View Full Version : Brian Bates: Mission Accomplished

11-08-2006, 06:54 PM
Brian Bates: 'Mission Accomplished'

By Sean Murphy
Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY - Self-proclaimed "video vigilante" Brian Bates pulled up to the Oklahoma County Courthouse on Wednesday in a van outfitted with a banner that read, "Mission Accomplished."

Bates, an anti-prostitution activist whose videos of streetwalkers have been shown on "The Maury Povich Show," is enraged at Lane for charging him with pandering and drives around town in a van covered with anti-Lane slogans.
Voters ousted Lane on Tuesday, along with two incumbent judges, shaking up a courthouse where key players often grow old in their jobs.
"I've given myself a 24-hour gloating period," Bates said. "After that, I become a sore winner."
Oklahoma County voters also threw out District Judge Susan Caswell and Associate District Judge Nan Patton.
"That's unheard of," said veteran legal analyst Irven Box, a former police officer and prosecutor who now is a defense attorney in Oklahoma City. "I do not remember in the history of my law career where two sitting district judges were defeated, along with a district attorney."
Box said Bates' antics were just a small part of what led to Lane's downfall.
"That certainly didn't help Wes Lane," Box said. "I think that certainly brought out some negatives."
Lane was unseated from his job by a man he once fired.
Democratic political newcomer David Prater, a former prosecutor, narrowly defeated his old boss. Prater was among a number of people Lane terminated after being appointed by Gov. Frank Keating five years ago to fill the unexpired term of longtime DA Bob Macy.
Box said Lane's re-election bid was harmed by his failure to secure the endorsement of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police.
Lane may also have been hurt by his decision to seek the death penalty against Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols two years ago even though Nichols was already serving a federal sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
In 2004, a state jury found Nichols guilty of 161 counts of first-degree murder but deadlocked over his punishment, meaning the result of the long, expensive state trial was that Nichols would continue to serve a life sentence.

"It was just a combination of a lot of issues that resulted in a perfect storm for me, plus the fact that we had a plan," Prater said. "We talked about re-establishing the gang unit, the domestic violence prosecution unit and establishing a criminal case mediation program. I think that really resonated with people."

Prater said he hasn't decided whether his office will continue to pursue pandering charges against Bates.

"I don't know the evidence against Brian Bates," Prater said. "I know what the DA's spin is on the facts, but I haven't seen the case file."
For his part, Lane said he is just one of many Republicans who had a bad night Tuesday.

"But I'm proud of our staff and the great work that we've done," he said.
In the judge's races in Oklahoma County, Caswell was ousted by term-limited state lawmaker Bill Graves, who criticized Caswell for her handling of a first-degree murder case in which a state appellate court threw out the death sentence.

The Court of Criminal Appeals also ordered that Caswell be replaced in the resentencing of the defendant, saying there was "significant trial court bias" in the way Caswell presided over the sentencing hearing.

Patton, who presides over the county's juvenile court system, was defeated by Richard Kirby, general counsel for the state Department of Corrections.
Another judge who likely fell victim to a high-profile case was Associate District Judge Craig Key in Lincoln County. Key, who was defeated by Meeker attorney Sheila Kirk, was criticized for returning a 2-year-old Meeker girl to the custody of her mother despite Department of Human Services recommendations to the contrary.

The toddler, Kelsey Smith-Briggs, died four months after Key ruled she should be placed back at home with her mother, Raye Dawn Porter, and stepfather, Michael Lee Porter. Porter now is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death.

"Evidently, Sheila Kirk played that up enough that the people believed he should be voted out of office," Box said. "In my experience, Judge Key was a great judge, but I think he was the victim of circumstances, terrible circumstances.
"I think that case showed an entire system breakdown."