Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Brought to You By Governor Fletcher

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

State Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, filed a constitutional amendment today to prohibit Kentucky governors from pardoning themselves and others unless they have been formally charged or convicted of a crime.

If approved by the legislature, Kentucky voters would consider the measure in November 2008. "There is no intrinsic right of a governor to issues pardons," Owens said in a statement. "That's a power that's been granted to the state's highest elected official by the citizens of this Commonwealth, and the citizens have a right to refine that power if they feel it's being abused."

The amendment would prohibit blanket pardons of persons who had not been charged with a crime, and would require the individual seeking a pardon to apply for the reprieve. Owens noted that Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2005 issued pardons to all persons indicted in an investigation of state hiring practices and extended the pardon to all persons who might have been indicted under the investigation in the future. "We need to restore the public's confidence that justice will be meted out fairly," Owens said.

The bill is expected to be assigned to the Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs committee, which Owens chairs.

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