Gov. Matt Bevin today granted pardons to 10 Kentuckians previously convicted through the Commonwealth’s justice system.
“This is the week that we as Americans set time aside to celebrate our nation’s independence and the blessings of individual liberty,” said Gov. Bevin. “It is an appropriate time to use the authority vested in my office to grant a fresh start at independence and liberty for several individuals who have lost both due to their previous criminal behavior.
“My office receives many requests for pardons. All of them are in the process of being carefully reviewed. After much deliberation, I believe that unique circumstances warrant executive action for these 10 men and women. There will be additional pardons granted, as warranted, in the months and years ahead.”
The power of governors to pardon is vested in Section 77 of the Kentucky Constitution.
Governors, for the most part, have historically waited until their final days in office to issue pardons—wanting to avoid potential political ramifications. Gov. Bevin, however, has demonstrated a consistent record of making decisions based upon what he believes is the right thing to do, regardless of politics.
The Bevin Administration has initiated groundbreaking criminal justice reform efforts aimed at removing barriers for offenders to successfully reenter society.
In 2016, Gov. Bevin signed into law historic felony expungement legislation that gives non-violent felony offenders who have paid their debt to society a second chance. House Bill 40 allows Kentuckians convicted of certain Class D felonies—who have paid their debt to society, have stayed out of trouble as required by the law, and have shown that they are indeed trying to get back on track—to erase their criminal records and obtain a second chance at jobs, housing, and other opportunities sometimes denied felons.
Also, this past February, Gov. Bevin issued an executive order that removes questions about criminal history from the initial application for state jobs in the executive branch. The Fair Chance Employment Initiative means that applicants will not be required to check the box for criminal convictions on the initial state application, a policy in line with twenty-four states and more than 150 cities and counties across the nation.
Pardon applications are sent directly to the Governor’s Office, along with a statement of the reasons for seeking relief and three letters of recommendation. An application form may be obtained by contacting the Governor’s Office at 502-564-2611.
The list of individuals pardoned can be accessed here.