Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor is asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to order two members of the state Pardon & Parole Board to disqualify themselves from proceedings related to death row inmates Julius Jones and Bigler Stouffer.
The request targets board chairman Adam Luck and member Kelly Doyle. O’Connor’s office claims in filings that the two have personal and financial ties that make them “not impartial” and biased in favor of the inmates.
O’Connor, an appointee of Gov. Kevin Stitt, is requesting the state’s high court to disqualify Luck and Doyle ahead of Jones’ clemency hearing on Oct. 26, and Stouffer’s hearing on Oct. 27.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court scheduled a hearing for oral arguments regarding O’Connor’s request for Oct. 25.
Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Crabb wrote Luck “uses social media to solicit information about persons who might be eligible to appear before the Board” and “believes himself to be bound by the Bible to release people from prison.”
Doyle, according to Crabb, “is openly hostile towards prosecutors.”
“Most alarmingly for purposes of this case, Ms. Doyle has an intractable bias in favor of individuals who were young adults when they committed a crime,” Crabb wrote in a brief in support of their motion request.
Last month, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater made a similar request to disqualify Luck and Doyle. Monday, the same day O’Connor’s office filed motions, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously denied Prater’s request.
In a footnote, O’Connor’s office wrote they “borrowed” from Prater’s arguments in its request.
Prater and a spokesperson for Stitt’s office declined to comment on O’Connor’s filings Tuesday.
The attorney general said it has additional information in its filing that was not included in Prater’s request from last month, specifically stemming from Pardon & Parole Board commutation hearings on Sept. 13 and Oct. 5.
“The office of the Oklahoma attorney general has a duty to advance arguments to protect the citizens of the State of Oklahoma and ensure that the victims of the crimes, as well as the inmate, in a capital clemency hearing, receive a fair and impartial hearing before the Pardon and Parole Board,” Emma Sherry, Director of Legislative Affairs for the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
O’Connor’s allegations against Luck and Doyle differ from statements he made in an Oct. 11 with News 9, where he said he was not aware of any corrupt influence inside the Pardon & Parole Board.
“I think the pardon and parole board is functioning as it should. I may disagree with his decisions but it’s five individuals appointed to the board who are entitled to have their own opinions,” O’Connor said last week. “I am not going to accuse anybody of corruption unless I have compelling evidence to that effect.”