In Last Hours in Office, Beshear Pardons 201

Dec 8, 2015

  As his term ends, Gov. Steve Beshear has issued 201 pardons to people convicted in Kentucky of a variety of offenses, including several sent to prison for drug crimes or for committing crimes against abusive partners.

Beshear also granted six commutations, reducing a sentence to time already served in jail.

He leaves office at midnight, when incoming Gov. Matt Bevin officially takes office. Bevin will be ceremonially sworn in on Tuesday.

Beshear said he received more than 3,400 requests for pardons that he and his staff reviewed for several months.

“I spent many long days weighing the merits and circumstances of individual cases before making my final decisions,” Beshear said in a news release. “The pardon authority afforded me by Section 77 of the Kentucky Constitution isn’t something I take lightly. We are talking about action that impacts the lives of so many individuals.”

Beshear’s office initially said he had pardoned 197. But his spokesman said early Tuesday that four names were inadvertently left off the list.

The governor’s office released a list of names of pardoned individuals, but no further details of their convictions were provided.

In a statement, Beshear said that several individuals were convicted of drug offenses. A former attorney general, Beshear said the requests “described with candor their mistakes with drugs and highlighted their efforts to stay sober and become productive members of their communities.”

“After carefully considering the details of each of these cases, I am convinced that these individuals deserve a second chance at life with a clean record,” Beshear said

Beshear issued full pardons to 10 women convicted of crimes against abusive domestic partners.

In November, Beshear issued an executive order restoring voting rights to non-violent ex-felons in Kentucky who have completed their sentences.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who left office in 2007, granted over 100 pardons during his four years in office.

This story has been updated.

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