Defense Attorney Says Julius Jones’ Commutation Case Could Set New Precedents

Tuesday, September 21st 2021, 7:02 pm
By: News 9

One local attorney argues a death row inmate Julius Jones' commutation case could set new precedents.

Jones was convicted for the murder of Edmond businessman Paul Howell in 1999.

At his commutation hearing last Monday, the state argued Jones' application should be denied based on his history with misconduct and claimed his application had false information.

The hearing continued and Jones' request was recommended.

Long time defense attorney Irven Box is now raising questions about Jones' hearing.

"The rule of thumb that I’ve seen, the board always -- 40 some years -- if you’ve had a misconduct within a year then they’re not even going to listen," Box said. "You’re not going to get past stage one."

According to Jones' inmate profile, he has had three since his application was submitted, one since he was passed on to stage two.

"It absolutely sets a new precedent," Box said. "If these same board members are on there, if I have a client that came up and had a misconduct four months ago and they said hold it Irven we’re not going to hear your case your guys had a misconduct. I'd say hold on what about Julius Jones' case. What about his three infractions."

Jones' legal team did address his misconduct at the board's hearing last Monday, saying they contested them.

"I think there was an attempt to write Mr. Jones up so that he would not be able to appear before you to speak on his own behalf," one of Jones' lawyers Amanda Bass said.

Box also said rules regarding speaking times were changed the Saturday before the hearing, and he feels personal belief and celebrity pressure played a role.

"I think it’s an affront to everyone in the state," Box said. "This parole board I think had made up their mind way before they got to the hearing."

The pardon and the parole board's attorney, Kyle Counts, said decisions on speaking times were changed months ago but the rules went into effect on Sept. 11.

He also clarified a contradiction in the application instructions and the commutation rules.

Counts said the rule reads if an inmate has received a misconduct after submitting their application their personal appearance is stricken.

Their attorney also said exceptions can be made for those applying for parole or a commutation, and the only discussion board members had regarding Jones' cases was the phase one portion of his hearing.

The final decision on Jones' case is now in the governor's hands.

News 9 learned Tuesday a clemency hearing has been set for Jones for October 26.