Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry granted clemency to Richard Tandy Smith, who was originally sentenced to death for a 1986 shooting during an alleged drug deal. Earlier this year, the Pardon and Parole Board approved a clemency recommendation for Smith and forwarded it to the governor for approval. Governor Henry said, “This was a very difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly. 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. As a result, Richard Smith will be punished by serving the rest of his life behind bars without the possibility of parole.”

(“Henry approves clemency for Oklahoma death row inmate,” Associated Press, May 19, 2010). It has been noted that Oklahoma introduced the sentence of life without parole shortly after Smith had been sentenced to death, so that option was not available to the sentencing jury. This was the first clemency in a capital case granted by any state in 2010. See also Clemency and Life Without Parole.