Oklahoma Governor’s Office violated state Open Records Act in slow release of records, judge finds

The Governor’s Office and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety violated the state Open Records Act when they did not respond to a Tulsa World request for records in a “prompt and reasonable” manner, an Oklahoma County district judge ruled last week.

The case involves records requests filed by the Tulsa World and former World editor Ziva Branstetter with the Governor’s Office and DPS within days after Clayton Lockett’s marred execution April 29, 2014. In addition to records related to Lockett’s execution, the lawsuit sought records related to the execution of Charles Warner.

Branstetter is now senior editor for Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Lisa Tipping Davis said that although the World’s request was not formally denied, “it is uncontroverted that no documents were produced prior to the lawsuit being filed.”

Davis declined to provide an opinion regarding what constitutes appropriate procedures and processes for responding to open records requests but found that “neither the delays nor the process which resulted in the delays in excess of 17 months was prompt or reasonable.” Read more…