Parole Board bias alleged
DA claims 2 members have conflicts in Julius Jones case
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater on Wednesday asked the state’s high court to toss two Pardon and Parole Board members off Monday’s commutation hearing for convicted killer Julius Jones.
Jones was convicted of murder for the 1999 shooting death of Edmond businessman Paul
Howell in front of his two children and sister in his parents’ driveway. Howell’s brown Suburban was taken.
Jones has maintained his innocence, and his case has received national and international attention as he faces the death penalty.
Although Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor has asked the Court of Criminal Appeals for an execution date, none has
Jones’ commutation hearing before the five-member Pardon and Parole Board is set to take place on Monday.
Prater is asking that the commutation hearing be put on hold pending the outcome of his filing with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Prater alleges that Pardon and Parole Board Chairman Adam Luck has conflicts of interest and bias.
He also alleges that board member Kelly Doyle is biased and has conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety.
Prater alleges that Luck has a conflict of interest between his duties to the board and his private employer and a conflict between his board duties and his private political agenda.
Prater says Luck works for City Care, a nonprofit that assists homeless people and people returning from incarceration. He is also on the national board of the Center for Employment Opportunities, a nonprofit that serves those recently released from incarceration, according to documents.
Doyle is the regional director for the Center for Employment Opportunities, according to documents. The Center for Employment Opportunities is a member of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, which works to reduce incarceration rates, according to Prater’s office.
The prosecutor also points to social media posts by Luck that he says show bias toward offenders.
“Luck’s constant posts about how wonderful he is for releasing inmates is fine if he were not a member of the Board that decides on the inmate’s release,” Prater said in documents seeking the recusal.
Prater alleges that the Center for Employment Opportunities, Doyle’s employer, benefits greatly by her votes on the board, the documents say.
“Doyle’s private employment colors her judgement when voting to parole, commute or release any inmate,” Prater continues.
Pardon and Parole Board Director Tom Bates declined to comment.
Prater is also asking the Pardon and Parole Board to disqualify Jones from commutation based on a rule that says if an offender receives a misconduct citation while in Stage 2 of the process, the inmate can’t appear before the board and becomes ineligible.
Jones received a misconduct citation for having illicit drugs in his system after the board voted to send him to Stage 2, according to documents.
“Either Jones is receiving special treatment because his ‘case is receiving national attention,’ or the Board has simply decided not to follow its own rules,” Prater says in documents.