theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Letters

February 13, 2012

Oklahoma House bill will reward violent criminals, family asserts

Ada — Editor, The Ada News:

The current Oklahoma Speaker of the House Kris Steele has recently authored a bill numbered HB 3052.  This bill changes the way a certain list of violent offenders earn credits for early release after they have served 85 percent of their sentence as required by law. Current law states that credits are only earned once the 85 percent threshold has been reached. HB 3052 would allow current and new prisoners to begin earning these credits from the day they enter into prison. Examples of offenses that are included on this list are lewd molestation of a child, child prostitution, forcible sodomy, first degree burglary, first degree rape and first degree murder.  

 As your readers may be aware, a very important member of our family, Claude Arterburn, was robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Our family finally tasted our first sweet nectar of justice when Trey Lee Irvin was sentenced to 30 years.  We hope to soon see the other two of the accused meet the same fate.  With all of the charges against the criminals who attacked and bludgeoned my grandfather, this newly proposed bill would offer them a chance to earn early release. It would offer the same chance to every child molester, every murderer, and every criminal convicted of the many vile forms of manslaughter.  

How can anyone condone the early release of such violent criminals? When I voiced my concerns, I was told this was a request by the prison system. They say these criminals have no incentive to act as a model prisoner should until they have reached that 85 percent mark. So what this bill does is dangle the carrot of freedom just a bit closer to the rabbit in hopes that the rabbit will hop in the right direction.  Are you kidding me? I would honestly love to know whose bright idea it was to reward someone who nearly beats an elderly person to death or someone who raped a child by giving them a ticket home a bit earlier than our justice system intended. This is no different than buying a child a toy to prevent him from falling in the floor and throwing a fit at your local department store. Each one of those people who committed a crime on that 85 percent list had a choice to make before they broke the law, and they made the wrong choice. It is not the right decision to reward those people in any way, shape, or form.  

 When Mr. Tillison of the Pontotoc County District Attorney’s Office alerted us to this piece of legislation, our family was absolutely shocked and appalled. We are hoping that other readers, too, will feel the same.  We are asking concerned citizens to contact their representatives in both the Oklahoma House and Senate and voice opposition to this bill in hopes that we may kill it before it can serve as a symbol of hope for prisoners seeking a ‘get out of jail early’ card.  The House Speaker’s email is krissteele@okhouse.gov.

 Dustin Bishop

Family of Claude Arterburn

Marlow

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