Local Lawmaker Drafts Three Bills To Curb Governors' Pardon Powers

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

Representative Brandon Jones says he remembers the day Adreienne Klasky was shot in the head by her husband Michael Graham.

"I was eleven years. I recall the murder and the effect that it had on many of the folks in our little area," Jones remembered

Wednesday, Jones hand delivered a very personalized petition to the governor. It was organized by Klasky's classmates, signatures on butcher paper.

"They feel like this is an act of injustice against the community," Jones said. "They think it's a slap in the face of the jury that convicted Mr. Graham, and they feel like it raises some very serious public safety concerns."

To address those concerns, Jones has authored three bills in the hopes of limiting the governor's pardoning powers.

"One would be a constitutional amendment, would make it so that any governor, this governor or any future governor, would not be able to pardon, commute the sentence or suspend the sentence of someone who was convicted of murder," explained Jones.

The second bill deals with the issue of notification and steps a governor must take before deciding to pardon someone.

"It would require that governor contact the Sheriff's Department and the district attorney and the county where the crime took place and also to have a public hearing," Jones said.

The final part addresses a concern Jones says has been brought up countless times by those he represents.

Jones said, "The last one goes to the trusty issue. It seems that people who have committed pre-medidated murder ought not be serving coffee in the governor's mansion, so this would make it so anyone convicted of murder would not be eligible to serve as a trusty."

Jones says he's reached out to victims' advocate groups and families of crime victims in drafting the bill. He plans to present it to lawmakers in January.