Showing posts with label Kentucky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kentucky. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kentucky: Now Comes the Fallout

Michael Bishop shot a 12 year old boy in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun four year ago. After the family was hit with $70,000 of medical bills, Bishop explained. The kid may have been ringing his door bell more than he wanted.

Bishop received "shock probation" after serving a "brief time" (100 days actually) of his 10-year sentence for "assault under extreme emotional disturbance and other crimes." He would have been on probation until 2017 if Steve Beshear had not pardoned him last night, just before he left the governorship.

The family of the boy is "outraged." They are currently suing Bishop in a case that is pending before the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Leland Hulbert, who prosecuted Bishop, was surprised Beshear pardoned a "felon who shot a child.” In his view, Bishop received enough mercy when he was given shock probation. Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Wine issued a statement saying the last-minute pardon sent "the wrong message to the community about gun violence."

It is now reported that Beshear "did not contact Wine's office" and the pardon will allow Bishop to possess firearms. That just might be what one would expect when a lazy, merciless governor ignores 3,400 clemency applications across 8 years, then tries to appear competent by issuing pardons right before he walks out the door, after only a "few months" of deliberation.

Bishop, of course, is "absolutely thrilled."

See full story here.

Kentucky: Beshear Let Battered Women Rot in Prison?

It is reported that, among the last-minute clemency grants of Governor Beshear, 10 went to women "who suffered domestic violence." See our post on this important topic from 2008. The Governor says they were "recommended" for consideration "after an extensive joint review by the Department for Public Advocacy and the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association." To which we say, "Bravo!" But ...

This is what we know of these women: Among those who received commutations of sentence, 2 are currently on parole, 5 are currently incarcerated. Of those who received pardons, 3 have completed their sentences.

Our question is this: Did Beshear finally decide that the five battered women who were in prison deserved commutations of sentence in his last hours in office? Because that is when he granted their commutations.

Kentucky: Wrong Way to do the Right Thing

Steve Beshear did not take the pardon power "lightly" as governor because individuals "deserve a second chance."

Or, so he says. The cynic might suspect the case was otherwise.

Over the last years, Beshear received well over 3,000 applications for pardon. According to the Lexington Herald Leader, he and his staff reviewed them all "over several months." No way to know where / when those "several months" were located in his administration, but we do know this: until tonight, in his "final hours" as governor, Beshear did not grant single pardon.

For eight long years, no one - not a single person - got a "second chance."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Kentucky: A Merciless Regime Ends

With exceptional casualness, the Courier-Journal notes Gov. Steve Beshear has had "thousands" of clemency applications come into his office over the last eight years, but "he has not yet decided whether he will issue any pardons before leaving office at midnight." To date, he has not granted a single pardon because "traditionally, Kentucky governors have waited until their final day in office to issue any pardons."

Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln?

What an exceptional tribute to how wrong things can be.

See story here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kentucky: Clemency, Death Penalty Showdown

Brett Barrouquere of the Associated Press has written an interesting and informative article on circumstances surrounding the case of one Robert Foley, who is facing the death penalty after committing six murders. In a bid to obtain gubernatorial clemency, Foley has requested funds for a "crime scene reconstructionist," a "ballistics expert" and, perhaps most importantly, a "neuropsychologist" to diagnose the potential ramifications of neurological disorders resulting from an "extensive history of head trauma." Barrouquere notes at least one other individual (Parramore Lee Sanborn, in 2011) has received funds "for a mental health expert to aide in the clemency process."

But a U.S. District Court Judge has rejected Foley's requests as being based on "the mere hope of suspicion that an expert may find something of use, and is not based on any showing of actual reasonable necessity." The judge also observed that there were no signs of adverse impact from head injury or mental shortcomings. Foley is perhaps used to such rejection. Earlier, he failed to obtain funding for a $56,000 hip replacement.

In the background, Kentucky has executed no one since 2008, and has only executed three persons in the last thirty-seven years.

See complete story here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kentucky: Remember Those Partial Pardons?

In Kentucky's race for lieutenant governor, former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is exchanging punches with Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and independent Dea Riley. The Courier Journal provides this commentary from a recent television debate:
On criminal justice issues, Abramson rebutted an television advertisement that claims that Beshear has pardoned murderers and rapists. The commercial, aired by a group supporting [Farmer], then says he issued "partial pardons."

Abramson said that Beshear has not granted any pardons but he acknowledged that he has restored voting and other civil rights for people who have been convicted of violent crimes after they completed their sentences — but only after that restoration of rights was agreed to by a prosecutor. Unlike a full pardon, someone who has simply had rights restored, still has a criminal record.

Riley, however, argued that Abramson was making a distinction when there was none.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Prodigy, Rising Star, That Went to Prison

Edward Fretwell Prichard, Jr. was marked by Central Press as one of the six brightest students in America. As a result, the prodigy was treated to an all-expense paid tour of Europe and got a chance to meet Benito Mussolini.

Prichard entered Princeton University when he was only sixteen years old, but became involved in (and eventually the President of) the school’s Woodrow Wilson Democratic Club. Later, “Prich” worked with the Democratic Party on Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential campaign. He also became an editor for the school’s newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, and made the honor roll. Along the way, he gained a reputation as a formidable debater and orator.

