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Kentucky's Outgoing Governor Sparks Outrage Over Pardons

Posted by Steve Karimi | Dec 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made some waves during his final days before leaving office. Bevin, who just barely lost his bid for re-election in November 2019, pardoned over 400 convictions on his way out, upsetting many Kentuckians—even some who had supported him as governor. Even Kentucky's senior senator Mitch McConnell called the pardons “completely inappropriate.”

Some Pardons Were Explained

Of the 428 sentences Bevin pardoned and commutated, many offenders were murderers, rapists, and drug offenders. In some cases, Bevin explained his decision to issue the pardons but on others, he has not.

In the case of Tamishia Wilson, who was convicted in 2006 of trafficking marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, Bevin said in a statement that Wilson “is a new woman. She has turned her life around and become a model citizen.” 

But in the case of Dayton Jones, Bevin had no explanation for the pardon. Jones pleaded guilty to a 2014 sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy at a party. The act was filmed and shared on social media. Kentucky's new governor Andy Beshear, commented on Jones' pardon, saying, “I fully disagree with that pardon. It is a shame and it's wrong.”

Did Fundraising Buy a Pardon?

Another who is now enjoying life outside prison is Patrick Baker. Baker was one of four men accused of a 2014 home invasion that turned fatal, and he was eventually found guilty of reckless homicide and impersonating a peace officer. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison and had only served two when he was recently released, thanks to Bevin's pardon and commutation.

But public records found this: Baker's family members made significant campaign donations to Bevin's re-election bid, including hosting a campaign fundraiser that raised over $20,000 in 2018 to help Bevin pay off a campaign debt from when he ran for governor in 2015. Baker's brother and sister-in-law also recently donated $4,000 to Bevin's re-election.

In his pardon letter for Baker, Bevin wrote, "Patrick Baker is a man who has made a series of unwise decisions in his adult life," and that he thought that the evidence in his conviction was “shaky at best.”

Don't Count on a Pardon, Fight for Your Rights

If you have been accused of a serious crime in Washington, you can avoid being convicted and sentenced by hiring a reputable team to defend your rights. The Law Offices of Steve Karimi have helped thousands by arguing a strong defense that either gets a charge lessened or dropped completely. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today at 206-621-8777 or fill out an online contact form to get started.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

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Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.