House panel seeks limits to gubernatorial pardons

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Future governors could not pardon people
until after they have actually been charged with a crime, under a
proposed constitutional amendment that cleared a House panel
"Before you can have a pardon, you have to be charged with a
crime," Rep. Rob Wilkey, the bill's sponsor, told the House
Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs
Wilkey said the proposal was not about Gov. Ernie Fletcher and
his decision to pardon his entire administration after some
officials were indicted during a grand jury's investigation into
state hiring practices. The amendment, however, would prevent
future governors from granting the same kind of pardon Fletcher
Under the proposal, voters would be asked to change the wording
of Kentucky's constitution so that those who receive pardons would
have to be charged with or convicted of a crime and then accept
An investigation into state hiring practices began in May 2005
after allegations arose that protected state jobs were being
steered to Fletcher's political supporters.
By the time Fletcher issued the blanket pardons later that
summer, nine administration officials or supporters had been
charged with various crimes stemming from the probe. Later,
Fletcher himself was charged with three misdemeanors that were
eventually dropped in a deal with prosecutors.
Fletcher has maintained that the investigation was politically
The proposed amendment cleared the committee and heads to the
full House for consideration. If approved by the General Assembly,
the matter would go before Kentucky voters in the 2008 general
The legislation is House Bill 3.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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