Members of the state's Pardon and Parole Board turned themselves in on Thursday morning. Each of the members faces 10 misdemeanor charges for allegedly violating Oklahoma's "Open Meeting Act" during their time on the board.
District Attorney David Prater launched the investigation months ago into the board's activities. Papers filed in court show the members were "willful and intentional" in practicing and using an "undefined, vague agenda item with no details of business to be conducted to place inmates into the parole process before their eligible date without declaring the inmates name or the nature and purpose of the discussion in advance on the agenda for the meeting in which the discussion took place."
The investigation found these actions were a violation of the Open Meeting Act on 10 occasions. The board's Chairman Dr. Marc Dreyer denied the charges.
"We have not violated the law, we have not willfully done anything that was a criminal violation in any of our service on the parole board," Dreyer said.
Gov. Mary Fallin's office responded to the charges and said the members of the Pardon and Parole Board had implemented several changes to improve transparency including creating a more user-friendly website with more access to information, establishing a separate commutation docket for District Attorneys and the public, and improving their agenda to provide more clarification for the public on the board's activities.
All five members are out on bond and were scheduled to be back in court on April 18.