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The Oklahoman

Cockfighting ban delayed in 6 counties
2002-11-16

Gamecock breeders in three more counties won judges' temporary orders to prevent prosecution under Oklahoma's new anti-cockfighting law.

Temporary restraining orders were issued Thursday against district attorneys, sheriffs and state law enforcement agencies from enforcing any of the provisions of State Question 687 in Muskogee, Adair and Sequoyah counties.

"We just plugged in different counties and different names," said Tulsa attorney Larry Oliver, who last week got temporary restraining orders affecting McCurtain, Pushmataha and Choctaw counties. "There are cockfighters interested in this, and all are concerned about what's going to happen to them."

Oliver did not discount the possibility of filing motions in more counties. A hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in Idabel for McCurtain, Pushmataha and Choctaw counties.

"I have no idea what's going to happen on Monday," Oliver said Friday.

Oliver said he has notified the defendants -- district attorneys, sheriffs, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the state attorney general -- but hasn't heard from any of them.

"Neither has the judge (District Judge Willard Driesel)," Oliver said. "I told him I'd be there and whatever happens, happens. I'll have my witnesses there."

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said a staff attorney has been assigned to the case.

Besides banning cockfighting, SQ 687 banned breeding, raising, selling or transporting gamecocks for the purpose of fighting. SQ 687 passed with 56 percent of the vote in the Nov. 5 general election, but it won a majority in only 20 of the state's 77 counties.

Oliver's motion said enforcement of the law would result in the "immediate and irreparable injury, loss and damage, i.e. incarceration or restraint of freedom, deprivation of property without just compensation, loss of liberty and pursuit of plaintiffs' chosen means of livelihood."

The judges' orders raised questions about the law's vagueness, constitutional implications, interference with interstate commerce and travel, and deprivation of property without compensation.

Oliver said he expects the law will be declared unconstitutional.

District Judge Mike Norman issued the temporary restraining order in Muskogee County and assigned a 9:30 a.m. Dec. 18 hearing to Wagoner County District Judge Bruce Sewell.

District Judge John Garrett granted the temporary restraining order for Adair and Sequoyah counties and set a 10:30 a.m. Dec. 19 hearing.