OKLAHOMA CITY – The Pardon and Parole Board has rejected the district attorney’s ultimatum, to step down or be charged.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater gave all five board members until Friday evening to step down or face criminal charges.
The board members decided they will not resign.
Board chairman Dr. Marc Dreyer told NewsChannel 4 that the board is willing to sit down with Prater and address any concerns.
“I personally believe that Mr. Prater is a man of integrity and has pursued his investigation with a view to try and determine if wrongdoing has occurred,” Dr. Dreyer said. “His conclusion and mine while different can be, I believe, yet resolved in a manner beneficial to the citizens of Oklahoma and to the benefit of the criminal justice system.”
Prater claims the board routinely broke the state’s Opening Meeting Act.
Violating the Open Meeting Act could result in a $500 fine and a year in jail.
Thursday, one board member said he has no intention of stepping down.
“It’s against every fiber of my being to yield to wrong when I’ve done no wrong,” board member Currie Ballard said. “I’m gonna do everything within my power to maintain my position on the board.”
Prater sent a letter to the board in Aug. accusing them of repeatedly violating the Open Meeting Act after 51 inmates were placed on a “secret” hearings list that didn’t appear on any public agenda.
Multiple board members denied breaking the law.
Dr. Dreyer said the board made changes when Prater first raised concerns last summer.
“We have made changes in our procedures, are revamping our dockets and our web site, all to make everything we do as open and transparent as we possibly can and as easy as is possible for district attorneys, victims, supporters, legislators and any interested citizen,” Dreyer said.
Prater would not comment on the proposed plea agreement that would allow the board members to step down gradually.
The Parole Board makes clemency recommendations to the governor for adult felons.
The board is made up of five members who serve four-year terms.