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DA alleges Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board violated law again

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater found problems with two meetings held Friday by the state Pardon and Parole Board.
by Nolan Clay Published: August 25, 2012
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Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater accused the state Pardon and Parole Board of violating state law again at two meetings Friday.

“This will be considered as further evidence in our criminal case,” the prosecutor said.

Prater began a criminal investigation of the board after learning it was bringing up inmates for early release consideration without giving any notice about their identities at that stage to the public. In an Aug. 8 letter, he wrote the board deliberately disregarded the state Open Meeting Act. No charges have been filed yet.

The board's five part-time members and its officials deny wrongdoing.

First meeting

In the first Parole Board meeting Friday, described as a continuation of a regular board meeting from earlier this month, board member Marc Dreyer voted to recommend parole for two inmates.

Dreyer was absent when the two inmates came up for parole at the regular August meeting.

He voted Friday to break ties in their cases.

The board's agenda did not identify what inmates were being voted on Friday by Dreyer.

The prosecutor said it should have.

“It appears that the board again has taken action on an agenda item wherein there was insufficient notice of what inmates would be considered in their vote,” Prater said.

“I had two lawyers there and an investigator there, and this will become ... further evidence in our criminal case. ... It's got to be on the agenda.”

The board's deputy director, J.D. Daniels, said announcements were made during the regular meeting that the tie votes involving those two inmates would be resolved later.

The two inmates are James Scarpello, who is in prison on an assault conviction, and Donald D. Laster, a drug offender. The meeting over their cases lasted only about three minutes.

Second meeting

At the second meeting Friday, described as a special meeting, the board took up a series of recommendations from Gov. Mary Fallin about its procedures.

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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