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With over 30 years of legal experience, Oklahoma County District Attorney candidate Vicki Behenna has witnessed the virtues – and shortcomings – of our criminal justice system.
“I’m running to bring balance, justice and leadership to the position,” said Behenna. “I’ve never run for office before, and I’m certainly not a politician. I did serve as a prosecutor for over 25 years in the U.S. Attorney office, and have spent the last eight years on the other side of the courtroom as a defense attorney. I’ve seen justice occur when all sides come together to make sure punishment fits the crime, and I’ve also seen injustice served when human beings make mistakes and those mistakes are not considered for political or personal reasons. My fight is for justice for all involved and society as a whole.”
As a federal prosecutor, Behenna was involved in several high profile cases – including the successful prosecution of Timothy McVeigh, who initiated the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.
“My work on the Murrah Building attack was to find justice for 168 innocent lives lost,” said Behenna. “That was also my first real experience in the use of the vast resources of the FBI’s forensic lab to facilitate a criminal investigation.It was an honor to work closely with both federal and local law enforcement to investigate and apprehend the persons responsible for that horrific act.”
Behenna’s work in the U.S. Attorney’s office also involved the investigation and prosecution of multiple high profile elected officials involved in fraud and corruption, both Democratic and Republican.
Following her outstanding work as a prosecutor, Behenna changed her career path in 2014 to become a defense attorney.
“In 2009 I had a personal experience with a close family member wherein forensic evidence that could have been used to exonerate the accused was instead hidden in an attempt to secure his conviction. It was that experience that led to my retirement as a federal prosecutor, and desire to work with the Oklahoma Innocence Project.”
In 2015 she was named Executive Director of the Oklahoma Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to identifying and remedying cases of wrongful convictions in Oklahoma. Bringing together OCU Law students to work with attorneys and the legal director, OKIP pursues only cases in which there is credible evidence of actual innocence. She resigned from the organization in 2022 to devote her time to her campaign.
"I think people don't really understand how valuable our liberty is until you watch somebody have their liberty taken away," said Behenna. "My work at the Innocence Project was the hardest, most challenging legal work I have ever done.
“I don’t come from a wealthy family. I was the second person in my family ever to go to college, first person ever to go to law school. I emphasize that when I talk to members of the community because I want them to understand that you can do anything. You can make a change.”
In addition to legal research and court activity, Vicki’s work with the Innocence Project has led her to testify before the U.S. Congress and advocate for recent legislation at the State Capitol on best practices regarding forensic science, interrogations and the misidentification of innocent people. Two pieces of bipartisan legislation championed by Behenna and allies were recently signed into state law by Governor Kevin Stitt.
Vicki and her husband Scott, a retired OSBI agent and FBI terrorism analyst, have been married for over 43 years. They have lived in Oklahoma County for 41 years and are the proud parents of 3 sons: a doctor, a lawyer and a rancher.
Behenna is the Democratic nominee for Oklahoma County District Attorney. She will be on the ballot November 8th.