The Oklahoma District Attorney Association has voted unanimously to support a handful of district attorneys who have filed recusal requests with the state Pardon and Parole Board (PPB).
The association reports two members of the PPB have a clear conflict of interest.
At least three district attorneys have asked board members Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle to recuse themselves from their cases so that those cases cannot be heard for the possibility of early release.
At the time of filing the original complaint, Luck and Doyle worked with Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO).
CEO helps released inmate find jobs.
District Attorney Laura Thomas, of Logan and Payne counties, said Doyle and Luck stand to benefit from the early release of inmates.
She also said that Doyle has shown disdain for law enforcement at various hearings.
“We believe, instead, members on the board are following a political agenda, an activist political agenda,” said Thomas. “You're sitting in front of a group of people, where several members do not like you, or what you stand for. "
Thomas said she knows Oklahoma ranks high in incarceration rates, but thinks the rush to release inmates hurts victims, and undermines the judicial system.
She said a judge and jury decided the sentence after hearing all the facts of a case, something the board does not have the time or resources to replicate.
Thomas said the requests for commutations have increased dramatically.
“In this past year, we have been hit with hundreds and hundreds [of commutations] in a month,” she said. "People they are recommending commutations now, and releasing are not all nonviolent offenders. They are violent offenders."
News 9 reached out to the Pardon and Parole Board which reported it has addressed this issue at a previous meeting, but did not elaborate.
Their spokesman pointed to a statement made Monday from Gov. Kevin Stitt's office:
"The Governor appointed Adam Luck, Kelly Doyle, and Robert Gilliland to the Pardon and Parole Board in order to bring a fresh perspective to the review process, address the inherited backlog in the system and move the needle in criminal justice reform for non-violent offenders. The Governor is very proud of what the board has accomplished in the past 18 months..."
While there have been many requests for commutations, in the past two years, Oklahoma has commuted around 600 sentences.
Data provided by the newly released governor's dashboard shows this has moved Oklahoma from 50th in the county to 47th regarding incarceration rate.
Thomas said she is taking the next steps to hold the board accountable but cannot discuss those options that this time.