May 22, 2015

Terrill, Leftwich Convictions Upheld by Appellate Court

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M. Scott Carter

M. Scott Carter

M. Scott Carter reports on politics, legislation and other issues from the State Capitol.

 

 

A former Republican lawmaker’s conviction for bribery and corruption was upheld Friday by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.

Former Rep. Randy Terrill

Former Rep. Randy Terrill

Writing for the majority, Presiding Judge Clancy Smith said the law and evidence from the bribery and corruption trial of former state Rep. Randy Terrill did not require relief.

The court, in a separate opinion, also turned back an appeal by former state Senator Debbe Leftwich.

Terrill was convicted in 2013 after prosecutors said he offered a bribe to Leftwich, a Democrat, to withdraw from her race for Senate so Terrill’s friend, Rep. Mike Christian, could seek the office.

Terrill was sentenced to 1 year in prison and required to $5,000 fine.

Former state Senator Debbe Leftwich

Former Sen. Debbe Leftwich

Leftwich was found guilty of soliciting a bribe during a bench trial — the judge found her guilty instead of a jury — and was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered never to seek a job with the state or run for public office again.

Prosecutors said Terrill pushed officials with the state Medical Examiner’s Office to create an $80,000 per year position for Leftwich.

The court rejected Terrill’s claim that a candidate for office cannot withdraw from office without filing a notice of withdrawal with the proper election board.

“Taking the evidence in the light most favorable to the state, any rational trier of fact could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Terrill bribed Leftwich by offering her a thing of value which caused her to withdraw from her reelection race,” Smith wrote.

Terrill, from Moore, served in the state House from 2004 to 2012. Leftwich, of Oklahoma City, was a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2003 until 2010.

Both Leftwich and Terrill had appealed the District Court’s ruling, claiming that Leftwich was never a candidate for office, because she had not filed for re-election with the state Election Board. Records showed, however, that Leftwich had begun to raise money for a reelection campaign.