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2 Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board members resign

Oklahoma State Penitentiary houses Oklahoma's death row prisoners.
Quinton Chandler
StateImpact Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Penitentiary houses Oklahoma's death row prisoners.

Two members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board resigned earlier this summer, officially leaving the board following the August meeting last Tuesday.

Board chairman Richard Smothermon and member Cathy Stocker, both former district attorneys, departed from the board this week. Smothermon had served on the board since July 2021, while Stocker was appointed last year.

The Pardon and Parole board votes on all death row inmates’ clemency hearings. Though the governor has final say, they can only act should the board recommend clemency.

Gov. Kevin Stitt already appointed Stocker’s replacement: former district attorney Kevin Buchanan. The Oklahoma Supreme Court will decide Smothermon’s replacement.

The next clemency hearing for Phillip Hancock, who fatally shot two men in Oklahoma City in 2001, is scheduled for Nov. 8.

These resignations followed Richard Glossip asking an Oklahoma County judge to void his last clemency hearing on grounds of fairness, seeking a hearing before five impartial members should the U.S. Supreme Court not rule in his favor.

Glossip is a death row inmate who affirms his innocence and claims he was framed in the 1997 murder of Barry Alan Van Treese.

In April, the Parole Board tied 2-2 on Glossip’s clemency, not reaching the majority support required for the governor to weigh commuting his sentence.

Smothermon abstained from the April vote, as his wife was the lead prosecutor in Glossip’s retrial, and Stocker voted against clemency.