We have always known that politics and politicians can make citizens’ lives difficult. What’s more, their actions can make the job of law enforcement very hard and put citizens in potential danger.
I am not speaking in abstracts. Rather, I’m speaking of the very real damage and danger that former Kentucky Republican Governor Matt Bevin has brought to the citizens of Kentucky. He should never be elected to another public office, ever again. I wouldn’t even let him on a school PTO board.
In a world of extreme hypocrisy, it is vital that we call out and hold accountable those on our “team” with as much conviction as we do to call out the opposition. It often feels like people aren’t arguing politics in support of their own party, but to spite the opposing party. They define themselves by what they don’t believe, rather than what they do and all the while looking out for no one else’s interests but their own. I would be a hypocrite myself if I didn’t shine a light on the despicable actions of former Governor Bevin.
In the final days of Bevin’s tenure as the Governor of Kentucky, he set off a firestorm of outrage for pardoning more than 600 prisoners. Not just non-violent or low-level offenders. These included child rapists and murderers.
For instance, Patrick Baker had only served two years of a 19-year sentence for homicide, robbery, impersonating an officer, and tampering with evidence. Baker had co-defendants, who are still in prison. Why? Baker’s family had donated generous amounts of cash to Bevin’s campaigns and even held fundraisers for Bevin at their very affluent home. A prime example of elitists getting their way because of their financial situation and plain nepotism.
Micah Schoettle was also a recipient of a pardon. Schoettle wasn’t convicted of a low-level crime where the punishment didn’t fit the crime. On the contrary. Schoettle was convicted of raping a 9-year-old child and was sentenced to 23 years. This conviction happened a little over a year ago, in 2018, and it’s barely 2020. Let that sink in. Not only is he pardoned of several sexual assault convictions, he no longer has to be put on the sex offender registry either.
12 jurors felt that there was enough evidence to convict this pedophile for 23 years, and as a matter of opinion and with the snap of his fingers, a politician lets him go. Bevin even had the audacity to cite his own uninformed medical opinion, a complex scientific field which he knows nothing about, coming from a world of finance. Bevin claimed that because the victim’s hymen was still intact, the rape was disproven. Is he really that egotistical that he believes he knows enough about this to overturn convictions? You know who should be asked about their medical opinions in this case? Medical doctors. And they don’t agree with Bevin.
“He’s not only doesn’t know the law, in my humble opinion, he clearly doesn’t know medicine and anatomy,” longtime former Kentucky chief medical examiner Dr. George Nichols told The Courier-Journal.
This is political corruption at its finest. I think Ole’ Bevin believed if he pardoned enough people, maybe these cases would slide under the radar. They didn’t. Now the Attorney General for Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, is asking the FBI to look into these pardons — rightly so.
Here is a thought-experiment for you.
What if a stipulation of a pardon was that the Governor would be charged with the same charges as the individuals he released, should they re-offend? Now that would be some Criminal Justice reform. Would Bevin have felt so convinced of their innocence and their propensity to become a productive member of society if his freedom was on the line?
Bevin not only put the citizens of Kentucky at risk, he, figuratively speaking, smacked the victims of these crimes in the face. This is not only wrong, it is immoral. I hope the FBI completes a thorough investigation, and if wrongdoing is found, he must be held accountable. No pardons for Bevin.