Last week, jurors convicted former Oklahoma state Representative Randy Terrill of bribery, finding him guilty of offering a state senator a high-paying job if she would not seek re-election. After spending only one night in jail, Terrill was released on $20,000 bond pending the appeal of his conviction.
Conditions of His Release
Terrill's release is not without conditions, however. While he is considered a non-violent offender, and he is not considered a flight risk, he has been ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor until after the trial of his alleged co-conspirator, former state Senator Debbe Leftwich, which is scheduled to begin December 9. Additionally, Terrill has been ordered to avoid all contact with witnesses in his case.
Terrill is scheduled for formal sentencing on December 5; however, a jury has recommended a sentence of one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. At the time of the offense, the maximum punishment for offering a bribe to withdraw from a political election was two years in prison and a $5,000. In January 2011, the maximum penalty was increased to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Accused of Bribery
Terrill, a republican, was convicted of offering Leftwich, a democrat, a job with the Medical Examiner's Office at an $80,000 annual salary if she would withdraw from seeking re-election as a state senator. Leftwich, who has pleaded not guilty to soliciting or accepting a bribe to withdraw, announced in May 2010 that she would not run for office, and she did not file any paperwork with the state Election Board. Attorneys for Leftwich say she was never a candidate for Senate in 2010; however, Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong ruled that, because Leftwich had earlier been raising money for the 2010 Senate race, she was considered a candidate. Like Terrill, Leftwich faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 if convicted of accepting a bribe.
Potentially Successful Appeal
According to a local news report, one juror called the evidence against Terrill "circumstantial" but "strong." In part because of the circumstantial nature of the evidence in the case, the defense attorney for the former representative says, "There is a very good chance the case could be reversed on appeal." You can learn more about the Oklahoma appeals process here. Terrill argues that his case is the result of political tension and disagreement with the Oklahoma District Attorney. Upon his release from jail, he told reporters, "My message to the rest of the Legislature would be: You better watch your back. Because if you make the district attorney mad, you may be next."
A criminal appeal is the right of anyone convicted of a crime in Oklahoma. However, it is a complex process governed by strict rules and requirements. Filing a successful appeal is a delicate legal process best handled by a skillful attorney with a proven record as a winning appellate lawyer. Visit our website to find a lawyer equipped to handle your appeal.