The head of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board resigned this week after being threatened last month by a board member with a grand jury investigation of unspecified criminal activity.
Pardon and parole Executive Director Steven Bickley had asked the board earlier this month to approve an extended leave after board member and retired judge Allen McCall sent him an email accusing him of trying to force an anti-death penalty view on the board. That happened after an exchange about whether the board could consider commutation requests from death-row inmates.
Counsel for the governor and the parole board agreed they could, but McCall wanted Bickley to seek opinion from the attorney general’s office. Bickley did, and Attorney General Mike Hunter's opinion concurred with the other attorneys'.
On Twitter, board member Adam Luck described Bickley’s service as "exemplary" and said the board was "losing a valuable public servant."
Bickley earlier this month said under his tenure, the pardon and parole board has run under budget, heard twice as many cases and been recognized at the state and national levels.