Oklahoma Pardon and Parole board director Tom Bates said over 100 pardon, parole and commutation cases could be reconsidered due to not having a full board.
“The board felt that it was important to allow them to come back before the board now that we have a full complement of members and have those cases reheard,” Bates said.
Bates is referring to cases from December through March. He said there was a vacancy on the board following the death of former chair Robert Gilliland, leaving the board with four members.
During that time, there were three pardon and parole board meetings and over 100 cases were impacted.
“When someone receives a tie vote, whether it be a parole whether it be a pardon, whether it be a commutation those are denied because you have to receive three votes,” Bates said.
Governor Kevin Stitt appointed Scott Williams to the board back in March. In the interest of fairness, Bates said the board will rehear pardon and parole cases.
“There were 59 nonviolent paroles that were tie votes, three pardons and 130 commutations,” Bates said.
This does not include violent offender parole cases that failed due to tie votes due to state law. Before the board can rehear the 130 commutations, they'll have to hear from Stitt.
“We'll go ahead and go forward with the nonviolent paroles and pardons because those were in the board's discretion,” Bates said. “The commutations, if someone is denied commutation, they have to wait three years to reapply unless the governor asks the board to reconsider.”
Bates said the board has submitted their request to Stitt, letting him know their willingness to reconsider the commutations.