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Oklahoma Parole Board offered chance to resign to avoid criminal charges

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater alleges the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board repeatedly violated the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act.
by Nolan Clay Modified: January 30, 2013 at 10:14 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013

/articleid/3750430/1/pictures/1940656">Photo - Pardon and Parole Board member Currie Ballard
Pardon and Parole Board member Currie Ballard

Alleged violations

Prater alleges the board acted illegally about 50 times in the last three years when it took up early release requests without proper public notice. Prater in a letter in August wrote the board's “violations in this matter are egregious, aggravated and a clear attempt to operate in secrecy, outside of public scrutiny.”

The punishment for a violation of the Open Meeting Act is a $500 fine and a year in jail.

Board Chairman Marc Dreyer, a Tulsa minister, declined Wednesday night to discuss the prosecutor's offer directly.

Reached after a Bible study, Dreyer said, “We have a lot of things to do and I don't think my work is finished but I am aware that there are concerns that have been raised about the operations of the board. We'll just have to see how that all plays out. I do not believe the board has done anything wrong.”

Board member Richard Dugger, a former district attorney, has hired his own attorney, John Coyle, of Oklahoma City.

“It's really unfair that they're put in this position,” Coyle said Wednesday of Prater's offer.

The attorney said Dugger is considering the offer but does not believe he did anything wrong.

“They never intended to do anything wrong,” Coyle said. “All they've tried to do is help the citizens of Oklahoma, and the people that are incarcerated, to do the right thing by them. And it's a difficult balance and a difficult job.”

Coyle also said, “It seems to me there would be a better way to solve this problem.”

Board members David Moore and Lynnell Harkins could not be reached for comment Wednesday night despite multiple calls to their cellphones.

The five board members were appointed to their voluntary positions and are not full-time.

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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