Pardon & Parole Board To Hold Clemency Hearings In Death Row Cases

Tuesday, March 10th 2020, 6:04 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Some big decisions are coming up for the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board. Board members said they will be holding clemency hearings for inmates scheduled to be executed.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, made up mostly of new members appointed by Governor Stitt has had a busy year, hearing and approving a record number of commutations and parole requests.

But now that the state has announced they will resume executions the board said everyone who is given an execution date will be entitled to a clemency hearing in front of the pardon and parole board.

It will likely be the last hearing the inmate gets, and Board Chairman Robert Gilliland said they are taking it seriously.

“Very, very seriously.  Of course, it’s about as much pressure as a person can have,” said Gilliland.

Adding to that pressure, the board will consider high profile and controversial cases that have received national attention such as Julius Jones and Richard Glossip. Supporters maintain both men are innocent.

So, the board will go through six months of training sessions where defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement, victims even possibly psychologists will prepare the board for decisions ahead.

“We want to have as much information and knowledge as possible to make that solemn recommendation,” said Gilliland.

Gilliland said board members also plan to study up on each case before the hearings.

Don Knight, the attorney for Glossip said Tuesday:

“Oklahomans want to be confident that no innocent man is killed by the state. Richard Glossip is innocent. It’s one thing to be tough on crime, but every voter who cares about justice wants to know all the facts before passing judgement. We are thankful for the opportunity to finally tell the full story of Richard’s case that has never been heard by any jury or parole board.”

Those clemency hearings will be open to the public. Once the pardon and parole board makes a recommendation the governor still has to sign off on it.