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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — On Wednesday, December 11th, Change.org is partnering with the Julius Jones Coalition for ‘National Julius Jones Petition Day’. This social media advocacy effort will encourage citizens across the country to sign the online petition supporting Oklahoma death row prisoner, Julius Jones’ clemency application.
An application for commutation was filed on October 15 by Jones’ attorney Dale Baich asking for the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to commute Jones’ death sentence to time served. Always maintaining his innocence, Jones has been on death row for 20 years.
Baich and co-counsel, Amanda Bass, both federal public defenders from Arizona, have worked since 2017 to save the life of Jones, who was accused, tried and convicted for the July 1999 murder of Edmond businessman Paul Scott Howell.
The clemency application immediately launched an urgent letter-writing campaign on social media, asking the public to contact the OK Pardon and Parole Board as well as Governor Kevin Still regarding Jones’ case.
Letters of support for Jones’ have been written by.US Congresswoman Kendra Horn (D-Oklahoma); State Senator George Young (D-Oklahoma City); State Representative Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City), Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumbert, a Democrat; Kris Steele, Executive Director of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform; Anthony R. Douglas, President of the NAACP State Conference, and attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
Stevenson, along with his staff, has won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly convicted prisoners on death row.
On Twitter and Facebook, Kim Kardashian West asked Gov. Stitt to “give thoughtful consideration to an Oklahoma death-row inmate’s petition for clemency.” Kim also tweeted contact information for Stitt and the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to her over 62 million Twitter followers who began asking how they can help Jones.
“National influencers are expected to join this petition effort, and citizens across the state are getting ready to engage on social media,” said Cece Jones-Davis, curator of the Julius Jones Coalition (formerly known as the Julius Jones Think Tank).
“It’s a powerful thing to see grassroots advocacy gain a high level of momentum,” she added. “It shows us that the power of the people is still the most important aspect of our society. I hope as many people as possible will help us promote Julius’ Change.org petition on Dec. 11th.”
Change.org reached out to the Julius Jones Coalition to find ways to help, and together, they hope to continue raising awareness about Julius Jones’ case and encourage others to get involved in civic engagement.
To date, the petition has received over 120,000 signatures.
“Under Oklahoma law, an in-custody prisoner can only ask for their sentence to be commuted,” Baich said. “This is the only relief now available in the clemency process and that is why Julius is asking for his death sentence to be commuted to time served. If he is released from prison, he can later ask for a pardon.