Matt Bevin Drew Outrage Over His Pardons. These Governors Have, Too.

When a radio host requested Matt Bevin, the previous governor of Kentucky, why he had pardoned a person convicted of raping a toddler, Mr. Bevin’s first response was, “Which one?”

“As a result of there have been a few those that had been accused of that whose sentences I commuted,” he mentioned.

Mr. Bevin, a Republican, had already been criticized for issuing greater than 600 pardons and sentence reductions simply earlier than he left workplace on Dec. 10, together with to males who had been convicted of homicide and rape, and one whose household had supported his marketing campaign.

However the firestorm grew worse the extra Mr. Bevin spoke, as he sought to justify his actions. He claimed {that a} younger lady couldn’t have been raped by a person he freed as a result of her hymen was intact — an assertion specialists rejected as proof of the person’s innocence.

Whereas the pardons issued by Mr. Bevin could also be as distinctive as his brash governing type, he’s removed from the primary governor to face a backlash over pardons. They are often politically dangerous and are issued usually as governors are on their approach out the door, both on the finish of their political time period or after an election loss.

Mark Osler, a professor of legislation on the College of St. Thomas in Minnesota, mentioned he apprehensive that what he considered as a number of poor choices by Mr. Bevin would overshadow the advantages that pardons can have on prisoners and society.

“I believe it’s essential to name Bevin out on the dangerous selections he made, however I believe it’s essential to acknowledge that he made tons of of excellent selections, too,” mentioned Professor Osler, who describes himself as an advocate for clemency.

“The way in which we misuse clemency essentially the most is by not utilizing it,” he added.

Listed here are different governors whose pardons have prompted protests:

Haley Barbour, Mississippi

On his final day as governor in 2012, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi issued pardons to 4 males who had been convicted of homicide and despatched to work at his mansion by a jail program. The pardons, which had been amongst 193 granted by Mr. Barbour that day, elicited outrage and claims that the governor had unfairly evaluated the cases of the four men, all of whom were serving life sentences. Some called for the governor’s clemency powers to be subjected to additional oversight.

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