Death Penalty Foe Quits Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board after State Resumes Executions – Governor Appoints Ex-Cop

Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

By Catherine Hamilton, Ashleen Herrarte and Katherine Longjohn

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The chair of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, Adam Luck—he apparently has reservations over the death penalty—resigned at the request of pro-execution Gov. Kevin Stitt over differences in their positions on the death penalty.

The governor immediately appointed a former cop as chair of the pardon and parole board.

While Gov. Stitt is a proponent of the death penalty, Luck has suggested his general disapproval of the practice by voting against capital punishment for death row inmates, according to The Oklahoman

As Luck writes in his letter, his resignation comes at the request of Gov. Stitt in order to “allow (the governor) to appoint an individual more aligned with (the governor’s) position.

“When I began service on this board there was a moratorium on executions in the state of Oklahoma. As we resumed executions in October I came to the conclusion that guided my votes during the five clemency hearings our board conducted. I understand these beliefs differ from yours,” said Luck in his resignation letter.

Luck’s resignation comes just three months after Oklahoma resumed scheduled executions following a six-year hiatus after a series of botched lethal injections, according to The Frontier.

Despite initially agreeing to hold off until the legal issues involving the state’s lethal injection procedures were resolved, seven executions were scheduled between October 2021 and March 2022, noted the Death Penalty Information Center.

A prominent grant of clemency from Gov. Stitt that followed this resumption of capital punishment was that of Julius Jones.

According to The Innocence Project, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board suggested Jones, who has always proclaimed innocence for the murder he was convicted of, be granted life with the possibility of parole.

Mere hours before his scheduled execution, Gov. Stitt granted Jones life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Luck will be replaced by Edward Koneiczny, according to AP News. Koneiczny is a former California police officer and the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.

In a statement quoted by AP News, Koneiczny said, “With nearly 20 years in law enforcement and 28 years in ministry I believe I bring a unique, equitable, and relevant perspective to this position.”

Despite what seems to be a somewhat abrupt departure, Luck ended his letter of resignation with words of gratitude.

“I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve in this capacity over the last three years. We both know how much was accomplished and are equally aware of how much is still to be done. I believe the board is well equipped to continue their part of the work.”

Luck’s full resignation letter can be found here.


About The Author

Catherine is a freshman at UCLA, double majoring in English and Political Science. She is from Atlanta, Georgia.

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