Prichard graduated at the top of his class but made the New York Times his senior year after throwing a three-keg “beer party” in his dorm. He then found himself suspended from Princeton indefinitely. The party was thrown after he had debated the constitutionality of the New Deal with Colonel Henry Breckenridge (candidate for the United States Senate). Prichard was declared the winner of the debate by a vote of ninety-six to seventy-two.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kentucky: Posthumous Pardons for 44?

That's right. A group of people are trying to get posthumous pardons for 44 Kentuckians who were found guilty of assisting slaves who attempted to escape. See story here,

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kentucky: Commuted. Indicted.

The McCreary County Record reports that grand jury has returned indictments against eight individuals, including a woman who had her 10-year prison sentence for second-degree manslaughter and five year sentence for tampering with physical evidence commuted by outgoing Governor Ernie Fletcher. Stacey Lyons was released from prison in December of 2007, in part, because it was determined that she was the victim of "domestic violence." See story here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kentucky: Plea From Family of Victim

The Kentucky Post reports that "a group of family members" who have had "loved ones murdered" by Marco Allen Chapman are calling on Gov. Steve Beshear to commute Chapman's sentence to life without parole. In a statement delivered to Beshear, the family members ask that the Governor understand that "killing " Chapman will create "another set of surviving family members and friends." The statement also says that Chapman's relatives do not want anyone else "to experience the searing pain and the dark sadness that accompanies the intentional killing of a loved one.” See story here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kentucky: Bishops for Clemency

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Kentucky's four Catholic bishops (from Louisville, Owensboro, Lexington and Covington) have asked Governor Steve Beshear to commute the death sentence of 36-year old Marco Allen Chapman who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 21. Interestingly, the request is said to be "against the inmate's wishes." See story here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kentucky: Pardon Stirs Controversy

Gov. Steve Beshear has granted a partial pardon to 62-year old Ron Berry, the former head of the Micro-City Government youth program who was convicted on 12 counts of sodomy with 12- to 16-year-old boys in 2002. Berry completed a three-year prison sentence in 2005, but it is also reported that more than 160 individuals have sued the Urban County Government "claiming city officials ignored or concealed information that Berry was molesting under-age boys and girls for decades." See story here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kentucky: The Governor and Partial Pardons

The Herald Ledger reports Gov. Steve Beshear has granted "partial pardons" to "at least eight convicted murderers and 14 rapists over the past five months." In addition, Beshear has granted partial pardons to "23 people convicted of felony sexual abuse." A spokesman for the Governor says he has been granting partial pardons "for years." See story here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kentucky: Progress

The Kentucky House has approved (80-14) a proposed constitutional amendment which would automatically restore voting rights for felons, removing the requirement that they obtain a pardon from the governor before they can vote. However, the proposal would not apply to those convicted of murder, first-degree manslaughter, rape, sodomy or a sex offense involving a minor. See story here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kentucky: Pardon Reform. Restoration of Rights

About 129,000 Kentuckians cannot vote because of felony convictions. But, those who complete their sentences will be able to have their voting rights restored more easily under changes to the pardon process announced by Gov. Steve Beshear (D). Beshear said he will drop requirements for an essay and three character references - requirements created by the previous Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R). There will also be a revocation of a $2 fee because Beshear says, "This disenfranchisement makes no sense." Corrections officials will help interested felons with pardon applications before their release from prison or jail, and Beshear's office will process more than 1,500 applications left behind by Fletcher, plus 176 new applications filed since January 1. Story here.

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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kentucky: Voting Rights Legislation

House Bill 70 (under consideration) would automatically restore the voting rights of felons - without executive clemency - once they've served their sentences and are no longer on probation or parole. If passed, the bill would restore rights to an estimated 128,000 felons in the State of Kentucky. An amendment to the state constitution, would also have to be approved by voters. Some categories of felons, however, would not automatically have voting rights restored. These would include: those considered "insane," those convicted of treason or bribery during an election, some murder offenses and some crimes involving deviate sexual activity. A House Rules Committee increased the list of exceptions to include those convicted of first-degree manslaughter, first-degree promoting of prostitution or second-degree trafficking in prostitution, trafficking in a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school, or manufacturing methamphetamine. An additional amendment under consideration would also require felons to complete a certified civics-review course. See story here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Kentucky: Pardons Revisited

Today former governor Ernie Fletcher (R) met with victims of domestic violence whom he pardoned before he left office. Fletcher and his wife went over hundreds of cases and picked 21 women from the pile to pardon. Today, he met with some of them for the very first time. Antoinette Johnson spent five years behind bars for killing her boyfriend, whom she says abused her. Tracie English Gomez went in and out of her father’s custody and killed him when he continued to sexually abuse her. Mary Sue Jenkins feared for her daughter’s life and her own when she divorced her husband. She did not kill him, but "put him in the hands of people that did do it.” See full story here and here.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kentucky (Update)

In a recent post (here), we noted Kentucky appeared to be heading toward limiting the pardon power of the governor. Today, however, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports that House Bill 250 is on its way to the floor without any such provision. It appears that is has been decided that a constitutional amendment would be necessary to limit the governor's power. See complete story here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kentucky to Limit Pardon Power?

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.

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