|Jennifer Chance on the Left, David Prater on the Right|
Former Oklahoma County Assistant D.A. Jennifer Chance
Busted After Feeding Pay to Play Work to
Husband attorney Derrick Chance?
Back in 2011 we ran a series of tales of corruption in the Oklahoma County District Attorneys Office and one of the stories was how rumors of #3 in command Assistant D.A. Jennifer Chance was making it possible for her husband Derek Chance to make a killing doing law work for people that were being prosecuted by the Oklahoma County D.A. office. Derek Chance was a no name, no talent attorney that was struggling to make ends meet until wife Jennifer Chance rose up the ladder to the #3 spot under District Attorney David Prater (pun intended if the rumors were to be believed). Derek Chance became one of the go to lawyers for criminal cases and he got the sweetest deals for his clients and earned a lot of jealousy from the other criminal defense lawyers.
Then back in the fall of 2013 David Prater suddenly canceled an upcoming court date for the officers of the Pardon and Parole Board that he had first blackmailed publically and the followed through on his blackmail threats and filed charges against them in early 2013. The Pardon and Parole Board wasn't caving in, they fought the trumped up charges and were going to trial when suddenly with zero explanation Prater stopped the trial preparations.
A few weeks later we find out that his #3 girl, Jennifer Chance, had quit the D.A. office and went to work for Governor Mary Fallin.
What the hell did Fallin need a prosecutor for? She didn't need a prosecutor but what she did have a great need for was someone that knew Prater intimately and had enough dirt on him to make him STFU. And boy did it work, Prater backed down after leaving skid marks on the court house hallways and probably in his boxers. We praised Fallin's move as one of the best political moves we had seen in years.
Fast forward to February of the next year and Prater formally dropped the charges against the Pardon and Parole Board after a "non apology" apology was signed by the Board. Simply a face saving way out for Prater and a way to end the fraudulent prosecution.
Then in early March of this year we find out that Jennifer Chance had resigned her position with the Governor's office not too long after she took over the top job as General Counsel. And we asked what really happened to cause Jennifer Chance to bail out of the gravy train.
Answering that question is a story from Ziva Brandsettler with the Frontier who says that relatives of former Reserve Deputy Robert Bates had called the Governor last year and was directed to Jennifer Chance who recommended they hire her husband to facilitate a commutation of the sentence. Bates was the elderly insurance executive that was fond of playing Deputy Sheriff until he shot and killed a suspect while other officers had the suspect pinned to the ground.
Bates family paid the piper, paying Jennifer's husband Derek Chance $25,000.00 to file for a commutation. But the commutation application was denied by the Pardon and Parole Board, causing the Bates family to complain about the progress to Fallin's office. And apparently Fallin didn't know that her General Counsel had referred the Bates family to her husband Derek for a legal shakedown. Uh oh…. Chance took a leave of absence and resigned a week or two later.
The Bates commutation failed in November of 2017 and again in February of this year. The story on the Frontier said that the Pardon and Parole Board's website states that a lawyer isn't even required to submit an application for a commutation. The story goes on to state that Jennifer Chance claimed that she had consulted with the Ethics Commission and the A.G. office before referring the case to her husband but both departments are denying that there is any documentation to back up Chance's claims.
The Frontier story goes over the rising influence of Jennifer and Derek Chance and a laundry list of cases of the rich and powerful that made their way into Derek Chance's office including one shocking case of mutilation murder that had the charges dropped by the Oklahoma County D.A. office.
The Frontier story also documented Derek Chance's sudden fall from prominence about the same time that wife Jennifer Chance was either forced out of the General Counsel's position or resigned. The firm that Derek Chance worked for has removed his name from the firm's name and from the building according to the Frontier story. Chance appears to be operating his own office now in a nondescript building.
The Frontier story is a good read and includes information comparing the two commutation applications and the story pulls no punches in saying that the one that Derek Chance did was shoddy and error ridden. One would understand that Derek Chance wasn't relying upon his brilliance as a lawyer but more on his wife's connections and what charms were present. All undone by a family that was unhappy that they didn't get what they paid for.