Friday, August 29, 2008

Alaska: Palin and the Pardon Power

In honor of John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin for the vice-presidency, PardonPower found this article from February 20, 2007:

Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin today signed Senate Bill 46 and House Bill 69. The Governor was joined by Senator Donny Olson and Representative Ralph Samuels at the bill signing.

Senate Bill 46 extends the deadline for coastal communities to revise their plans for environmental oversight and development. By signing SB 46, coastal districts will have until September 1, 2007, to revise their plans. Without this extension, 12 districts that make up 70 percent of Alaska’s coastline are in jeopardy of losing their ability to have local involvement in their coastal areas.

“I thank Senator Olson for sponsoring this bill,” said Governor Palin. “I know that these coastal districts have worked hard on their revised plans and by extending the deadline, we can ensure they will not lose local control.”

House Bill 69 now makes it mandatory for the governor and the Board of Parole to work together to ensure any decision on clemency is based on a thorough review of the case, and made in deference to victims and their families.

“In a perfect world, this bill wouldn’t be necessary,” said Governor Palin. “Unfortunately, we all know why such legislation has come through with unanimous support and why I sign this bill without hesitation.”

In his final hours in office, Governor Murkowski granted an executive pardon to a company convicted of criminally negligent homicide. Whitewater Engineering Corporation pleaded no contest in 2001 to the charge in connection with the 1999 death of one of its employees. The pardon was granted on November 30, 2006. No one from the Murkowski administration notified the victim’s family of the request for clemency or that the pardon was granted.

HB 69 not only ensures that victims of crimes are notified of the governor’s intent to grant clemency but also allows them to become part of the process.

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