WE HAVE TO DO THIS PETITION DRIVE IN 2009, TO MAKE SURE WE VOTE ON THEM IN 2010.

  13. Jan
    28
    11:11
    AM
    Lori C

    Another sad part is that Attorney General Drew Edmondson wants to run for govenor. We will be taken down a dark hole if he gets in.

  14. Jan
    28
    4:15
    PM
    Rubicon

    The satisfaction of knowing OK AG Drew Edmondson had to drop the charges against the OK3, was enormous.
    However, I think the issue must go on. The very fact that he decided to push this issue is the issue. He decided to use his official power to deny citizens their rights.
    Nothing the OK3 did was an affront to the rights of citizens. In fact, what they did was to promote & enable citizens rights.
    AG Edmondson dragged innocent people through the courts, well through the anguish of the threat of courts, and he did so knowing his charges were simply unconstitutional. Past court rulings made his charges, moot.
    What must now be done is a PR campaign to every state to make sure all citizens know they have the right to petition government & to utilize the efforts of anyone & everyone they can muster, to push for their rights of petition.
    We cannot govern based solely on citizen voting. It would be chaotic at best. BUT, there are many issues, especially contentious issues, that citizens should be the final arbiter of. Citizens voting for those contentious issues will be the best way to ensure whatever the outcome, it is the will of the populace & not of special interest groups whose influences on government are seriously suspect.
    Special interests have money from sponsors interested in outcomes that reinforce only their points of view & suppresses the will or desires of the people. NO special interest should have that power & citizens should do all they can to make special interest influence something akin to a crime. Special interests financed by those with the disposable income should always be suspected of undue & improper influence with a goal of taking away citizens rights.
    Perhaps the next law we need is one to severely limit the reach of special interest groups? Once they have no or limited power, our politicians will have to respond to what the people want. The politicians may also have to exist on less money than the special interest groups have historically provided to them, as the same special interests them expected something in return for their political contributions!

  15. Jan
    30
    12:11
    AM
    Larry Niven

    Congratulations, and well fought.

  16. Feb
    16
    7:21
    AM
    Silicondoc

    Congratulations. I say that with a bit of reserve, since I find it strange, or a bit insulting, to congratulate you on a victory you should never have had to fight for in the first place, one that indeed protects to a degree all of us.
    I suppose a big thank you is more in order.
    Thank you.
    I sensed the evil had lifted, but just now found out here.
    Frankly I thought you hadn’t a chance, and was quite disturbed about the whole mess.
    A second thanks to all who pitched in and applied pressure in any form to the appropriate places.
    Very good, I’m very glad someone is doing something about the increasing illegality of our various government entities.

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