Open letter #2 to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
Dear Mr. Prater,
Here we meet again. Although I’m writing this letter for a different reason, I’m reaching out regarding the same case.
Numerous requests have been sent to your office from Amanda Bass, Dale Baich, the Black Caucus, and the Oklahoma NAACP asking for Julius’ case file, but shockingly, they’ve been meet with silence. Why? What’s in those files that can’t be divulged? Possible bias? Improper use of a witness? Bogus reports? Lack of reports? Reports and documents that the legal team doesn’t already have, which shed light on further faults in the prosecution?
According to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, which I’m certain you’re familiar with, but for purposes of this being an open letter, let’s just review. “The Oklahoma Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to all public records of governmental bodies. Section 24A.2 defines records as "all documents, including, but not limited to, any book, paper, photograph, microfilm, data files created by or used with computer software, computer tape, disk, and record, sound recording, film recording, video record or other material regardless of physical form or characteristic, created by, received by, under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of public officials, public bodies, or their representatives in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administering of public property." This specifically includes all records of the transfer of public funds. According to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, anyone may request public records and no statement of purpose is required. However, if the purpose is commercial, fees will be charged for document collection. There is no restriction on the use of records and the law does not specify a time limit for responses to requests.”
I pulled that definition straight from the website as not to mix words or leave anything out. The site also mentions the following exemptions: If protected by state evidentiary privilege and public officials' personnel notes. Those exemptions do not include attorneys trying to work a capital criminal case.
So, now that we have all the information pertinent to the law, I can proceed. I feel like I’m regurgitating the same questions I asked in my last letter, which as expected, I’ve received no answer, but here we are. Why? Why not release the records? You’re convinced the state made no error, so why not give Julius’ attorneys the information they’re requesting? The only logical explanation is there’s something in there worthy of covering up. I can cite case after case with examples of this very thing happening, but you’ve been awake the last several years, so I’m sure you’ve seen the reports yourself.
I have a few theories as to why all these requests receive nothing but silence in return. First, you’re so far removed from this that you do your job, while leaving a trail of blood and tears in your wake, but never looking back to access the damage. Like I said in my last letter, we as citizens don’t expect you to be perfect, but we do expect you to be fair and honest!
Second–which came from Jimmy Lawson–this case, along with other societal issues, don’t affect you, so you don’t care. Not to mention your level of commonality to the average suspect is ZERO, meaning you can’t empathize with them or their families whatsoever. What I can’t help but think about in this reason is Jesus. Perhaps you’re not a Christian, but I am, so I’m putting this in anyway. Jesus, being completely perfect and infallible, came to earth in an effort to not only experience the pains and emotions we go through, but also to give Him the ability to empathize with us, His church, when we struggle. So, I impart to you that if Jesus can do this, there is no reason why you can’t. You have no excuse! You have a duty to not only prosecute cases, but also to ensure you do so in a manner that’s lawful, honest, and without prejudice or bias.
Third, you just don’t care. Your head is only in the, “There’s no mistake here; the case is solid, and therefore I’m not wasting my time,” zone that you’re not interested in the chance that you just might be wrong. Well, to that I say the stance is cowardly. If that’s how you feel, then why not release the files? You’re confident, almost overly confident, in Julius’ guilt, so what’s stopping you? If the case is solid and without error, then the files should yield nothing new. It’s a no-brainer.
Have you ever seen A Time to Kill? The closing argument in that movie is perhaps the best I’ve ever heard, and in closing, I’m going to use verbiage from that argument.
“I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That's not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes -- yours and mine -- and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts -- where we don't know better.”
So, I’m challenging you to step up and do the difficult part of your job, which is lowering your pride and your preconceived notions and release the files. How can Julius’ attorneys properly investigate the case if they don’t have the files? They can’t! The justice system is supposed to be fair and balanced! Remember, lady justice wears a blindfold for a reason! Perhaps you should wear one, too!
P.S. Should you need help finding the files, or scanning, or making, copies of the documents for his attorneys, I'd be happy to help!
Tiffany L. Gobble