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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - "Daniels struggled with drug pardon: Family ties, contributions made ex-governor’s decision difficult"

Yes, Indiana governors have the power to grant pardons, although you won't find much in the press about it. The power to pardon is found in Art. 5, Section 17 of the Indiana Constitution: "The Governor may grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, after conviction, for all offenses except treason and cases of impeachment, subject to such regulations as may be provided by law." Pardons are granted by Executive Order and are published, with no fanfare, in the Indiana Register.

A search of the 10-year-old ILB reveals only one other real entry on Indiana pardons; it is from April 8, 2012 and begins with this statement from the ILB:

Kudos to Niki Kelly and the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette for a long Sunday story on a little reported topic, Indiana gubernatorial pardons.
The story is worth rereading.

Last weekend the FWJG published another Kelly story about pardons. Here are a few quotes from the long story:

INDIANAPOLIS – During his eight years in office, Gov. Mitch Daniels had been downright stingy with granting pardons.

And as the days of his last term dwindled he found himself struggling with one particular case – the nephew of an old high school buddy who dealt cocaine when he was 21.

“It worked against him that I knew someone in his family. Honestly if he was someone I never heard of it would have been straightforward,” Daniels said. “I deliberated a long, long time and finally decided it was the right thing to do.

“I could have done the easy thing and said no.”

Family ties aren’t the only questionable facet about the pardon, though.

A former Cabinet member of Daniels submitted the petition and testified at the pardon hearing. And the governor had received $13,000 in campaign contributions from the pardoned man’s father, individually or through his insurance business.

The high level of the felony also was rare for Daniels, who is now president of Purdue University.

The story then reports the details of this pardon. The story concludes:
In his tenure as governor, [Daniels] gave 62 pardons – far fewer than recommended by the board. He said his office kept statistics and he had the lowest pardon percentage of any governor.

Many of the pardons he gave were for theft-related charges. Eleven of the pardons were drug-related. Out of those, eight were for possession. Only three involved selling drugs. One was [this case, the Anthony Nefouse case,] alongside another he gave in 2012.

That was for a 53-year-old man who dealt marijuana in Adams County in 1979.

“We tried to apply a high standard and this case met it in every respect,” Daniels said.

He said he didn’t want a lot of last-minute pardons, and remembers being annoyed when the pardon board got behind and sent him a large stack in the fall of 2012.

He granted 14 in November and a few weeks later in December granted three others, including Nefouse. Daniels left office in January.

“I didn’t want to answer questions like this so I considered not doing what I otherwise thought was right,” Daniels said. “We were really, really careful about this whole thing. The question is ‘are you going to penalize someone because of his name?’"

Here is Executive Order 12-19, the pardon for Anthony Nefouse.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 4, 2013 02:46 PM
Posted to Indiana Government