Governor signs parole measure
Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill Tuesday that requires inmates to apply to the governor for a reprieve, commutation, pardon or any other act of clemency. House Bill 1722 also requires the governor to provide copies of any applications to the district attorney and the victim or representative of the victim. An application for commutation must be accompanied by the written recommendation of two of three trial officials; trial officials are the current judge of the court where the conviction occurred, the current district attorney where the conviction occurred and the current elected sheriff of the county or chief of police where the conviction occurred. The measure provides that inmates sentenced to consecutive sentences are not to be eligible for parole consideration on any consecutive sentence until one-third of the consecutive sentence has been served or until the minimum term of incarceration has been served. The measure requires at least three of the five members of the Pardon and Parole Board to approve the parole or medical parole of an offender. It takes effect Nov. 1.
House approves smoking ban
The House approved a bill Tuesday that would allow cities and counties to ban smoking on properties they own or operate. Senate Bill 501 would apply to parks, libraries, baseball fields, golf courses, soccer fields and other properties. Cities or counties would make their own decisions on whether to ban tobacco products on certain properties, said Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, the House sponsor of the bill. SB 501 also would convert into state law Gov. Mary Fallin's executive order that bans the smoking or chewing of tobacco in all buildings and on all properties owned by the state. Ownbey said making the governor's executive order into a state law gives it permanence. A new governor has 90 days after taking office to approve executive orders issued by the preceding governor. A Senate committee earlier this year killed a bill that would allow cities and towns to pass ordinances more stringent than state laws governing tobacco use. The House voted 76-14 to pass SB 501. It now goes to the governor.
Convicted killer denied hearing
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals on Tuesday denied the request of a former firefighter seeking a hearing to present evidence to appeal his being sentenced to death for the 2003 fatal shooting of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. A Comanche County judge in November resentenced Ricky Ray Malone to death for the Dec. 26, 2003, killing of trooper Nikky “Nik” Green. Malone, now 38, had been sentenced to death in 2005, but the sentence was overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeals. Green found Malone in a car along a Cotton County road that had a mobile methamphetamine lab inside, and the two struggled before Malone killed Green with the trooper's gun. Malone had asked the appellate court for a hearing so he could present evidence his defense attorney was ineffective during his trial and appeal.