E-Capitol
4:00 am
Wed August 20, 2014

2012's State Question 762 Did Not Change Everything

Gov. Mary Fallin
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Voters took the governor out of the parole process for non-violent offenders when they approved State Question 762 in 2012 but they did not take her out of the revocation process, Pardon and Parole Board members were told Monday.

Chairman Marc Dreyer said everyone thought the governor was removed from the revocation process with the passage of the state question. “I thought the board could revoke what the board granted and the governor could revoke what the governor granted,” he said Monday.

Dreyer continued, “But in conversations with the governor’s office, I learned the statute regarding the revocation power was not changed when State Question 762 passes. It still specifies that all revocations go through the governor.”

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board’s web site defines revocation.

In general, after an offender has been released on parole, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections may issue a warrant when a violation of parole has been established.  This process is initiated by an offender’s parole officer, not by the Parole Board.  If the parole officer wishes to pursue revocation proceedings, a probable cause (preliminary hearing) is conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections staff.  If probable cause is found (by a preponderance of the evidence), the offender is then scheduled for an Executive Revocation Hearing before the Parole Board Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  After passage of State Question 762 the revocation hearing process has been divided into a process for violent offenses and non-violent offenses.

The following is ballot language that appeared before voters in 2012:

This measure amends Section 10 of Article 6 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It changes current law, decreasing the power and authority of the Governor by removing the Governor from the parole process for persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses. It enlarges the power and authority of the Pardon and Parole Board by authorizing that Board, in place of the Governor, to grant parole to persons convicted of certain offenses defined as nonviolent offenses. 

The Legislature defines what offenses are nonviolent offenses and the Legislature may change that definition.

The measure authorizes the Pardon and Parole Board to recommend to the Governor, but not to itself grant, parole for persons convicted of certain offenses, specifically those offenses identified by law as crimes for which persons are required to serve not less than eighty-five percent of their sentence prior to being considered for parole and those designated by the Legislature as exceptions to nonviolent offenses. For those offenses for which persons are required to serve a minimum mandatory period of confinement prior to being eligible to be considered for parole, the Pardon and Parole Board may not recommend parole until that period of confinement has been served.