UPDATE: Oklahoma Board Votes for Clemency in Death Penalty Case

Oklahoma SealC232The votes have come in and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board decided by three votes to two to recommend that Governor Brad Henry commute Richard Smith’s death sentence.  Because this recommendation is nonbinding, it is vital that we continue speaking out in the name of justice for Mr. Smith.  Governor Henry has received six previous recommendations for clemency for death row inmates from the Pardon and Parole Board since he has taken office on January 13, 2003.  Unfortunately, he has taken the Board’s advice on only two of those six recommendations.  

In addition to the Pardon and Parole Board, six of the jurors who originally sentenced Mr. Smith to death have called for clemency.  At the trial, these jurors never heard evidence of Mr. Smith’s harsh upbringing, addiction problems, and psychological and mental health issues, which they now cite as reasons for commuting Mr. Smith’s sentence.

Please continue to write appeals urging Governor Henry to accept the Board’s recommendation and reject the execution of Richard Smith.

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10 thoughts on “UPDATE: Oklahoma Board Votes for Clemency in Death Penalty Case

  1. If the parole board has recommended clemency on six cases, why has the governor only taken their advice in two cases?

  2. Good question, Joe. I certainly can't speculate on the Governor's motives, but since clemency is ultimately a political decision, it's reasonable to assume politics plays some role. The Governor may also consider the relative facts of each case, as well as the nature of the clemency petitions, and who the petitions' supporters are. In one of the two clemency recommendations he did accept (Kevin Young's in 2008) there were, as in this case, a number of jurors who urged him to commute the death sentence.

  3. The death penalty wouldn't even be an issue if murderers would be the first to value the life of innocent human beings.

  4. If the parole board has recommended clemency on six cases, why has the governor only taken their advice in two cases?

  5. Good question, Joe. I certainly can’t speculate on the Governor’s motives, but since clemency is ultimately a political decision, it’s reasonable to assume politics plays some role. The Governor may also consider the relative facts of each case, as well as the nature of the clemency petitions, and who the petitions’ supporters are. In one of the two clemency recommendations he did accept (Kevin Young’s in 2008) there were, as in this case, a number of jurors who urged him to commute the death sentence.

  6. The death penalty wouldn’t even be an issue if murderers would be the first to value the life of innocent human beings.

  7. Well, I've got news that Richard Smith's execution was stayed to give the governor more time to consider the clemency petition. Hope all goes well with him.

  8. Well, I’ve got news that Richard Smith’s execution was stayed to give the governor more time to consider the clemency petition. Hope all goes well with him.