- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Steve Bullock has named a new parole board chairman after the previous one resigned in December amid complaints about how the board operated.

Bullock’s office announced the appointment of Helena attorney Mark Staples to lead the state Board of Pardons and Parole on Friday.

Staples has been a board member since January, when Bullock appointed him to former chairman Mike McKee’s seat.

The board came under scrutiny after inmates complained that its decisions appeared inconsistent or too strict.

The board also drew attention after declining to forward a clemency recommendation for convicted murderer Barry Beach to Bullock. The governor had said he would consider clemency for Beach.

The 2015 Legislature passed several measures to tighten board oversight. One gives the governor power to grant clemency without a board recommendation.

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