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Governor stops board from deciding early parole

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said, for the past two years, the Pardon and Parole Board has illegally allowed criminals out of prison before time.

The office was recently made aware of a series of so called “secret meetings” after one family received an alert on the Vine System.

The woman who killed their husband and father might be released four years early.

“Their truck had flipped and rolled. Mom was already on the ground and the paramedics were checking on her and she told me, ‘I think your dad is dead.’ I went back to the truck and looked in and dad was dead,” Tim Sharp said.

He is forced to relive the painful memories of his parents’ accident.

Maelene Chambers was convicted of killing Joe Sharp, she was arrested with three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system.

Chambers recently appeared for parole four years too early.

She’s one of 51 inmates who was on a hearing list that didn’t appear on a public agenda.

Others on the list include murders convicted of heinous crimes.

This prompted District Attorney David Prater to send a nine-page letter to the board blasting them on breaking the law by violating the Open Meeting Act.

“Victims of a crime should have the right to come and protest and that shouldn’t be unquestioned. This is a defense lawyer’s dream to be able to show up and ask to get your client out of jail without anybody even knowing,” criminal defense attorney David Slane said. 

State law requires certain criminals serve at least 85 percent of their sentence before starting the parole process.

According to Prater’s findings, the parole board did not abide by this law

“I absolutely agree with the position taken by David Prater in his letter. He nails it.” Tim Rainey said.

He has served on the Department of Corrections Board under three governors and has worked closely with the board until two months ago.

“Prater is not the first nor perhaps the last to raise concern about operational issues at the Pardon and Parole Board,” Rainey said.

Whether or not the board has the power to move criminals up on the parole process may have to be decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Tim Sharp just wants justice for his father.

“It’s frustrating that board members who are supposed to be public servants seem to circumvent everything that the court and judges have already decided,” he said.

Not long after Prater’s letter, Governor Fallin placed a moratorium on the Pardon and Parole Board, meaning they will stop considering docket modifications during meetings for the time being.

The board has agreed to those terms.