Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kentucky: To Limit, or Not Limit, the Pardon Power

Gov. Steve Beshear has made no effort to push for a significant plank in his gubernatorial campaign platform: an amendment limiting a governor's pardoning powers. Rep. Darryl Owens (D-Louisville), who sponsored House Bill 5 and chairs the committee that would hear the proposal, says, "I haven't heard from him, but that's not unusual." In January, Brashear promised to "lead" the fight. A spokeswoman said Monday that the Governor remains committed to the bill and will discuss it later.

During the fall campaign, Beshear repeatedly criticized former Gov. Ernie Fletcher for pardoning his entire administration during an investigation of state hiring practices and pledged he would make sure no other governor uses pardons to stop ongoing criminal investigations. Fletcher and 14 others were eventually indicted by a special grand jury, but no one was ever prosecuted for breaking state hiring laws. Story here.

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