Oklahoma Court Records
How Does the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals Work?
In the Oklahoma court structure, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is the court that has appellate jurisdiction over criminal cases. Other appellate courts in Oklahoma include the Supreme Court and the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. These three appellate courts hear the appeals of the District Court verdicts. In Oklahoma, the Court of Criminal Appeals is the court that makes the final judgment for criminal matters and has the authority to modify, incarcerate, reverse, or alter the lower court’s decision. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, has discretionary jurisdiction to appeal cases, meaning the court can decide whether to hear an appeal case or not. Hence, in most cases, the Court of Criminal Appeals is known as the court of last resort for criminal cases.
According to Article VII, Section 6 of the Oklahoma Constitution, the Supreme Court has authority over all the courts in Oklahoma and exclusive jurisdiction over disciplinary actions taken against attorneys and the admission to the Oklahoma bar. Notably, the Supreme Court acts as the general superintendent to commissions, boards, and agencies created by law. In every appeal case, the individual that appealed the lower court’s judgment is known as ‘the appellate’ while the other party is known as ‘the appellee.’
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals houses five different Judges, including the presiding judge, vice-presiding judge, and three (3) other judges nominated by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission and appointed by the state governor. Since the Oklahoma court structure does not state the magnitude of the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Oklahoma state legislature has the authority to increase the number of appellate court judges by statute.
After one year of service, if elected during the next general election, the governor’s appointees may be retained. The purpose of the election is to weigh the judge’s performance to see if the judge can go ahead to serve either a full six years or an unexpired term. However, the judge must stand for retention every six years.
The state governor’s initial appointment involves selecting a candidate from the list of three applicants nominated by the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission. The governor has 60 days to appoint one of the applicants, and if the governor does not select anyone after 60 days, the Supreme Court’s chief justice will choose one of the applicants. However, the Oklahoma Secretary of State must authorize the choice of chief justice. Chief justices in Oklahoma maintain this position for two years.
Requirements to qualify as an applicant for the position of a judge at the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals are:
- Must be 30 years or older.
- Must be a registered voter of the appellate district the judge wishes to serve.
- Must have a license law and be a practicing attorney or judge for at least five years.
- Must have a certification as an attorney or judge.
The location of the Court of Criminal Appeals is on the 3rd floor of the Oklahoma Judicial Center;
2100 N Lincoln Blvd #2
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: (405) 556–9400
The OSCN Case Lookup is an option provided on the Court of Criminal Appeals’ website to access court records as long as the case number is known. Interested persons can assess files from the Court of Criminal Appeals by visiting National Archives Court Records. Parties can download and complete the request form for the record, and will need to provide the following information to request for copies of the case document;
- City where the court is located
- Name on the case file
- Case number
- Transfer/accession number
- Agency box number
Email the completed form to the National Archives Court Records at;
1400 John Burgess Dr
Fort Worth, Texas 76140
Phone: (817) 551–2051
Fax: (817) 551–2034
Another way to obtain the case files from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals is to visit the court clerk’s office. However, interested persons must complete a file retrieval form and pay a small fee.
The defendant has ten days to file a Notice of Intent to Appeal, Designation of the Record, and Advisory Propositions of Error with the trial court after judgment. The defendant must also file a petition with the Court of Criminal Appeals within 90 days. After entering the motion, the county’s court clerk will send a notice of completion to the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The appellant must submit the brief within 60 days after the notice is received. The appellant’s lawyer can request additional time from the court if the lawyer needs more time to prepare the brief. Nevertheless, the state’s court system will reply with an answer brief within 60 days after the appellant’s brief was received. The appellant will afterward file a reply brief to respond to the matters brought up in the answer brief.
After reviewing every record filed and briefs received, the court will then give a verdict on the case. The whole process from the lower court’s sentence to the judgment by the Criminal Court of Appeals may take 10 to 18 months, depending on the additional time requested and the and the given extensions.