OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The NAACP is calling on a member of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to resign after an internal memo was published on a local news website.
According to the internal memo obtained by The Frontier news website, an Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board member threatened to publicly accuse the executive director of criminal activity if he didn’t try to suppress death row inmates from seeking commutation.
“This is a relevant matter for right now because after a five-year pause, state officials said they’re going to restart executions,” said The Frontier senior staff writer Ben Felder.
Clashing at the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board over the Julius Jones case led to board member Allen McCall allegedly threatening Executive Director Steve Bickley.
“In early June, he sent a series of emails to Director Bickley, threatening to accuse him of criminal activity unless he sought another opinion from the state attorney general,” Felder said.
This coming after Bickley asked both an attorney for the governor and the Pardon and Parole Board’s attorney if death row inmates, like Julius Jones, are eligible for commutation.
Both concurring death row inmates were indeed eligible.
“That decision did not sit well with one of the parole board members. Allen McCall, who’s a former judge, disagreed with the decision,” Felder said.
The Frontier obtained a copy of an internal memo that included a June 5th email from McCall to Bickley saying in part, “I will move for your immediate termination on Monday and request that I be allowed to appear before the multi-county grand jury to present what I believe is evidence of multiple violations of Oklahoma law by you and others.”
Bickley later asked the board for a leave of absence. The Frontier reports that absence has so far not been accepted.
“We published our story on Monday. Hours later, Attorney General Hunter’s Office released a letter saying he looked at the matter and he believed death row inmates were eligible for commutation,” Felder said.
The Oklahoma NAACP also releasing this statement to KFOR, saying in part, “Judge C. Allen McCall’s recent threatening statements and unspecified accusations of criminal activity towards his own colleague… are outrageous and should be alarming for all Oklahomans. We call for his immediate resignation from the Pardon and Parole Board, as he is unfit to continue serving the people in this capacity.”
“For those that are on death row that are kind of in limbo, execution dates are going to be set here fairly soon,” Felder said. “So, the next step is Julius Jones’ request for a commutation hearing. The board will be allowed to grant that, so we’ll have to see what that process looks like.”
KFOR contacted both McCall and Bickley for comment. So far, we have yet to hear back.
Click here for The Frontier’s full story.