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Parole board chairman resigns over death penalty position

State of Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board Chairman Adam Luck, who has consistently voted to spare the lives of death row inmates, announced Friday he is resigning at the request of the governor.

Luck wrote in his resignation letter that he was stepping down immediately so Gov. Kevin Stitt could appoint someone more aligned with his support for the death penalty.

“When I began service on this board there was a moratorium on executions in the state of Oklahoma,” Luck wrote. “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 and while I could continue my service I wish to honor your request and allow you to appoint an individual more aligned with your position.”

A former member of the Board of Corrections, Luck has been a member of the parole board for the last three years.

In 2019, Luck led the board in its unanimous approval of commutations for more than 400 inmates, the nation’s largest ever single-day mass commutation. The commutations helped reduce Oklahoma’s prison population so that it no longer had the nation’s highest incarceration rate.

Stitt, a Republican, announced Friday he was replacing Luck with Edward Konieczny, a former police officer in California and head of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma.

“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,” Konieczny said in a statement.