Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Asks Pardon Board Chair to Resign After Five Clemency Votes

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt requested the resignation of the state's Pardon and Parole Board Chairman Adam Luck after he continuously voted to give clemency to death row inmates.

Stitt asked Luck for his resignation after the board heard five clemency hearings since October in which Luck voted in favor of relief for death row inmates every time.

Luck announced Friday that he would resign effective immediately so the Republican governor, who is for the death penalty, could replace him with someone who shares similar views.

"When I began service on this board there was a moratorium on executions in the state of Oklahoma. As we resumed executions in October I came to the conclusion that guided my votes during the five clemency hearings our board conducted," Luck wrote in his resignation letter.

"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," he added.

Following Luck's resignation, Stitt announced Edward Konieczny, a former police officer, as the new appointee to the board.

In his announcement, Stitt described Konieczny as "an inspiring leader with a servant's heart," he added, "I am confident in his ability to make and own responsibility for critical decisions."

Konieczny has extensive experience in the criminal justice field. He served as a police officer in California from 1975 to 1992. While Konieczny was on the force, he was appointed to the 46th Congressional District Criminal Justice Task Force. Additionally, He holds degrees both in criminal justice and administration of justice, according to the governor's press release.

Luck, 33, served on the parole board for three years after he was appointed by Stitt in February of 2019, according to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board webpage.

He earned his bachelor's degree in global security and intelligence studies at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2013. In 2015, he went on to earn his master's degree in public policy from Harvard University, the Tulsa World reported.

In 2016, Luck was appointed by then-Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, to serve on the State Board of Corrections, according to Tulsa World. His term would have ran through this year. Additionally, he was the Oklahoma director for Right on Crime, a Public Policy Foundation Project based in Texas that focuses on reforming criminal justice.

"I am grateful to Governor Stitt for the opportunity to serve in this role," Luck posted to Twitter on Friday. "Reviewing thousands of cases over the last three years has deepened my convictions about what needs to change in Oklahoma. While it will not be in this position, I do look forward to continuing this work."

Oklahoma Pardon Board
FILE - The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, from left, Scott Williams, Kelly Doyle, Adam Luck, Larry Morris and Richard Smotherman, listen as the family of Paul Howell testifies at a commutation hearing for Julius Jones, in Oklahoma City on Sept. 13, 2021. Luck, the chairman of the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board who has consistently voted to spare the lives of death row inmates is resigning at the request of the governor. Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo