Adam Luck (pictured), the Chairman of Oklahoma’s Board of Pardons and Parole, has resigned from the board under pressure from Governor Kevin Stitt because of Luck’s votes in favor of clemency for death-row prisoners.

“When I began service on this board there was a moratorium on executions in the state of Oklahoma,” Luck wrote in his January 14, 2022 resignation letter to Stitt. “As we resumed executions in October I came to the conclusion that guided my votes during the five clemency hearings our board conducted. I understand these beliefs differ from yours and while I could continue my service I wish to honor your request and allow you to appoint an individual more aligned with your position.”

Luck twice voted to recommend that Stitt commute Julius Jones’ death sentence to life with the possibility of parole, saying, “I believe in death penalty cases there should be no doubts. And put simply, I have doubts about this case.” He was one of two board members to recommend that John Grant’s death sentence be commuted to life without parole. After Grant’s execution was botched, he was part of the 3-2 majority of the board that, citing concerns about Oklahoma’s execution protocol, recommended that Stitt reduce Bigler Stouffer’s sentence to life without parole.

Four hours before the scheduled execution, Stitt commuted Jones sentence to life without parole, conditioned upon Jones never seeking a pardon or further reduction in sentence. Stitt rejected the board’s clemency recommendation for Stouffer.

Stitt replaced Luck on the board with Edward Konieczny, who served 17 years as a California police officer and 14 years as the CEO and President of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. Konieczny’s name appeared on a 2012 Oklahoma Conference of Churches statement opposing the death penalty, but a spokesperson for Stitt says his inclusion in the letter was a mistake and that his name was added automatically to the letter while he was out of town.

Stitt’s communications director, Carly Atchison, said that Konieczny “has assured the governor he is prepared, should he believe it to be appropriate, to vote in support of the death penalty in accordance with the law of Oklahoma.”

Luck is the CEO of City Care, a nonprofit in Oklahoma that provides services to the homeless and supportive housing to people living in poverty. Stitt appointed him to the board in February of 2019.

In November 2019, Luck presided over the board’s unanimous vote to commute the sentences of 462 prisoners, the largest single-day mass commutation in U.S. history. At the time, Stitt lauded the action as a “bold change” and “another mark on our historic timeline as we move the needle in criminal justice reform.”

But prosecutors rankled at Luck’s votes on the board, repeatedly seeking to recuse him from clemency votes because of his purported pro-clemency bias and alleged financial interest in clemency because of the re-entry services his non-profit provides to those newly released from prison. In March 2021, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed a lawsuit against Stitt and the board seeking to enjoin all clemency hearings because the board allegedly had failed to provide notice to prosecutors of upcoming proceedings.

Atchison blasted the lawsuit, saying “We are not intimidated by political hit jobs disguised as ‘lawsuits’ in a desperate cry for publicity.” She said Stitt was “proud” of the pardons board members, who “take their jobs seriously and consider each case on its individual merits.”

Prater and the Oklahoma Attorney General both filed emergency petitions in the Oklahoma Supreme Court seeking to bar Luck and fellow board member Kelly Doyle from participating in clemency votes in Jones’ case. The court denied the petitions.

Luck’s resignation comes amid a spree of seven scheduled executions in a five-month period. He was also the lone vote for clemency in the cases of Donald Grant and Gilbert Postelle, whose executions are pending. Grant is scheduled to be executed on January 27, 2022 and Postelle’s execution is scheduled for February 17, 2022.

The board will vote on who takes over the role of chairperson.


Nolan Clay, Chairman of Pardon and Parole Board leaves at request of Gov. Stitt, The Oklahoman, January 14, 2022; Parole board chair­man resigns over death penal­ty posi­tion, Associated Press, January 14, 2022; Dillon Richards, Stitt names replace­ment to Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board fol­low­ing Adam Luck’s res­ig­na­tion, KOCO-TV, Oklahoma City, January 14, 2022; Tres Savage, Adam Luck resigns from Pardon and Parole Board, Stitt appoints Edward Konieczny, NonDoc Media, January 14, 2022; Oklahoma pros­e­cu­tor sues gov­er­nor, par­don and parole board, Associated Press, March 12, 2021; Tres Savage, Deliberate sub­ver­sion’ of the law: Prater sues Stitt, Pardon and Parole Board, NonDoc Media, March 11, 2021; Lindsey Chastain, Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board rec­om­mends largest sin­gle-day com­mu­ta­tion in U.S. his­to­ry, Tulsa World, November 12019.

Read Adam Luck’s let­ter resign­ing as Chairman of the Oklahoma Board of Pardons and Parole.