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AM NewsBrief: May 4, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, May 4, 2023.

Richard Glossip Requests Clemency Hearing Be Deemed Null And Void

Death row inmate Richard Glossip is asking the Oklahoma County District Court to declare his recent clemency hearing null and void.

Following last week’s split Pardon and Parole Board vote that resulted in no recommendation for clemency, Richard Glossip filed an amended petition to ask the Oklahoma County District Court to nullify the hearing.

Only four of the five board members were present at Glossip’s clemency hearing. Richard Smothermon, who is married to a prosecutor from Glossip’s 2004 retrial, recused himself. The petition argues the board should have found a substitute member to vote in the hearing and further says state statute and code that does not require this is in violation of the state constitution.

In addition to requesting the statute and code be deemed unconstitutional, Glossip seeks an emergency stay of execution and a permanent injunction preventing him from being executed without a new clemency hearing.

He is scheduled to be executed on May 18.

Opioid Antagonist Bills Vetoed

Senate Bills 711 and 712 would have used state funding to pay for overdose reversal drugs — the first providing it to people who were just released from prisons or county jails, and the second to people just released from overdose care at the hospital. They also would create a program to educate these people on signs of overdose and how to administer the medication.

Access to naloxone or narcan has become a major public health initiative since the onset of the opioid epidemic, and even more so after synthetic fentanyl has been showing up in supplies unexpectedly and causing people to overdose.

"They need some help. We want to save their lives just like we would anybody else," said Senate Health and Human Services chairman Paul Rosino, the author.

But in an effort to pressure the Senate into taking up his education plan, Gov. Stitt has been mass vetoing Senate bills, including these.

"I hope and pray that no one in Oklahoma dies ‘cause of these vetoes. But, you know, I used to tell my children: actions have consequences," said Rosino.

The Legislature could vote to override the veto.

In 2021, 960 Oklahomans died of a drug overdose, according to the CDC.

McCurtain County Jail Administrator Placed On Administrative Leave

One of the McCurtain County sheriff’s officials who’s been asked to resign following the publication of racist and violent recordings has been placed on administrative leave.

McCurtain County Commissioners’ secretary Heather Carter confirmed on Wednesday that the county jail trust moved to place jail administrator Larry Hendrix on administrative leave. Carter wouldn’t say why Hendrix was placed on leave; however, the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office has launched an investigation into the county government.

Gov. Kevin Stitt called for Hendrix, Sheriff Kevin Clardy, Captain Alicia Manning and former county commissioner Mark Jennings to step down in mid-April after the McCurtain Gazette-News published recordings of them allegedly plotting to kill journalists, lamenting police can’t lynch Black people and making fun of a deceased arson victim in a public meeting. Only Jennings has reportedly stepped down — the sheriff’s office released a statement claiming the audio was altered and obtained illegally.

After this statement, Stitt said his office was exploring options to remove the sheriff from office and said the sheriff can’t do his job effectively following the recordings.

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