Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Kentucky Governor Voids Prosecution

Update: The editorials in Kentucky are in, and they don't look good for the governor.

Update: Governer Fletcher did indeed invoke the 5th at the grand jury today. Bluegrassreport.org is keeping tabs on the story.
Original post:

The governor of Kentucky has decided that he is sick and tired of the state attorney general's investigation into crimes allegedly committed by his political appointees. So, he granted pardons to every single one of the people already indicted, as well as anyone who may be indicted in the future for crimes already committed. He has also said that he will refuse to testify when he is called before the grand jury investigating the alleged improprieties. Now, of course, these are all things that he has the right to do. As any other defendant, he has the right to take the 5th amendment--although if he has the power to pardon himself, one could argue that he doesn't face any real jeopardy. And as the governor, he has the right to grant executive clemency (although, again, I'm not thoroughly familiar with Kentucky's clemency procedures). But, as a political move, how can the electorate of Kentucky stand for this? How can this be viewed as anything other than the governor declaring that he and his cronies are above the law? The law that was allegedly violated was one that apparently forbids hiring decisions in state agencies from being made for political reasons. If the politician in charge can just pardon anyone charged with violating this law, what good is the law? I don't know if there are provisions for impeachment or recall in Kentucky, but if this doesn't qualify as something for which the governor should be removed, I'm not sure what would. Unless Kentucky has decided they prefer having a King to a governor.


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