In 1976 a small group of Oklahoma City attorneys that practiced criminal law on a regular basis formed the OCDLA. From that humble beginning the OCDLA has grown into a 500 member organization that has members in every county in the state of Oklahoma. Membership of the OCDLA consists of private attorneys, public defenders, OIDS attorneys and OIDS contractors and “associate” members that have expertise in specific areas of criminal law.

The OCDLA is the ONLY private statewide organization devoted exclusively to assisting the criminal law practitioner. The OCDLA is a very exclusive group. We do not allow full time judges or prosecutors to join or to attend our seminars. The OCDLA holds its seminars in locations to allow us to control who attends our seminars and briefings. It is not unusual for ex-prosecutors to join the OCDLA as soon as they start private practice after they have finished their stints working for the government.

Few people are aware that the OCDLA has a very long and active history in filing amicus curae briefs on behalf of the criminal bar. You may have benefited from the OCLDA’s assistance as a result of one particular case: have you ever heard of a “Burke’s Notice”? The OCDLA was instrumental in obtaining a decision that requires the state to give a 10-day notice of intended use of other crime/bad act evidence under 12 O.S. §2404B.

OCDLA seminars are highly regarded as premier events that zero in on issues of criminal law and developing areas ancillary to criminal law. In 2010 the OCDLA organized and hosted the 20th annual Patrick Williams Criminal Defense Institute, co-sponsored with OIDS, and the Oklahoma and Tulsa County public defender offices at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over 350 of your peers attended this event which included “mandatory” 6 hour juvenile justice training certification.

In 1999 the OCLDA initiated the OCDLA List Serve. Think of the List Serve as a resource of a 400+ person law firm that specializes in criminal law. Since its inception, over 100,000 messages have been posted. It is not unusual for a member who is in a jury trial, during a recess or lunch break, to post an emergency request for assistance on a pressing issue and to receive case law cites and statutory authority before court reconvenes to help win the issue! Nor is it unusual for a member to ask for a “scouting report” on a judge or district attorney in a county where they have a case pending and they are not familiar with the judge’s or district attorney’s usual routine.

The Little Green Book is now in its 17th year of publication. The OCDLA sends a copy of the Little Green Book to over 230 special, associate, district and appellate judges in the state. It is not uncommon to see the Little Green Book on a judge’s bench, or on her desk in her office. Members are given the Little Green Book free. The Little Green Book is not sold to the general public and is definitely not sold or given to prosecutors. The Little Green Book is now available as an App for smart phones and tablets.

The Gauntlet contains current decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit and district courts, and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, plus articles concerning hot-button topics of interest to criminal law attorneys. It is universally recognized as an excellent source of current case law and related resource material. The OCDLA distributes over 500 Gauntlets on a quarterly basis and distributes to all law libraries in each county courthouse, the state’s three law schools, as well as each OCDLA member. The Gauntlet is published in electronic and print form.

The OCDLA is governed by a Board of Directors and officers that have among them over 500 years of criminal law experience. The Board members are from private practice and public defender organizations from all areas of Oklahoma. The OCDLA has also invited the Oklahoma and Tulsa County Criminal defense organizations to send members to sit in on the Board of Directors meetings, for broader input and representation statewide.

Our Mission

To protect and insure by rule of law those individual rights guaranteed by the Oklahoma and Federal Constitution in criminal cases; to resist any efforts to curtail these rights; to encourage cooperation between lawyers engaged in the furtherance of these objectives through educational programs and other assistance; and through this cooperation, education and assistance to promote justice and the common good. Provided, however, that the Association shall restrict any lobbying activity to be solely incidental to those herein before expressed purposes.