Tag: Child Abuse

Not guilty

America’s Most Wanted – and Acquitted! [Tulsa]

Criminal Charge: Child Abuse
Case: State v. Earnest Jackson CF-02-5279
Court: [CF-02-5279, Tulsa County]

Oklahoma State Courts Network
For more details on this case, open the Docket View.


A harbinger of the career to follow, Haslam’s first jury trial was a court appointment to defend a dad featured numerous times on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”.  Compounding this challenge, the prosecutor, Dana Bogie Kuehn, had 75 jury trials under her belt as Chief of the Crimes Against Children Unit, moved on to be Presiding Judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, and now sits on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. 

Tulsa County arrested Earnest and Kaia Jackson amid great publicity in their Tulsa home, living with their four kids. The 1988 New Jersey arrest warrants alleged they physically abused a fifth child fifteen years earlier.

After charging both Jacksons with abusing one of the four Tulsa kids, Jonathan, authorities returned them to New Jersey to stand trial on the 1988 charges – where each took a conviction. Thereafter, each returned to Tulsa to stand trial on the new Oklahoma charges involving Jonathan. In September 2002, a Tulsa County jury sentenced Kaia to thirty-five years in the Oklahoma penitentiary to be served AFTER she discharged her New Jersey sentence.

The Tulsa County District Court appointed Haslam to defend Earnest. The State offered Earnest – a 55-year-old man – 35 years to avoid trial. With little to lose, it was easy for Earnest to believe in his young lawyer, plead not guilty and take his story to a jury.  After five days of trial and eight hours of deliberation, his first jury hung up.  A single, brave juror refused to cave during hours of shouting and table pounding that could be heard in the hall outside the jury room.

At the retrial, the State listed DHS caseworker Joyce Porter as a witness.  Despite Haslam having uncovered an in-the-record lie by Ms. Porter in another child abuse trial he second-chaired a year earlier, Porter mounted the stand to testify.  Haslam confronted Porter – sitting 4 feet from the jury box – with this documented lie. In a true Perry Mason Moment, Porter locked up – and the prosecutor left her there, locked up for 60 seconds, silent – until she asked for “a brief recess”.  When Porter returned to the stand, Haslam cemented the impeachment.  This was the beginning of the end of this jury trial.


Case Dismissed

Child Abuse Dismissed [Tulsa]

Criminal Charge: Child Abuse
Case: State v. Lallan Holt
Court: [CF-02-5666, Tulsa County]
Result: Case Dismissed

Oklahoma State Courts Network
For more details on this case, open the Docket View.

Mr. Holt was charged with sex abuse of a minor child in both Creek and Tulsa Counties in November 2002. Tulsa charged him first, then Creek County charged him, but only Creek County arrested him. So for the next 2+ years, Tulsa County sat around and did nothing else until the Creek County charge was dismissed. Then Tulsa arrested him and started its own prosecution.

Almost immediately, it became apparent the case was weak. The Tulsa prosecutor tried to disclose little evidence and Haslam filed a writ of mandamus to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to force disclosure of all the evidence Lallan was entitled to. In a bad decision, the OCCA denied the writ and the case proceeded to preliminary hearing. Under Haslam’s cross examination, the State’s only witness – the 15 year old alleged victim – admitted she had denied the allegations many times and had falsely accused another man of the same crime. Still, the judge bound Lallan over for trial.

Once in front of the trial judge, Haslam moved to dismiss the case because the 27 month delay in bringing the case in Tulsa violated Lallan’s statutory and Constitutional rights to a speedy trial.

After numerous evidentiary hearings, Judge Thornbrugh GRANTED THE MOTION TO DISMISS and Lallan WAS FINALLY RELEASED FROM JAIL.



Child Abuse [Tulsa]

Criminal Charge: Child Abuse
Case: State v. Oscar Patterson
Court: [CF-98-5967, Tulsa County]
Result: Guilty

Oklahoma State Courts Network
For more details on this case, open the Docket View.


Another case with nationwide coverage, Oscar was originally charged with murdering a step-daughter. After the conviction on that charge, Tulsa County prosecuted him for allegedly sexually abusing a surviving step-daughter.

Haslam defended Oscar in the second case. After a 2 week trial, the jury deliberated almost 10 hours before returning a verdict of guilty.

The evidence used to convict Oscar consisted largely of testimony by the surviving step-daughter that her sister – whose body was recovered in a field – had awakened one night and simply said, “He’s touching me…”, while crying. This is patent hearsay, but was admitted by the trial judge under the so-called “excited utterance” exception to the hearsay rule. The State argued that Oscar must have killed the girl to prevent her from disclosing child abuse, and argued that he merely continued the unlawful touching with the surviving sister.

Today, however, this statement would not be admissible. Under the U.S. Supreme Court decision Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 [2004], such hearsay is violative of the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.