The five members of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board have been given until 5 p.m. Friday to decide whether or not they are willing to resign to avoid criminal charges, The Oklahoman reports. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater told the board it it blatantly violated the Open Meeting Act. His investigators have been sifting through parole board records for months looking for evidence to support dozens of misdemeanor charges. The district attorney decided to offer the board members a chance to resign — in carefully structured stages — to prevent the entire parole system from being shut down.
At least one board member already has decided he won't quit. “I'm not going anywhere,” said board member Currie Ballard. “Until Christ Jesus calls me home, I'll be on the parole board. We haven't committed a crime. Knowingly violated the law, we have not done that.” Prater alleges the board acted illegally about 50 times in the last three years when it took up early release requests without proper public notice. Prater said the board's “violations in this matter are egregious, aggravated and a clear attempt to operate in secrecy, outside of public scrutiny.” The punishment for a violation of the Open Meeting Act is a $500 fine and a year in jail.