Friday, 25 July 2008

Clemency in Oklahoma

Clemency in Oklahoma

The Oklahoman reports, "Governor commutes inmate's death sentence."

Gov. Brad Henry today approved clemency for death row inmate Kevin Young.

The governor commuted his sentence to life without the possibility of parole as recommended by the state Pardon and Parole Board.

Young, 43, was sentenced to death for a deadly May 1996 robbery. The governor last week granted a 30-day stay of execution so he could hear arguments for and against his death sentence. Young had been scheduled to die by lethal injection July 22. A new execution date had been set for Aug. 21.

“This was a very difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly,” Henry said. “I am always reluctant to intervene in a capital case, and I am very respectful of a jury’s verdict, the prosecutors who tried the case and the victim’s family who suffered because of the crime.

“However, after reviewing all of the evidence and hearing from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, I decided the Pardon and Parole Board made a proper recommendation to provide clemency and commute the death sentence,” Henry said.

Earlier coverage is here. In recent years, Oklahoma has emerged as a state that regards executive clemency as a realistic component of the criminal justice system. A 2005 report on best practices in clemency, The Role of Mercy, is here. The clemency index is here.

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