Oklahoma County DA files lawsuit against Pardon and Parole Board, Gov. Stitt

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OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A high-profile district attorney is now taking aim at the Oklahoma governor and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board in a lawsuit.

On Thursday, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Prater says the board failed to adhere to legal mandates and argued that two members, Adam Luck and Kelly Doyle have financial interests involved in the commutation hearings.

He says that the board is violating the law by not providing proper notice to prosecutors when inmates request commutation.

The lawsuit asks a judge to declare “any recommendation for parole or commutation in which members Doyle and/or Luck have participated to be invalid and in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution, statutes, and rules of ethics.”

It also requests that Gov. Stitt be prohibited from giving consideration to “any request for parole or commutation recommended by Defendant Board in which members Kelly Doyle and/or Adam Luck have voted.”

The lawsuit comes just days after the board voted 3-1 to advance Julius Jones’ case to a hearing.

On Monday, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to advance death row inmate Julius Jones’ case to a ‘stage two’ hearing that will take place later this year.

In July of 1999, Edmond businessman Paul Howell was shot and killed in the driveway of his parents’ Edmond home. 

Scene from the murder of Paul Howell
Scene from the murder of Paul Howell

At the time, 19-year-old Julius Jones was convicted and sentenced to death for the crime.

His supporters said his original defense team failed him, never even bringing up his alibi for the night of the murder.

However, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said those defending Jones have “disseminated misinformation and lies regarding the trial and evidence” in the case.

In recent months, Jones’ case has gained national attention with many people calling on state leaders to intervene.

Justice for Julius coalition leader CeCe Jones-Davis says organizers are asking the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to commute and reduce Jones’ death sentence.

“Here is a man with an alibi, who did not match the eye-witness description of the shooter, and who was convicted by the testimony of incredibly unreliable witnesses motivated by secret plea deals,” she said. “It has been more than one-year since Julius submitted his commutation application and we want the Pardon and Parole Board to grant Julius a hearing that will be full and fair and will also allow the board to consider the new evidence. Anything less would be a tremendous miscarriage of justice.”

As the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board was considering a possible hearing for Jones’ case, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater demanded that one member recuse himself from the hearing.

Prater demanded that Adam Luck, a member of the Pardon and Parole Board, recuse himself from considering Jones’ case.

Prater sent Luck a letter, taking issue with Luck using his personal Twitter account in the past to retweet a post written by Kim Kardashian West, one of Jones’ most famous advocates.

“You made clear in your tweet that you were speaking as ‘a board member.’ In Ms. West’s message, which you appear to be endorsing, she asks her followers to ‘[p]lease help’ by expressing their support for Offender Jones’s commutation by contacting ‘the Board and @GovStitt,” Prater said in the letter.

Prater also sent a letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, asking them to keep Jones on death row.

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