Advocate Group Accuses Okla. Co. DA's Lawsuit Against State Pardon & Parole Board Is Politically Motivated


Friday, March 12th 2021, 4:36 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce


OKLAHOMA CITY -

A new twist on Friday in a legal battle between Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board.

Advocacy groups and the NAACP said they plan to file a countersuit in support of the board and Gov. Kevin Stitt.

It all stemmed from Prater’s lawsuit to block prison commutation recommendations.

The head of the advocacy group and the NAACP planned to file countersuit before the close of business on Friday. They stand by the governor and the board and said attempts to block their work was politically motivated.

The lawsuit filed on Thursday by Prater accused two of board members of openly violating the law for their own personal gain.

The head of The Advocacy Council Gwen Dolen-Black said the lawsuit stemmed from one high-profile case -- Julius Jones. The board voted 3 to 1 this week to advance the death row inmate's commutation request.

Two votes came from the names listed in Prater's suit: Kelly Doyle and Adam Luck. Prater accused them of making commutation recommendations where they stand to make financial gain.

“This is not about Kelly Doyle. This is not about Adam Luck,” Dolen-Black said. “This is about Mr. Prater’s abuse of power. Our suit now is against David Prater for interfering with the parole process during this critical time.”

Dolen-Black said she also speaks for the other Oklahoma prisoners waiting on commutations.

“Governor Stitt has inherited a two-year backlog,” said Dolen-Black.

A process that was nearly halted due to the pandemic.  

Dolen-Black said Prater's lawsuit will block legislation passed several years ago to make the parole process more equitable.

“Every Oklahomans safety is important and we are speaking for the prisoners who are subjected to longer prison times because of political shenanigans,” said Dolen-Black.

The district attorney's only comment to the countersuit was, “See you in court.”