The following includes, but is not limited to, the legal timeline of the civil case between Joe Mixon & Amelia Molitor, in addition to the civil case between the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters & the Norman Police Department and City of Norman. At the end of the article, please feel free to reference the PDFs of the various court decisions.
July 25, 2014 – “Heated and animated,” argument — according to court records — occurs between Oklahoma University (OU) running back Joe Mixon and Amelia Molitor, an OU student, at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe in Norman, Oklahoma.
August 15, 2014 – Norman Police Department files affidavit seeking an arrest warrant for Mixon.
August 18, 2014 – Mixon appears in court on the charge of Acts Resulting in Gross Injury, a misdemeanor. District court ordered Mixon to not only remain in the his attorney’s custody, but also to remain in the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department’s custody until Mixon posted the appropriate bail.
August 2014 – OU head coach Bob Stoops suspends Mixon for the 2014 season.
- Statement from Stoops & Athletic director Joe Castiglione: “As the university has demonstrated in the past, we are committed to winning the right way. As an example to others, OU sets the highest possible standards for its student-athletes, coaches and staff.”
September 4, 2014 – KWTV News 9 and other media outlets view the surveillance video of the altercation between Mixon and Molitor.
October 30, 2014 – Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters (OAB) files an Open Records Request with the Norman Police Department for the surveillance video. The district attorney tells OAB that “[the district attorney] no longer [has] the video.”
October 30, 2014 – Mixon enters an Alford Plea “on the charge of acts resulting in gross injury/outraging public decency.” Judge orders Mixon to perform 100 hours of community service & attend behavioral counseling.
November 3, 2014 – OAB files petition for declaratory judgment, seeking a copy of the video. In turn, Norman Police Department & City of Norman (Defendants) file motion to dismiss.
February 20, 2015 – District court grants Defendants’ motion to dismiss, concluding:
“(1) the video does not depict an arrest or the cause of an arrest; (2) Department is not required to allow copying under the 2011 Act; (3) the Department properly returned the video to its owner; and (4) that Association does not possess a clear legal right to relief for mandamus to be granted.”
April 30, 2015 – District court judge Thad Balkman: Surveillance video must be preserved.
February 22, 2016 – Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals holds that the copies of surveillance video should be made available through the county clerk’s office under the Open Records Act.
February 25, 2016 – Balkman rules that the surveillance video will stay sealed because neither attorney entered it as evidence.
“If you’ll recall when this came up, we were starting to deal with body cams and dash cams. That’s the purpose of the Open Records Act – to have an informed citizenry, so we can make decisions on whether or not we agree with what public officials are doing.”
David McCullough, OBA’s attorney (via KFOR)
March 22, 2016 – Subsequently, the OAB petitions the Oklahoma Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction and prohibit the district court from implementing the Feb. 25, 2016 decision.
May 9, 2016 – In turn, the Oklahoma Supreme Court allows OBA “to proceed in accordance with the Open Records Act … because a judge watched it during a court hearing [in 2015].”
July 22, 2016 – Molitor files complaint in Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.).
- Claims: (1) Negligence, (2) Willful and Wanton Misconduct, and (3) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
- She specifically alleged Mixon “negligently breached the duty of care by forcefully [striking Molitor’s face] with a closed fist.”
- Why was the suit filed in N.D. Cal.?
- Mixon’s permanent residence is in Contra Costa County, California. (The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the California Code of Civil Procedure for that matter, note that a party may file suit in a jurisdiction where the defendant lives).
- “[Molitor’s legal team] didn’t feel like she could receive a fair trial in Oklahoma because of the influence of the football program,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
October 17, 2016 – Molitor v. Mixon is removed to the Western District of Oklahoma under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 (Removal of Civil Actions).
- In their motion to transfer the case, Mixon’s legal team successfully argues that the case should be removed to Oklahoma because several of the case’s witnesses reside there, including OU head football coach Bob Stoops.
“There are plenty of cases that generate a lot of publicity where you`re still able to find jurors who don’t have an interest in the lawsuit and can be fair and impartial.”
Mark Grossman, Mixon’s attorney (via KFOR)
November 21, 2016 – The court dismisses all of the claims, except intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- However, the court finds that Mixon’s actions on the night of July 25, 2014, represented intentional conduct. In turn, it argues that Molitor and her legal counsel should have brought battery & assault claims, as opposed to the aforementioned claims, because “intentional acts cannot be the basis for a negligence claim.”
“I apologize to Amelia Molitor and the friends who were with her that night,” he wrote. “I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the University of Oklahoma, and its fans. I apologize to my family and friends. I realize I let a lot of people down. I apologize to all those I disappointed or hurt.”
Mixon’s Apology (via The Oklahoman)
December 6, 2016 – In Oklahoma Ass’n of Broadcasters v. City of Norman & Norman Police Dept., 2016 WL 7108482 (Okla. Dec. 6, 2016), the court rules that the surveillance video is a public record and, therefore, should be released “without delay.”
- Issues: “(1) [W]hether there was an arrest in the underlying criminal proceeding for purposes of the Act; and (2) whether the Act entitles Plaintiff to a copy of a surveillance video depicting the cause of the arrest.”
December 13, 2016 – Mixon and his legal counsel file an Answer to the Complaint and note that Molitor failed to file an amended complaint within 14 days to restate her claims of negligence and willful & wanton conduct. Additionally, the case is reassigned to Honorable David L. Russell, replacing Honorable Joe Heaton.
December 14, 2016 – Castiglione pens Letter to the Editor in student newspaper, OU Daily.
December 16, 2016 – Friday News Dump: Video is released.
December 20, 2016 – Russell holds 10-minute telephone conference with both parties to discuss the Motion to Disqualify Judge. He also orders them to file a waiver, “indicating their preference with respect to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a).”
28 U.S. Code § 455(a) – Disqualification of justice, judge, or magistrate judge
(a) Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Press Musings, Instant Reactions, & More
- “Bob Stoops’s true standards come into light with Joe Mixon video” Sports Illustrated
- “Joe Mixon would have been dismissed today, Bob Stoops says” ESPN
“Oklahoma can be a hero but first must change its ways” NewsOK
Complaint, Molitor v. Mixon, No. 3:16-CV-4139 (N.D. Cal. July 22, 2016).
Molitor v. Mixon, No. 5-16-CV-01202-HE (W.D. Okla. Nov. 21, 2016).
Oklahoma Ass’n of Broadcasters v. City of Norman & Norman Police Department, 2016 WL 7108482 (Okla. Dec. 6, 2016).
Defendant’s Answer, Molitor v. Mixon, No. CIV-16-1202-R (W.D. Okla. Dec. 13, 2016).
Conference Call on Motion to Disqualify Judge (Dec. 20, 2016).
[Waiver] Motion to Disqualify Judge to Avoid Questions as to Impartiality, 7A Fed. Proc. Forms § 20:754 (Westlaw June 2016).