Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board secretly hires defense attorney

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board hired prominent criminal defense attorney Mack Martin for his help with two ongoing investigations. All five board members signed the contract even though they never officially voted to hire the attorney.
by Nolan Clay Published: October 26, 2012
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The board's chairman, Marc Dreyer, defended how the attorney was hired. He said it was handled like any other contract, by the agency's staff. He said board members never approve contracts.

“We don't review or, even for that matter, get a report about any contracts that the agency negotiates, from the Xerox contract to contracts with the Office of State Finance to run our payroll or whatever,” said Dreyer, who is senior pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Tulsa.

“I'm sure that some would say, ‘Well, that looks like they did something secretly.' But, again, we didn't, anymore than we adopted our Xerox contract secretly. Because we didn't do it. It was done by the staff.”

He said the board's executive director, Terry Jenks, actually signed the contract on behalf of the agency. He said board members signed later because the attorney wanted them to acknowledge he was representing them individually, too.

“We didn't discuss this. It wasn't done in a board meeting. We signed at different times on different days,” Dreyer said.

He said board members could not talk about hiring the defense attorney during their meetings because of a legal reason. The board's general counsel, Tracy George, said “the agency was and is prohibited from disclosing the existence of what Mr. Martin has been retained for because of a court order.”

The general counsel sent a copy of the contract to The Oklahoman but blacked out part of it because of that court order.

The blacked-out part apparently refers to the grand jury subpoenas for records and to the attorney general's investigation. In every subpoena, the multicounty grand jury's judge orders the recipient not to disclose its existence.

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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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