Questions and Answers

The Privacy Blog of Michael A. Risley, Attorney

Victory on Appeal: Dept. of Corrections Cannot Ignore Override Orders

We are very pleased to announce another victory on appeal, this time with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The decision is located here: Fry v. State, 2017 OK 77.

In this case, our 20 year old client received a five year deferred sentence for consensual sexual activity with his girlfriend, who was 15 years old. He completed his deferred sentence without any probation violations in 2007, and he was originally told that he would have to register as a Sex Offender for ten years.

In 2009, our client was notified by the Dept. of Corrections that would actually have to register for life. He then filed a request to have his sex offender status and his lifetime registration reviewed by a Judge. After a hearing on the issue, the Judge found that our client was "... a low risk to re-offend" and that a lifetime registration was not "an accurate prediction of the actual risk ... posed to the community". The Judge issued an override order, reducing our client's risk level to Level 1, (the lowest level possible) from Level 3 (the highest level possible).

Based on the Judge's prior override order and his Level 1 risk assessment, our office filed a request to remove him from the Sex Offender Registry five years early, in 2015. The Dept. of Corrections objected, stating that the override order did not apply to them because of the now-famous Starkey v. Dept. of Corrections case. The Dept. felt that Starkey set all registration requirements at the time of plea, and that subsequent modifications were irrelevant under that case. 

We took the case to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, who agreed with us. The Supreme Court found that DOC had misread Starkey, and that override orders that are timely sought and granted must be obeyed. Our client's Level 1 assignment was upheld, and he was removed from the registry five years early, and justice was done.

First and foremost, we want to thank our client, Mr. Fry, for fighting the good fight. Not very many people have that kind of effort in them. Of course, we would also like to thank him for for allowing us to brag about his case on the internet - people need to know that underdogs do win, sometimes. We would also like to thank Margie Weaver, attorney for the Dept. of Corrections, for her sense of humor, professionalism, and sense of appropriate justice.

If you are an attorney or a potential client and you have questions about this case, please give us a call at 405.801.2116 and we'd be happy to help. Keep on fighting the good fight!

Note: Pursuant to the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct, our client has previously provided written, informed consent for the disclosure of the information presented above.

Michael Risley | Wednesday, September 27, 2017 | Go Back