Oklahoma County District Attorney makes new allegation about Oklahoma parole board
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said board members changed votes in violation of the Open Meeting Act. The new allegation is in a confidential email obtained by The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater is making a new allegation about the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board — that members have illegally changed their votes.
Videoview all videos
Mar 14All five members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board...
Jan 31Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater alleges...
Photoview all 17 photos
NewsOK Related Articles
“Additionally, any time they changed a previously cast vote, outside of public scrutiny, I view that as a violation as well,” Prater wrote the board's defense attorney last week.
“We found several instances of that,” Prater wrote.
Prater last year launched a criminal investigation of the parole board after concluding it blatantly violated the state Open Meeting Act. His initial allegation was that the board illegally took up early release requests without proper public notice.
Board members have denied violating the law.
The board's chairman, Tulsa minister Marc Dreyer, acknowledged Monday that a board member sometimes changes his or her vote an hour or a day after the initial vote. He said any changes, though, will be before the meeting ends.
He said a monthly meeting lasts three to four days, and an announcement is made each day that votes are not final until the board adjourns.
“Every one of those votes occurs in the public meeting,” Dreyer said of any changes. “Now, is there anybody present in the room? Gosh ... probably for at least half of the board meeting there isn't anybody there except for the security people. But it's still an open, public meeting.”
Email mentions new claim
The initial allegation against the board was detailed in a letter Prater sent to the board's executive director last August.
The new allegation is mentioned in a confidential email Prater sent the evening of Jan. 29 to defense attorney Mack Martin. The Oklahoman obtained two of Prater's Jan. 29 emails from a source.
Prater in January offered not to file criminal charges against the board members if they would resign. The proposal called for board members to resign in stages so the parole process would not be disrupted.
He gave board members a deadline of 5 p.m. last Friday to decide. All five board members rejected the offer.
Prater is expected to file dozens of criminal counts later this month against the five members — Dreyer; Currie Ballard, of Langston; Lynnell Harkins, of Moore; David Moore, of Edmond; and Richard L. Dugger, of Oklahoma City.
News Photo Galleriesview all
- 37007Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 32519Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 27986Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 8311Wild hogs continue to be a growing menace across Oklahoma
- 6200OKC Thunder GM Sam Presti won't amnesty Kendrick Perkins
- 3643College football: Coaches, athletes weigh in on NCAA's suspended recruiting proposals
- 3643Oklahoma City Thunder: What could Serge Ibaka learn from Hakeem Olajuwon?