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Former Gov. Matt Bevin responds to criticism of pardons in 20 Tweets

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 18:03:42-05

(LEX 18) — Multiple Kentucky politicians and lawmakers have called for an investigation into some of the pardons former Gov. Matt Bevin made in his final days as governor. Bevin responded to the criticisms Friday in multiple tweets from his personal Twitter.

The response started with a tweet saying, "1/20: America is a nation that was established with an understanding and support for redemption and second chances..."

The 20 tweet statement was posted over about 30 minutes. In total, it read, "America is a nation that was established with an understanding and support for redemption and second chances...The criminal justice system is intended to find the proper balance between justice for the victims and rehabilitation for the offenders...When it is not possible to guarantee more of either being accomplished by further incarceration, it is reasonable for a person to be considered for either a commutation or a pardon...This is never an exact science...The entire criminal justice system hinges upon the judgement of third parties...Over the past four years, I have reviewed hundreds of applications for pardons and commutations and have read thousands of letters and supporting documents...I have read hundreds of pages of court transcripts and witness testimony as well as documents related to appeals that were filed in a few cases...I have spoken with many...Not every application that was sent in was able to be fully reviewed... Those that were not reviewed, remain in the files for consideration by future governors...Many that were fully reviewed were not granted...Many other applications were fully reviewed and resulted in either a conditional or full pardon, or a commutation of some part of the existing sentence...Contrary to that which has been falsely stated by many, not a single person was released who had not already been scheduled for a specific release date or who was sentenced with the eligibility to be considered for early release...The vast majority of those who were pardoned, have actually been out of prison for years and had fully paid their debt to society...
The myriad statements and suggestions that financial or political considerations played a part in the decision making process, are both highly offensive and entirely false... To repeat such uncorroborated rumors and lies is reprehensible...At the end of the day, the responsibility for making pardon and commutation decisions falls on the Governor alone...For anyone to question the motives and involvement of anyone else in the administration is highly inappropriate and irresponsible...I personally spent hundreds of hours reading every application and file of those who received a pardon...I personally wrote every word of justification for each pardon granted and each sentence commuted...Each case had its own set of facts, evidence, lack of evidence, supporting documents, reasons and unique details, most of which the arm-chair critics are not aware of...Am I perfect? No...Never have been...But I did my very best, over many hours, days, weeks and years, to reach fair and just decisions...Not one person receiving a pardon would I not welcome as a co-worker, neighbor, or to sit beside me or any member of my family in a church pew or at a public event...No community is either more or less safe now, than it was before the pardons and commutations given over the past four years...Good arguments could, in fact, be made to the contrary, based on what the earliest recipients of such actions have done with their lives in recent months and years...We are blessed to be Americans, living in a land that offers the possibility of a second chance for those who have ruined their first one..."