Thursday, January 10, 2008
The governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear (D), and the State's Executive Branch Ethics Commission have unveiled an ethics agenda that includes a self-imposed limit to a governor’s pardoning power. Beshear has changed the internal procedures so that no one can be pardoned who has not yet been tried and convicted of a crime and whose case has made its way through the entire legal process. Former Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) issued blanket pardons in 2005 in the middle of a criminal investigation into hiring practices by his administration, reigniting the debate over how far a governor's pardon powers should stretch. Fletcher and 14 others were eventually indicted, but none were prosecuted for violating the law. There is also a House Bill under consideration that is sponsored by Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville) and Rep. Rob Wilkey (D-Franklin) which attempts to curtail the governor’s pardoning power. See story here and here.