Thorns & Roses: The Worst, Best and Most Absurd

Thorn: Lock Bevin up?

Like a piece of gum on the bottom of your shoe, Gov.-reject Matt Bevin keeps sticking around, this time using his last seconds in office to issue hundreds of pardons and commutations for felons, including murderers, rapists, thieves and worse. We can debate the value of pardons (defense attorneys point to cases of wrongly imprisoned nationally who have exhausted court recourse). But, one of Bevin’s pardons in particular, might require that he be pardoned! That is his pardon of Patrick Baker, sentenced to 19 years for killing Donald Mills in a home invasion and robbery in Knox County. The Courier Journal reported that Baker’s brother, Eric, held a campaign event for Bevin last year that raised $21,500 (It must be noted that the money conceivably would go into Bevin’s pocket, as he had loaned his campaigns millions of dollars). Among those asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate Bevin is the state Senate president — a Republican. Bevin told The CJ that Baker is innocent and insisted: “I have never in four years done anything based on a political or financial calculation. Never. It’s just not how I operate.” And, then, like his hero tRump, Bevin leaned in with a counter-punch, claiming his critics are the ones who should worry about being investigated for bad cases: ”You will see people subpoenaed, you will see people deposed, you will see people convicted.”

Rose: We Can Hope

On a related note, The CJ gets a rose for this fabulous front-page with a headline quoting the words of Mills’ older sister.

Half Rose: Half Is Better Than None

Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order to restore the voting rights on nonviolent felons who complete their sentences. Still, as an expert on criminal justice policy issues told Perry Bacon Jr. in LEO, about 40 states don’t disenfranchise anyone after their sentence, and Kentucky’s executive order may confuse eligible people and keep them away from polls. “This really is a major reason why the rules have to be as simple as possible, and this executive order simply isn’t it,” he said, adding that the state must work to educate people about the new rules. “So, what Kentucky officials do next is as important as what happened today.”