commutations

President Trump issued his first pardon in August 2017, just about seven months into his presidency. Three years and three dozen clemencies later, some patterns have emerged.

Updated Saturday at 10:22 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter says the state Pardon and Parole Board has the authority to hold commutation hearings for death row prisoners. The AG made the announcement in response to a question from the Pardon and Parole Board.

The opinion should clear up confusion created after death row prisoner Julius Jones applied to be considered for commutation last year. Jones was convicted of murdering Edmond man Paul Howell in 1999.

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board is asking the state Attorney General’s opinion on whether death row prisoners qualify for its commutation process. The board voted unanimously to send the question to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s office.

Board members say they have reviewed the state law that defines their powers and aren't sure whether the normal commutation process applies to death penalty cases.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the lawsuit by legislative leaders to get the governor to call a revenue emergency so they can fund the government through the month of June and number provided by the governor's office on how many inmates are getting released in the latest round of commutations were incorrect.

Oklahoma state prisons began releasing 111 prisoners Thursday by order of Governor Kevin Stitt.

Prompted by a legislative committee question, Department of Corrections director Scott Crow said the releases aren’t related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Although this is at a time when we’re looking at early releases and trying to manage our population to accommodate this crisis their releases are not directly related to COVID," Crow said.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s office mistakenly announced that 404 state prisoners would be released on Thursday by order of the governor.

Many of the prisoners applied to have their prison sentences shortened in response to a recent law change that reduced the punishment for their crimes.

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UPDATE (4/15): The Pardon and Parole board says the Governor's office mistakenly announced that 404 prisoners would be released on Thursday. The number of those released will likely be much smaller.

As chances of widespread coronavirus circulation in state prisons mounts, Gov. Kevin Stitt is sending 404 prisoners home early.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A popular desire for reform led lawmakers to push the release of hundreds of people from Oklahoma prisons in a record commutation last year. The climactic event was born from a series of reforms that have moved Oklahoma away from the number one spot for incarceration. But, that progress might be temporary.

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