Governor Keating vetoes castration measure

Wednesday, June 5th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Frank Keating vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have authorized the state to use chemical and surgical castration against defendants convicted of rape or forcible sodomy.

Keating, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, called the legislation ``reckless and not progressive criminal justice policy.'' He said it may violate the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

The measure's author, Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, said he has been working to get the legislation passed for 24 years and accused Keating of reneging on a promise he made to sign the bill.

``He backed out on his word,'' Shurden said. ``When the man's word is no good, the man is no good.''

Shurden said Keating promised him he would sign the legislation if it ever reached his desk. Shurden said Keating made the promise during a quail hunt three years ago in front of witnesses, including former Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy.

``We all know the governor has been an arrogant smart aleck. Now we know he's a liar,'' Shurden said.

Keating said he does not remember the conversation but that any promise to Shurden would have been made in jest.

``I'm just stunned that it would pass,'' Keating said.

The bill is among six that Keating vetoed Wednesday. He also signed 77 others into law, including one that requires defendants convicted a second time of first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, lewd molestation or sexual abuse of a child to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

``With this legislation Oklahoma is making a very strong statement that those who rape and prey and commit repeated sexual offenses will spend the rest of their lives in prison,'' Keating said.

``This is a more sensible approach to disciplining and handling sex offenders,'' he said.